Tag Archives: south dakota

Out on a Limb in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve and residences in North Sioux City, SD and Sioux City

6 Jan
A Northern Flicker perches in a tree at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday April 28, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When I walk about nature places in Siouxland I always keep an eye out for birds. I find it challenging to be able to photograph these little guys/gals. Quick and small and generally pausing only momentarily, I’ve learned it takes considerable skill to get a photograph. And many times I am feeling more lucky than good at taking a photo. Some are nice images of the birds, some are just decent and then some I am really happy with that I was able to make an image. And it doesn’t matter the species, although it is nice when it’s a bird I don’t photograph often. But if the little one gives me attitude and makes for a delightful photo, I am happy.

A Ruby-crowned Kinglet takes a different view of the world around it while sitting high in a tree at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday April 28, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A turkey vulture sits in a tree top taking in the scene around it at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A female Rose-breasted Grosbeak sits on a branch while checking out a suet feeder in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, May 8, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A house finch watches the backyard at a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Wednesday, July 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Last year’s winter was warmer than what seemed normal with little to no snow. This year the weather is considerably colder with more snow and now ice storms mixed with snow. Some winter days I like sitting in one spot to photograph small song birds, but so far this winter the weather with its minus 30-40 degree temperatures has made me wary of frostbite just being outside too long.

But spring will eventually come and hopefully warmer temperatures, even in the high 20’s or 30’s with little wind would be pleasant enough to sit outside for a bit to capture these little guys in a different season and scenario. Plus the practice wouldn’t hurt.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Possibly a flycatcher sits on a branch at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, Sept. 27, 2021 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Wood ducks hang out in a tree during morning hours at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday April 28, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

House finches wait their turn at a bird feeder birds in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, January 7, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A black capped chickadee sits on a branch as summer winds down and fall begins in the backyard of a residence Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A sparrow sits on a branch in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, November 15, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
An Eastern Kingfisher studies its surroundings from a tree branch overhanging Mud Lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 7, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A Grey Catbird calls from a small tree off of Butcher Rd. that abuts the Nature Conservancy Broken Kettle Grasslands Preserve Saturday, July 16, 2022 near Westfield, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A red-tailed hawk sits perches on a branch looking or a snack at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday Oct. 22, 2021.
A sparrow eats a seed in the backyard of a residence Saturday, November 19, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Sparrows sit in a tree in the backyard of a residence Saturday, November 19, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A sparrow appears to give the “stick eye” to a visitor watching it in the backyard of a residence Saturday, November 19, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visiting Nature in Siouxland, Frost Wilderness Wildlife Area, Vermillion, SD

2 Sep

A Cedar Waxwing sits on a branch at the Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always like visiting new areas outdoors that I haven’t been to or seen yet. Although I have been to Frost Wilderness wildlife management area previously, I just didn’t know it. When previously visiting, there wasn’t any signage and this time I also found another entry that lets a visitor get a bit closer to the Missouri River that separates South Dakota and Nebraska. Plus I got to photograph a bird I have seen fleetingly but never long enough to make an image. Those Cedar Waxwings can be quick little birds, and prefer staying within the shelter of their surrounding trees. This time though one of them made me feel at home while other species also checked me out.

A Cedar Waxwing eyes a visitor from a branch at the Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A juvenile bald eagle takes another pass overhead looking at a visitor and if it would be of any interest to it at the Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An Orchard Oriole sits atop a tree at Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Two Orchard Orioles sit atop a tree at Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This particular wildlife area has mowed pathways which made walking much easier. And as one near the border between the two states another turnout with a pass through gate makes it easy to access the river and surrounding area. One thing though, the area appears managed more for the avid hunter than it does for the hiker and bird enthusiast. Signs are posted about the hunting availability and I would be shy to go walking early morning in the area looking for species as a visit a year or two ago I heard a very loud shot not more than 100-200 yards away. It wasn’t a shotgun, but a more robust type of rifle. Myself and some students with me made a quick beeline to our parked cars. Bullets have a way of traveling where not directed and sometimes folk don’t look beyond their target to see what lies beyond as the intent of bring down an animal occupies the senses.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An Eastern Kingbird looks about a meadow at the Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

American White Pelicans sit on a sandbar across the Missouri River at the Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Informational signage about the Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Trail markings signage at the Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Managing the Heatwave in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

27 Jun

A couple of Canada geese enjoy a sunshine day at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, Sunday, March 13 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Life in Siouxland has been heating up as it were. Like most of the country it seems the heat has settled for a few days with only intermittent rain showers to cool things down. On those days I wistfully think back to brisk walks I have taken outdoors, mostly at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve looking for critters and enjoying the time when I get back home and I put some coffee on to sit down with and enjoy the warmth.

