Tag Archives: deer

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

23 Mar
A rabbit hunkers down as a visitor passes by at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I spent a good deal of time walking the trails of the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve located nearby. It’s peaceful and a nice way to get some exercise while also feeding the photography bug, photographing whatever critters may pop up during the walk.

A rabbit looks about watching someone approach on a walking trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Tuesday, August 3, 2021 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A rabbit sits quietly watching someone approach on a walking trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Tuesday, August 3, 2021 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A young bunny continues its morning trek into tall grass at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Most times I concentrate on deer and other larger animals. They also tend to “linger” a bit while checking out visitor on the trails, while the smaller critters tend to bolt right away. Better to be safe and leave than sorry for hanging around to see who’s bopping down the pathway.

And many times while there I also find various bird species. Mostly songbirds but at other times different varieties, and they too tend to be skittish and I am not always able to get as close as I might like to photograph them other than a “here is a snapshot of what I saw” kind of photograph. Of course he doesn’t help when a bicycle or runner goes by. That tends to spook the creatures with a fast moving “animal” passing by.

A Great Blue Heron feeds at Mud Creek in the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Great Blue Herron at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, August 30, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Great Blue Herron at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, August 30, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I try to be stealthy when photographing the birds, and have not yet gotten into the habit of rising before dawn to go “camp out” at a spot and wait for the critters start stirring in the wee hours of the morning. I still like to walk the park as much as I like to photograph the creatures and try to enjoy the best of both worlds and just enjoy the moment, a little fresh air and quiet, before the noise of the world grows louder as it inevitably will.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A Great Blue Herron snacks in a marsh at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, August 30, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Winter in Siouxland, Big Sioux River, Sioux City

14 Jan
A deer peeks out from behind a tree along the Big Sioux River near Stone State Park Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021 in Sioux City, Iowa/ (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Winter has finally arrived in the Siouxland area although temperatures continue to seesaw up and down from extreme cold to unseasonably warm. Of course there is nothing to the issue about weather and climate, and will leave that discussion to others.

During the “warmer” days though it’s nice to get out and take a walk even if it’s brief and more time is spent trying to photograph than actual walking.

A deer peeks out from behind a tree along the Big Sioux River near Stone State Park Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021 in Sioux City, Iowa/ (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Some open patches of water as ice forms on the Big Sioux River as the temperatures plummet near Stone State Park Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021 in Sioux City, Iowa/ (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some days when the temps hit below zero with wind chill, it might be a good time to do some house cleaning and cataloguing photos already taken until more agreeable weather allows one a safer venture outside to enjoy nature and whatever might be seen to continue photographing Siouxland. Winter is nice, but spring and longer days might be nicer.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Ice is forming on the Big Sioux River as the temperatures plummet near Stone State Park Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021 in Sioux City, Iowa/ (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A deer peeks makes its way as it forages along the Big Sioux River near Stone State Park Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021 in Sioux City, Iowa/ (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sigh, They Never Say Hello, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

4 Jan
A young deer looks cautiously from a cut path at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday Oct. 22, 2021as autumn leaves begin to show and a hiker appears on another path.

A young deer bolts through a meadow after seeing a hiker at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday Oct. 22, 2021.

Some days when I am out walking about at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve I have my chance encounters with wildlife. Sometimes deer, turkeys, mostly songbirds, occasionally some raptors and waterfowl. I have learned to walk more quietly and take paths away from brisk walkers and runners out for exercise in that they sometimes scare the critters away into the brush.

A young white tail buck warily watches a walker approach on a trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A lone deer makes its way down a cut path at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, Nov. 1, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Most times I get only a brief moment to take a photograph. And instead of rushing the camera and lens to my eye I try to move very slowly so that the deer become a bit more curious than bolting as what they probably interpret as aggressive behavior. Photographs I have seen other photographers have taken of these creatures in the wild, whether sitting in blinds for hours (maybe) or walking in large more heavily wooded areas that foster a greater number of these creatures I don’t know.

