Tag Archives: conservation

Taunting Nature in Siouxland, Adams Homestead Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

12 Oct
A Red-Headed woodpecker, its scientific name “erythroephalus” means red-head in Greek, watches a visitor using a walking trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes when out walking about Siouxland, especially in nature areas like the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve I catch fleeting glimpses of song birds flitting about the trees. Hearing them call, sing, and basically, taunting me because I never seem to be fast enough to get a photograph of them.

Occasionally they do relent and will stay put for me to get a picture. One area in particular at the preserve whenever I enter it and leave it, there is always a red-headed woodpecker there to greet me and send me off. It never varies and and amazes me like the birds are just waiting to see folk they know out for another “constitutional” or walk about the area.

A Blue Jay, part of the corvid family which includes the magpie, crow and raven, cautiously watches a visitor use a walking trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An Eastern Kingbird, known for fearlessly attacking intruders that invades its space, watches a visitor using a walking trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And when I am finished with walking and make my way back to the visitors’ center I sometimes sit to watch the birds at the feeders nearby. A variety of birds, mostly cooperating as they all swoop in to sample the goods and then take off again. And hopefully to swoop in again. Occupied with eating, it’s a little easier taking a photograph here, but then again, they are a bit distracted. Enjoying the morsels set out for them to come and “entertain” the guests.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A House Sparrow, House Finch and American Goldfinch feed at a feeder at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A House Finch looks for seeds on the ground at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Getting Spotted in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

19 Aug
Native to North America a wild turkey peers above a plant as it cautiously watches a visitor walk by using a walking trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Getting up early for some morning walks at a local nature preserve, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, has been rewarding, getting to hear silence and birds before too many people hit the trails running, walking, riding bikes. Some folk I come across are surprised to see animals species so close to the trails. But then again, I try walking quietly, not talking to anyone and listening to music and moving but in a hurried fashion.

Native to North America a wild turkey and its chicks feed in the grass along a walking trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, July 20, 2021before seeing a visitor using the same walking trail. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Native to North America a wild turkey and its chick crosses a walking trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But everyone has their own purpose in using the trails. I used to run a lot, but not so much anymore. And in slowing down I have seen so much more than previously on my visits and I have to admit I enjoy these visits that much more. Although I do miss running. Sometimes one just doesn’t know what might be around that next bend if you are mindful and watch. These are the surprises I enjoy.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Native to North America a wild turkey and its chick cautiously watch a visitor approach using a walking trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying Nature in Siouxland,Prairie Heritage Center, O’Brien County

25 Aug

The Prairie Heritage Center is off of state Hwy 10 outside of Peterson, Iowa seen Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I never tire of finding new places to visit in Siouxland. Places people tell me about, and which I then forget, only to “discover” it while driving about. I really need to write these suggestions down, someplace where I can remember I put my list.

The Prairie Heritage Center is located in O’Brien County, just outside of Peterson on a bit of a hill and stretches out toward a small river and grasslands. As one drives down the long lane you see an unusual sight, a pre-historic critter standing overlooking the valley below, giving the visitor an idea of what creatures may have roamed these hills millennia ago.

Art decorates and suggests a prehistoric past which may have roamed the area seen at the Prairie Heritage Center Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Benches are located near the Prairie Heritage Center near Peterson, Iowa for a chance to sit and enjoy nature and its surroundings seen Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The center contains information about the immediate area, history of what may have come before and helps one understand the natural habitat and why it is important. There are also tablets outside that contain relevant information about the area and what animals roamed prior to most of Iowa becoming a farming state.

A family looks over exhibits located inside the Prairie Heritage Center near Peterson, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Plaques give information about the area at the Prairie Heritage Center near Peterson, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Plaques give information about the area at the Prairie Heritage Center near Peterson, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Then there are a couple of easy walking trails that lead down into the valley area below the center although without some bushwhacking it’s not possible to reach the river stream that runs through the area. I thought that might have been nice to walk in the cool shade of the trees on a hot summer’s day, but the tall grass, fear of ticks and not wanting to trip on underlying tree limbs or logs under the grass, I stayed on the trail. But it’s a nice area to visit and return to, which I plan on in the fall. A worker at the welcome center said not all trees along the river are burr oak, whose leaves only turn brown in the fall after turning green in the spring. So depending on weather and conditions, there could be some nice fall shots waiting for a photographer traipsing out and about in October and November.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Trails lead away from the Prairie Heritage Center and allow visitors a closer look at the prairie and fauna seen Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Prairie Heritage Center near Peterson, Iowa sits on a hilltop overlooking a valley seen Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors climb the view overlook to see the valley below the Prairie Heritage Center near Peterson, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Finding Our Feathered Friends in Siouxland, Stone State Park

28 Dec

Recently the Loess Hills chapter of the Audubon Society held its Christmas bird count in the area, and sponsored a number of others throughout Siouxland as enthusiasts try to spot as many species as possible while out looking on one particular day.

I met four such enthusiasts and hung out for a short bit at Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa. I met others during a lunch break at a local restaurant and among greetings between the folk the one thing that struck me was that each asked the other, “How many species did you see today?” , followed by if they had seen any unusual birds that should have already flown the coop for warmer climes. One couple who have been married for 58 years have spent most of their time when possible pursuing bird watching, enjoying getting out into nature and watching these incredible neighbors of ours.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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