Oh we humans are a fickle lot.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Canada geese find some open water on an iced over Mud Lake at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, Sept. 27, 2021 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying History in Siouxland, Without Knowing it, rural South Dakota, Beresford

20 May

Older barns in disrepair seen Friday, April 8, 2022 in rural South Dakota, located south of Beresford, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When I traverse various parts of Siouxland while driving about I find that I see fewer and fewer older wooden barn. The rustic look, even in disrepair, hail to an era that has for the most part passed. Farmers or those farming ( industrial operations) no longer erect the wooden structures that at one time housed animals, harvested crops and machinery. As the bigger is better mantra continues to envelope America and it’s ideal of business the small farmer also has disappeared and the structures now that house equipment is metal or fiberglass. More cost effective, less maintenance and all of those things that attribute to the bottom line.

But I miss seeing the structures. And most times I happen upon them at the wrong time of day while out driving around. Maybe seeing them in passing. Sometimes stopping, sometimes not, depending on if I am time constrained to arrive someplace.

Two older barns seen Friday, April 8, 2022 in rural South Dakota, located south of Beresford, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The rustic nature appeals to my visual sense, but the use and disuse and decay speaks to another passing of an era where form and factor are no longer valued. That thought could be addressed to a lot of areas and state of affairs these days. When at a small time museum a few years ago a docent was showing school children and older wall phone which had the spin knob to wind it up and get a connection along with the ear piece held to one’s head and the extended speaker you had to lean into to speak with the operator, as well as the desk top model with the rotary dial.

The children had no idea what the two items were, and were quite astonished when they learned that what they carried in their pockets and took for granted was large, non moveable and didn’t have a screen. Advances in technology is marvelous with many wonderful inventions, but sometimes I wonder at what loss does this occur without the accompanying history that brought the state of humanity to this next level of achievement and the effort to get there.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An older barn in disrepair seen Friday, April 8, 2022 in rural South Dakota, located south of Beresford, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing a Historical Landmark in Siouxland, Garfield Township Hall, Beresford, SD

28 Apr
The former Garfield Township Hall seen Friday, April 8, 2022 in rural South Dakota, located south of Beresford, SD. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004 the hall was built sometime around 1908. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Bits and pieces of history are scattered throughout Siouxland, probably like many other places, and little recognized by most people, even those living in the area. Passed by and seen as some old building, maybe past its prime. The Garfield Township Hall is a historic place that served its purpose earlier in another century.

According to a Wikipedia account the township of Garfield was established in 1880. It was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004. And currently it appears that someone or group is trying to give it a little TLC.

The former Garfield Township Hall seen Friday, April 8, 2022 in rural South Dakota, located south of Beresford, SD. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004 the hall was built sometime around 1908. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Township halls in earlier days was a place for pioneers and locals to conduct business in the area. At the time the region of Dakota Territory was being settled and developing from early trading posts and forts along the Missouri River. It is reported the hall was constructed sometime in 1908. It served as a polling place, a theater, a local government office, and a public meeting space. The Wiki report states that in 1936, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) added a basement and renovated the building’s facade to its present appearance. The Garfield Township Hall is one of the few remaining buildings of historic note that is still standing.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The former Garfield Township Hall seen Friday, April 8, 2022 in rural South Dakota, located south of Beresford, SD. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004 the hall was built sometime around 1908. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Waiting for the Thaw as Winter Passes in Siouxland, Adams Homestead Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

14 Apr
Greater white-fronted geese among Canada Geese at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Friday, March 4, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As mentioned before winter in Siouxland and elsewhere has been different this year. Local weather folk said there were more above average warm days in February than cold days. But those cold days were very cold and small ponds and lakes, like Mud Lake at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, froze over. Migratory waterfowl walked about or even appeared to “skate” on the ice on the water. With only small areas where they could get their feet wet.

A Canada goose sounds off on a frozen Mud Lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, Sunday, March 13 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Blue hour in the morning on Mud Lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, Sunday, March 13 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But temperatures have warmed once again and the ice has melted for the time being. But it is not unusual to sometimes get a spring blizzard in April in Siouxland. It doesn’t last long, but still, winter has supposedly passed. The landscape is still brown, but recent and sporadic spring sprinkles with hopefully bring some spring flowers, or at least a green landscape. One can only hope it’s sooner than later.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Two pair of Canada geese announce their presence at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, Sunday, March 13 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A morning walk on a frozen Mud Lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, Sunday, March 13 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Day Out in Siouxland and a Frozen Falls, Falls Park, Sioux Falls, SD

29 Mar
With a lower than normal water flow, people take a photo near the water falls at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The winter in Siouxland this year was a curious season. Almost no measurable snowfall except in some areas of the region which causes concern for an agricultural area since moisture is necessary for planting crops in the spring. But also allowed residents to check out areas that normally are off limits due to water levels. The Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD is one such place. Visitors were able to access areas normally not available simply because the presence of water was too high and safety was an issue. Safety is always an issue, but folk were taking advantage of the low water levels to take photographs and see the park in a different light.

