Sunday, April 15, 2012

Mid-Spring in Dakota Territory

New leaves on trees lining the Big Sioux River - April 2012

Tis mid-spring here in South Dakota. The state is getting rain as I write this, which is really good as it was a mild winter and a hot March with little precip. This post is featuring some shots over the last couple weeks and today. Click on an image for a larger file to view and thanks for checking in!

A burrowing owl checking me out from just off the Bad River Road southwest of Ft Pierre over Easter weekend.

A trail heading into the Bad River Breaks. I added a color filter to the sky to give the clouds the color I wanted.

No color filters here. This is the pre-sunrise sky as it appeared from the backside of the prairie chicken blind on Fort Pierre National Grasslands.

Sharp-tailed grouse dancing and displaying.

A meadowlark greeting the morning light.

A prairie chicken lifting off... when hens arrive on the booming grounds, the males often hop, call and make short flights in order to attract the ladies attention... then they dance. My next column at ( Monday, April 16th) will feature more photos and hopefully a short video if you'd like to see more about the prairie chicken and grouse displays. Check it out:

A wild violet in the woods of Beaver Creek Natural Area near Brandon, SD.

I think this is an Asian Ladybug but I I'm not exactly sure. It is hard to tell them apart from the normal ladybug.

I believe this is a Red Admiral butterfly. There were many out today at Beaver Creek. Mostly feeding on the dandelions along the walking trails.

Split Rock creek just above Devil's Falls outside of Garretson, SD.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

An Early Spring

Sunset at Clear Lake north of Humboldt, SD in Mid-March, 2012.

March has been one of the warmest on record and the warmest I ever remember in South Dakota. Because of this, spring has come early to our fair state. That means the "itch" to get out and photograph all the changes has taken hold of me. Today (April 1st), it was windy and 91 degrees (according to my vehicles thermometer) for most of the afternoon. It truly felt like a mid-summer day. I'm not complaining, but I truly hope this doesn't mean we are in for a long, hot summer. Regardless, thanks for stopping by and feel free to click on image for a larger file to view.

Below are a few shots of Mud Lake in Turner County from early March. It was hard to believe the ice was off the water so early.

The pasqueflower arrived early as well. I found my first on March 14th. The two photos below are from March 20th in Hanson County.

The remaining shots are all from today (April 1st). I spent some time in Newton Hills State Park as well as Union Grove State Park and to my surprise found many flowers in bloom. Below are two shots of what I think are bloodroot flowers.

The next two shots are called "Dutchman's Breeches" according to the internet. I have never noticed them before but found them in both parks along the edges of the park roads as well as the side hills of the forest.

I spotted a tree with pink/purple buds at Union Grove. I believe it is some strain of redbud tree, but am not completely sure.

I even spotted a lilac bush in bloom just north and west of Union Grove Park. Hard to believe they are out this early!

This evening's sunset was another beauty. I shot this somewhere north and west of Wall Lake. The bad news is that two ticks hitched a ride home with me. Tis the season... I guess.