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      The Newsletter of the

    LOESS HILLS AUDUBON SOCIETY     Volume 44: No. 4, March/April 2018



 The Loess Hills Audubon Society meets on the first Thursday of the month at the

                 Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center

                 4500 Sioux River Road (Highway 12 North)

                 Sioux City, IA 51109


                 Like us on Facebook:  Loess Hills Audubon Society


Mission Statement–The Loess Hills Audubon Society exists to educate individuals and the general public, to enjoy and promote birding, and to support ornithology, and to be an advocate for wild areas and environmental issues.




By John Polifka


     The Avian Adventure in northern Minnesota provided a nice break in the middle of the winter months.  There were six of us from the LHAS who went on the trip.  Friday pre-dusk was spent driving through Sax-Zim Bog in our tour bus in search of the Great Grey Owl.  No Great Grey’s were spotted.  The quest continued into Saturday morning, with the same outcome.

     Saturday afternoon was more fruitful, in terms of other birds.  We saw a bevy of Sharp-Tail Grouse (a “life-lister” for me).  A bird-friendly and people-friendly resident of the bog opens her property with feeders to the public for viewing.  Her name is Mary Lou and she even makes a porta-potty with space heater available.  We spotted Pine Grosbeaks, Evening Grosbeaks, Red-Breasted Nuthatches, Common Redpolls and various woodpeckers at Mary Lou’s feeders.  (I probably left something out but this isn’t an official count).  Our tour guide left a 50 pound bag of bird food for Mary Lou, before we moved on to the Sax-Zim Bog visitor’s center.

     On Sunday we went to Ely to pick up three Ames birders whose pickup was totaled in a mishap on the bog.  The three Ames birders were friends of our tour guide.  While in Ely one of the people on our bus spotted a pair of Red Crossbills on an electrical line.  Sunday afternoon was spent looking for Boreal Owls, to no avail.  But the trek to the Superior, WI airport to see Snowy Owls, as usual, had positive results.  When we arrived at our lodging in Canal Park, the ice shelf on the lake interfered with the usual viewing of water fowl. 

     It was a nice trip even though we didn’t get to see Great Grey or Boreal Owls (except the Boreal in captivity at the Audubon Center in the North Woods in Sandstone).  In any event, there’s always next year.




                                                CALENDAR OF EVENTS


Thursday, March 1—LHAS Monthly meeting  DPNC 7:30 pm.  Board meeting 6:15 pm.  All are welcome to attend.

Saturday, March 17—Outing to Gavin’s Point Dam at Yankton, SD  We will meet at the Northwest corner of the Super Walmart parking lot on Singing Hills Blvd. at 7:30 am.  Chuck and Donna have invited us to their cabin on the lake for lunch.  So after a morning of birding, we will gather at the cabin for some great food and fellowship.  This is always a fun outing so please join us!  For those driving up on their own, we usually meet at the 1st parking lot at the north end of Lake Yankton just off the entrance to the park around 9 am.  Contact Jerry Von Ehwegen at: or 276-1546 for more information.

Thursday, April 5—LHAS monthly meeting  DPNC 7:30 pm.  Board meeting at 6:15 pm.  All are welcome to attend.

Saturday, April 21—Show and Go Outing  We will meet at the Northwest corner of the Super Walmart parking lot on Singing Hills Blvd. at 7:30 am.  An email will be sent shortly before the 21st to advise you of the probable destination and lunch plans.  Our web site Outing Page will also be updated at that time.  There should be some newly arriving migrants so please join us and help welcome them back!  Contact Jerry Von Ehwegen at or 276-1546 for more information.

May 18-20—Iowa Ornithologists Union Spring Meeting.  Briar Cliff University will be the site of the spring meeting of IOU.  Plan ahead to be a part of this spring birding event.




DOROTHY PECAUT NATURE CENTER                                                                              

Exit 151 I-29, Take State Road 12 North for 4 miles to the Nature Center.  To register for events or for more information call 712-258-0838  Or check our website –

March 1—Stub Gray Shooting Range reopens.