Low water runoff exposes a large area at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Foam floats into the air from where the waterfall hits the area below it at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But some area residents made the best of the situation with low water levels in the park from the Big Sioux River, and enjoyed themselves as we all adjust to whatever the new normal might be.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A white-ring mallard sits in flowing water along with a juvenile mallard at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s All in the Technique in Siouxland, Canada geese, Adams Homestead Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

27 Mar
Canada geese come in for a landing at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Friday, March 4, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When I am out and about in Siouxland looking to photograph wildlife, birds in particular, I always find it amazing in watching them and seeing how much we humans have adapted technique for some of the technological advances that have been made, particularly when it comes to airplanes and flying. Who better to study, than birds.

Canada geese glide into a landing at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Friday, March 4, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Canada geese soar overhead at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Friday, March 4, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I could only wish I was so graceful when moving about on this earth, although I am sure than a few of them have tumbled along the way, I just haven’t witnessed those moments. But the Canada geese are not alone in their graceful comings and goings. Other winged creatures have their own particular way of moving and getting about and it just makes for a nice day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

One Canada goose gets settled in after landing on Mud Creek at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Friday, March 4, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

American robins take flight from a tree top at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Friday, March 4, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An Eastern Kingbird takes flight near Mud Lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, August 30, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Taking a Walk in Siouxland, Downtown Sioux Falls, SD

21 Mar
Sculpted art work in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Even in winter it’s nice sometimes to get out of town and take a walk in a nearby community, like Sioux Falls, SD. The downtown landscape around it and Falls Park will be changing in the years to come with some major construction underway along the Big Sioux River that runs through the community.

A walk from Falls Park into downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A walk along the Big Sioux River in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It had been a little while and there seemed to be new artwork in the downtown area, although it could be just new artwork to me since I have not been there for a few months. And as the weather cooperated and warmed up the day, it was nice to saunter about without an agenda to see what might photographically be appealing.

Dated billboard in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sculpted art work in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sculpted art work in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There are numerous times when walking around a community it’s easy to become enthralled with architectural offerings as buildings’ angles and lines will draw one’s attention. And it’s easy to walk past street artwork as it’s just there, in harsh light and somewhat challenging to photograph.

But therein lies the challenge and a chance to savor these pieces of art for their own sake, which may look different on a summer’s day with trees leafed out and shade and a chance to saunter without a chill, that happens even happens on “warm” winter days.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Sculpted art work in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A statue of Richard Franklin Pettigrew stands near Falls Park in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. Pettigrew was a founding father of Sioux Falls and his early years was a surveryor and later land developer. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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

19 Mar
Two Canada geese seem to be complaining to a photographer while they enjoy their day at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Sunday, February 20, 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Winter in Siouxland as elsewhere has been unusual to say the least this year. Temperatures on a roller coaster ride, cold, very cold and then warm. The warm days were pleasant though, and most folk took advantage and got out to enjoy them. The waterfowl at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve also seemed to enjoy a bit of sunshine and warmth as they enjoyed walked about a frozen Mud Lake.

A bicyclist rides by as geese walk on an ice covered lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Sunday, February 20, 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Two women point at some geese on Mud Lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Sunday, February 20, 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Two Canada geese enjoy a warmer day at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Sunday, February 20, 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Living in the Midwest has its challenges during the winter months. But except for the extreme cold on some days, there was little snow shoveling this year which made many people happy, except for those that remove snow during the winter to add their bottom line. It’s March and warmer days are ahead. Maybe even a little rain to make up for practically no snowfall in this area. And it might be nice to once again photograph critters out at the preserve walking about some green space and getting much needed exercise and a chance to welcome a change of seasons.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Two men walk their dogs during a warm day at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Sunday, February 20, 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A joint bone of some animal that did not survive the winter, weather prey or succumbing to an injury seen at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Sunday, February 20, 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Canada geese waddle about a dozen Mud Lake on a warm day at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Sunday, February 20, 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Two Canada geese take to the sky blue yonder above the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Sunday, February 20, 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
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