I just see fleeting white tails in the distance, maybe hesitancy, and then flightier my nearly made a nice photograph episodes. Hoping my settings are correct and I might take one or two decent images. I am not the kind of person who would sit in a blind for hours, but wouldn’t mind walking for a few as I enjoy the movement and seeing places. In this new year maybe that should be a resolution to take more walks in the woods and explore areas I am not that familiar with, hoping I get lucky there or learn about specific new places that might afford me an opportunity to photograph wildlife. The first resolution though, is overcoming inertia and getting out. And as the days begin to lengthen and the sunlight warms the countryside, that becomes more feasible and possible. If I plan to walk a few hours looking for critters, I don’t mind coming home empty-handed without images, I just don’t want to freeze my ass off making the effort.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Deer move away as they see a walker on a trail at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, Nov. 1, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Deer stop and take notice as they see a walker on a trail at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, Nov. 1, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A young fawn looks for its mother at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, August 30, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Two young deer check out a walker and passerby on a nearby trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Tuesday, August 3, 2021 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Bidding “Friends” Goodbye in Siouxland, Adams Homestead Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

9 Nov
A deer checks out a walker on a trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As the changing of seasons takes place in Siouxland and elsewhere, I am certain I may not see as many wildlife critters as I did during the spring and summer months, and early autumn. My own inclination to get up when it’s dark and to take a walk when it’s cold seems less appealing these coming months. But then again, I might get lucky. While out and about, I might come across some deer and other critters over the winter months as they look for food and survived the fall’s hunting season. As least I hope they do. It makes for a much pleasant walk when the creatures pause, stare and wonder about you as much as you might pause, stare and wonder about them.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A deer checks out a walker on a trail from a safe distance at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A deer stops its grazing as a walker approaches on a trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A deer checks out a walker on a trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

“Fawning” over Nature in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

18 Sep
A fawns rests in the shade of a thicket at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always like pleasant unexpected surprises when out photographing in Siouxland. In the last year I have taken many walks at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve and I can’t say I have ever been disappointed with opportunities to photograph wildlife there. I am not a hardcore wildlife or nature photographer. Never rising before the sun does to get in position to take photos but happy when serendipity intervenes and gives me a chance to test my reflexes while walking about.

A fawn checks out a visitor at close quarters at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Attending an event at Adams recently I took a walk away from the activities down a short trail and was pleasantly surprised to find two young deer hanging out in the shade and munching a bit of grass in the immediate area. I generally can not get with a football field’s distance of these skittish creatures and these two didn’t seem to mind as I was not in a hurry to scurry down a trail, but stopped and watched and was able to take a few frames of them until they tired of my presence and left. I am looking forward to fall arriving at some point in anticipation of maybe photographing wildlife with fall color. But then that might be asking too much of a serendipitous encounter.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A fawn checks out a visitor while snacking in the shade of a thicket at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Having a snack but also wary of a passer-by at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With its fawn not far away, a white-tailed deer watches a visitor using a walking trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Morning out in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

10 Sep
American wild turkeys and their young forage for food in morning light at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I like many in Siouxland enjoy a nice morning walk when the weather’s nice and the sun is just coming up. That activity is not exclusive to humans but also wildlife when it might be a bit safer to take the family out for a stroll and morning brunch. I consider myself lucky when I happen upon such a “family” and I don’t spook them too much and be patient while they make their way to whatever destination they choose. Have the fun is just watching their behavior and seeing nature up close and somewhat personal, each being on it way to start a new day and to see what awaits.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A young wild American Turkey chick stretches its wing while out walking with its parent at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

American wild turkeys and their young forage for food in morning light at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Speeding through Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

4 Sep
A turkey chick cranes its neck to look for a possible predator after flying into the branches of a nearby tree near a trail along with several siblings at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, July 05, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I used to run nearly everyday when I was younger, pushing myself on the various routes I would chart on trails, streets, tracks, various places always trying to change up the scenery and impact different surfaces had on my body. Until that is my doctor told me my knees would no longer sustain that kind of activity. These days in Siouxland I chart various places to walk, but mostly contain myself to nature preserves and other places where I might see song birds, deer, other critters and where I can walk at ease and not feel in a hurry and enjoy myself “on the journey” as opposed to the journey’s end as I did when I finished my 4-5 mile (nearly) daily run as I did in the past.

Taking a run at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A turkey flies into a brushy area looking to avoid a passerby at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a morning bike ride at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve I envy those I see out for a run. I just truly enjoyed the exertion and the movement, especially when I found myself in that runner’s “groove”. These days I think of the missed opportunities some of these folk miss when speeding down a trail or path getting in their daily exercise. Making a noise before reaching a point along the trail that might spook critters getting a morning snack or heading to a spot they will bed down for an afternoon nap during the heat of the day.