Tuesday, March 6—Homemade Sugar Scrubs  6:30-8:00 pm DPNC Clean, healthy and vibrant skin is easy to obtain at home with natural ingredients.  We[‘ll learn the benefits of making and using a sugar scrub and how to make them.  Each person will take home their own mini spa treatment.  Cost:  $3 per person.  Pre-register by calling 712-258-0838 or email Naturalist, Theresa Kruid at

Tuesday, March 13—Nature Tales  10:00 am.  DPNC Pre-schoolers, join us with an adult for this special story time about turtles.  We’ll hike, too, weather permitting.  Please pre-register by calling 712-258-0838 or email

Saturday, March 17—Backcountry Fire Building Skills  9:00-11:00 am.  DPNC.  Ages 10 and up.  Children under 15 must be accompanied by an adult.  Whether you’re into epic through hikes, quice weekend getaways, lazy weeklong campground stays, or relaxing backyard gatherings, knowing how to start a fire with various fuels and ignition sources is always knowledge worth having.  Plus, it’s just fun to impress your friends!  Attendees will have their chance to work with ignition tools such as flint and steel, Ferro cerium rods, bow drills and more.  Program is free to attend.  Pre-registration is appreciated.  Contact Resource Naturalist, Tyler Flammang with any questions at 712-258-0838 or

Saturday, March 24—First Day Hike  10/30 am.  Stone State Park.  Join the Friends of Stone Park for a hike to welcome Spring.  Meet at the parking lot at the East entrance of Stone Park off Memorial Drive.  For more information, contact the Friends of Stone Park at

Wednesday, April 4—Summer Day Camp Early Registration begins for Woodbury County Conservation Foundation members.  For more information contact  To become a member go to

Thursday, April 5:  Trumpeter Swan Release  1:30 pm.  Little Sioux Park, Correctionville, IA.  The Iowa DNR will release three Trumpeter Swans at Little Sioux Park with the assistance of Woodbury County Conservation Board.  The event includes a 20-minute swan/wetland presentation, a unique opportunity to touch and view the swans up close, and a historic photo opportunity with the kids.  As the largest North American waterfowl, these magnificent all-white birds can weight up to 32 pounds with an 8-foot wingspan.  The event is held rain or shine.

Saturday, April 7—Sauntering with Jack Phillips/The Naturalist School.  1:00-4:30 pm.  DPNC.  A Saunter is a way of walking in wild places that creates space within ourselves as nature opens before us.  A Saunter is for human adults, for the nourishment of body and soul.  Our method of sauntering seeks to deepen native intimacy and contemplation of nature.  For a contribution of $20, participants will receive a copy of “A Pocket Guide to Sauntering” and an afternoon of walking contemplation, writing, and inspiration in the rugged Loess Hills.  Wear good boots, and bring a notebook.  Please register by Monday, April 2 by contacting the center at 712-258-0838.  For more information contact or visit

Tuesday, April 10—Nature Tales  10:00 am DPNC.  Pre-schoolers, join us with an adult for this special story time about racoons.  We’ll hike, too, weather permitting.  Please pre-register by calling 712-258-0838 or email

Wednesday, April 11:  Summer Day Camp General Registration opens.,  For more information contact

Thursday, April 12—Frog and Toad Call Survey Workshop  6:30-9:30 pm.  DPNC.  Be a volunteer wildlife watcher (listener)!  Learn more about frogs and toads in our region in this workshop and help with an important citizen science project.  Cost for training is $5 per person.  For more information and a registration form, visit:  or email

Saturday, April 21—Roadside Cleanup  10:00 am – noon.  DPNC lower parking lot.  Join the Friends of Stone Park to pick up litter along Highway 12.  Wear old clothes and sturdy shoes that can get dirty.  Bring gloves if you have them.  Safety vests and trash bags provided.  For more information, call 712-255-4698.

Saturday, April 28—Volunteer Work Day  9:00 am – noon.  DPNC.  Help us spruce up the trails, gardens, Nature Playscape and grounds this spring.  Wear sturdy shoes and bring work gloves.  Pre-registration is appreciated so we can plan our volunteer tasks.









Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve is located 1 mile west and mile south of I-29,. Exit 4 in South Dakota.  For information and pre-registration, call (605) 232-0873 or e-mail

Little Naturalist Program—Fridays, March 16 and April 20  The Little Naturalist program is for toddlers ages 2-4 years old and their parent or guardian.  Kids learn about the outdoors through games, crafts, activities and stories.  Classes start at 10:00 am.


PLYMOUTH COUNTY PARKS  Hillview Park is located west of Hinton, Iowa at 25601 C60.  For information and registration call Victoria at 712-947-4270 or e-mail or visit us on Facebook  at Plymouth County Conservation or our website at

Knee High Naturalists:  Saturdays, March 17—It Comes From an Egg and April 21—Spring in the Forest.  The Knee High Naturalists program is for young children and their caregivers.  Each program is held at Hillview Park in the Center for Outdoor Learning at 10:00 am.  Cost is $3.00 per child.  Please register by the day prior to the program.  Outdoor activities will be modified if weather conditions are not favorable.  Please dress appropriately for the weather.

Sunday, April 22—Earth Day Clean Up  3:00-5:00 pm.  Hillview Park

Summer Camp Programs.  Register for summer camps.  Go to the website for particulars.


                                                      LHAS OUTINGS

                                  By Jerry Von Ehwegen

Saturday, 13 January 2018  Bob & Phyllis N., John & Sharon P., Bill & Dotty Z., Grace W., Jerry P., Randy W., Mike F., Jan N., and Jerry V participated in our January outing.  This outing was a little different from normal as we met at 1 pm instead of in the morning so we could search for Short-eared Owls that come out later in the day.  Temperatures were in the lower teens under clear skies with a light breeze and it turned out to be an unexpected fairly nice day since the predicted snow had missed us the 2 days before.  Our first stop was at Graceland Cemetery to look for the Pine Siskins and Red Crossbills that had been seen recently, but they were not relocated.  We then headed for Luton Wildlife Area North and we spotted a Sharp-shinned Hawk on the way there.  At LWA No. we found a large flock of American Goldfinch foraging so we searched closely for Common Redpolls among them but none were to be found.  The Snowy Owl that had been seen the day before at Dairy Ponds North was also a no show.  After a pit stop at Sloan, our next stop was at Owego wetlands where we were treated to great close-up views of several Short-eared Owls.  A second stop to search for the Snowy Owl was not successful so we decided to call it a day and most of us gathered at the 4 Brothers Grill and Bar to top off the day.

We recorded a total of 36 species for the day which included birds seen earlier in the day at participant’s feeders and one couple’s visit to Riverside Park along the Big Sioux River.  Other highlights included Rough-legged Hawk, American Kestrel, Merlin, Northern Harrier, Great Horned Owl and Northern Shrike.  It was a pretty good day for raptors.  The entire species listing can be found on the Outings Highlight Page on our web site at:  Thanks to all who participated.

Saturday, 3 February 2018  Bill & Dotty Z., Anne S., Donna P., Chuck J., Jan N., and Jerry V. participated in our February outing.  We were blessed with good weather and temps in the upper 20’s to start and rising to the low 40’s later in the day.  Skies were cloudy with a light breeze but the threat of mixed precipitation did not materialize.  The DPNC had organized a trip to Moorehead Park in Ida Grove to look for Northern Saw-whet Owls under the leadership of Don Poggensee so we joined that group at the park around 10 am.  Don had been out early and was able to locate 3 of the owls in 3 different trees.  A count of the group that showed up to see the owls was 60 eager birders from Sioux City and various other areas including Omaha and the Sioux Rapids area.  Don did a great job of explaining some of the facts about the owls and then leading the group to see the 3 owls.  One highlight was when Bill Z. (on behalf of Loess Hills Audubon) presented Don with a Northern Saw-whet Owl wood painting and thanked him for many years of work in nature photography and conservation.