A white-tailed deer watches a visitor using a walking trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A deer and turkey spy a passer-by in a meadow area and then take off in different directions after seeing a passerby at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, July 05, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

My slower pace has led me to other discoveries and enjoying nature in a different way. And I am not saying folk out running or biking are not enjoying nature. A friend rides a bike all the time and and is able to photograph some pretty amazing scenes while out and about. Although he is scanning the area he is in as an avid birder, and looking to document what he sees. I try to walk softly when on the trails since I am actively looking for critters to photograph and much more moving along than sitting in a blind waiting for creatures to come my way. Although recently I acquired a blind and will see how that works out and whether my patience and ability to sit still for more than 15 minutes will help me.

A Western Meadowlark sings from its perch along an open woodland as it watches a visitor using a walking trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Cooling down after a run at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Taking a walk at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And maybe my adjustment to my enjoyment of nature has changed since I can no longer run and must confine myself to footfalls as I traverse various trails and places. And I was never a really big biking enthusiast, even less so after some close encounters with drivers who probably aren’t good drivers even without traffic on the roadways. And I am content with that, enjoying the morning, learning animal behavior and seeing if my photographic reflexes will allow me the chance to capture a critter in motion or in its habitat as I quietly and slowly move into a better photographic shooting position without alarming or stressing the animals.

Regardless of one’s reason being outdoors and in nature, it’s good for a person to put down the electronics and just enjoy those moments of quiet and scenes that don’t include buildings, vehicles or other “manmade” items other than bird blinds. Solitude and space has its rewards and I hope to enjoy more of them down the road.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A doe and its fawn make their way down a mowed walking trail at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, July 05, 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©)

Taking a Walk with Nature in Siouxland, Adams Homestead Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

6 Jul
A deer pauses to watch another early morning walker at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In recent months I have spent some early Siouxland mornings out walking at local nature preserves. Enjoying what I see and also the cooler temperatures that one finds as the sun barely peers over the horizon. A young self would never have guessed that I have become an early riser. Although naps later in the day are never a bad thing, either.

A deer feeds on corn leaves in a field near Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A deer enjoys a little corn leaf snack in a planted field that borders the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in South Sioux City, South Dakota, Thursday, June 10, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

On a couple of different occasions walking at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve I found a deer eating corn stalk leaves in a field that abuts the preserve. Someone said with lack of recent rain in late spring and early summer the deer probably find the corn leaves tastier than the dry grass they encounter. And I can’t swear to it, but on two different walks I spied a deer in the same location munching away, thinking he/she must have found a new breakfast spot to get the day started.

A deer stands still in a shaded area as it makes its way across a meadow at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in South Sioux City, South Dakota, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Weather forecasters predict a heat index of 100 with severe storms to move into the area overnight into Friday. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s fun to see the creatures in their habitat, and fun as well to be able to photograph them without them being one or two miles in the distance. Standing and watching and not being in a hurry, the deer generally continued their browsing and eventually moved on into deeper shade areas to await the still rising sun and temperatures that were sure to follow. Other creatures were also enjoying the morning cool temps greeting the new day in song, and then some prefer their water element to stay cool on yet another steamy, summer’s days.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An Eastern Kingbird sits on a barbed wire fence in the shade at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in South Sioux City, South Dakota, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Weather forecaster predict a heat index of 100 degrees Thursday with severe storms overnight into Friday. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Two turtles sun themselves on a log sticking out of Mud Lake at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Unexpected Delights in Siouxland, Rural Plymouth County

27 Jan

Even though it was a cold day I decided because conditions looked favorable I would head out before dusk to see if I could photograph a nice sunset. As I drove around Siouxland in rural Plymouth County I came across a few areas the I checked out. But with sunsets one has only a minimal amount of time to get your shots before the light is gone. I found a field with some trees where I stopped and tried my luck and for the most part was pleased. As it is still winter and it’s cold out, I finished my photographic mission and headed home.

I took a couple more gravel roads and a round about way back to Sioux City. Hoping for maybe one more chance of finding something I could photograph with what remaining light there was. And then it happened. The first thing I noticed was movement on the gravel road which caused me to brake fairly fast. A herd of deer were moving from one field to another. And so I stopped to watch them, enjoying the last vespers of the day, frolicking in another corn field as they may their way to their overnight resting place.

It was a nice moment. Quiet, serene and comical as well as the young deer behaved like young ones anywhere, kicking up their heels one last time before turning in for the evening.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Deer romp across a corn field in dwindling evening light in rural Plymouth County, Iowa, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017.   (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Deer romp across a corn field in dwindling evening light in rural Plymouth County, Iowa, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Deer romp across a corn field in dwindling evening light in rural Plymouth County, Iowa, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017.   (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Deer romp across a corn field in dwindling evening light in rural Plymouth County, Iowa, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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