After enjoying viewing the owls, most of the group gathered at the Education Center to enjoy some hot chocolate and cookies which included some more info on the owls and plans for the Center.  We recorded the birds at the feeders while Don and Dawn S. (from DPNC) updated the group about some of the good activities for people to participate in.  One item of interest was an Osprey platform that has been erected by the lake.  Our Audubon group then enjoyed a good lunch at Zimmy’s Bar and Grille and then drove some gravel roads and made a stop at Little Sioux Park on the way home.  We recorded a total of 28 species for the day.  Other highlights included Northern Harrier, Rough-legged Hawk, Cedar Waxwings, American Kestrel, and Sharp-shinned Hawk.  The entire species listing can be found on the Outings Highlights Page on our web site at:  Thanks to all who participated.


                                                    YEAR OF THE BIRD—2018

     Are you learning about the Year of the Bird activities?  February’s action step was to do the Great Backyard Bird Count.  National Geographic had its second article about birds--”What Makes Birds Smart”.  Get signed up to receive monthly emails for information and action steps at  Plan your spring planting with Audubon’s “Plants for Birds” database at  Be a participant and celebrate the importance of birds in our lives.


Oscillated Turkey—Bill Zales mounted an Oscillated Turkey for the Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center.  He states that when animals are called “oscillated” it is uaually because they have some kind of eye-shaped decoration.  With this particular species, the tail feathers have eye-spots on them similar to a peacock’s which is how the bird got its name.  Chick out this bird in the meeting room at DPNC.

Chickadee Checkoff—You can make a difference for Iowa’s wildlife on the Iowa state tax form.  Since the 1980’s, thousands of Iowans have supported Iowa wildlife by making a donation when they prepare their taxes.  Today, 100% of those dollars go to the state’s Wildlife Diversity Program, which protects nongame and vulnerable species through habitat development, data collection and research, and education.  Donate on your tax form by checking the Fish & Wildlife Check-off box.

                                       MEMBERSHIP PAYMENT PROCEDURE

                                      By Donna Popp

 For Renewals, send your dues to:  National Audubon Society, PO Box 97194, Washington, DC 20090-7194.  Be sure to put on the check which should be made out to National Audubon Society, our chapter identification H52.  For new memberships,  send them to me with a check made out to National Audubon Society and the H52 identification.  The renewal memberships begin at $20 and the new memberships are $25.  Anything above the $20 is, of course, much appreciated. 

If you have any questions, please contact me at 712-274-1979 or




                                                       Loess Hills Audubon Society

                                                            Membership Application




City___________________State_____ Zip__________



Introductory 1 year membership $25

Make check payable to National Audubon Society and send to:

                    Donna Popp, 630 Surrey Lane, Sioux City, IA 5110

                               CHAPTER OFFICERS


President John Polifka 712-253-2138


Vice Pres./Progs. Rex Rundquist 712-251-0345 or 712-255-3136


Secretary Sharon Polifka 712-212-5395


Treasurer Jeri Watkins 712-389-6342


Membership Donna Popp 712-274-1979


Newsletter Anne Shaner 712-252-2182


Iowa Audubon Rex Rundquist 712-251-0345 or 712-255-3136


Conservation Bill Zales 802-275-4716 (text only)


Education Jody Moats 712-490-5570


Outings Jerry VonEhwegen 712-276-1546


Bird Food Sales Bill&Dotty Zales 712-568-1006


Social Committee Carol Blair 712-948-3350


Publicity Dawn Snyder 258-0838or898-9168


Birdathon Czar  Vacant


Audubon Adventures Gary Heineman 712-428-6443


Naturalist Jody Moats 712-490-5570


Past President Bob Livermore 712-301-8880


Website Jerry VonEhwegen 712-276-1546