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Starts and Stops

May 15, 2024

Spring is once again in full swing. The season arrived a bit differently this year. The winter of 2023-24 was very mild with only about two weeks of extreme cold. February was mild and the unseasonably warm temperatures lasted until late March, when the wind and cold slowed things down a bit. Many early bloomers were just getting started when that cold blast returned. It wasn’t until nearly the end of April until things felt “on-time” again. As I write this, the lilacs are in bloom and the spring warbler migration is about to hit full speed. Even with the starts and stops, I’ve noticed the vivid colors more than ever this spring as life is renewed. My goal with this version of my annual spring photo journal is to highlight the beautiful hues of new life returning to our part of the world.

 

February 13

Unseasonably warm temperatures had melted most of our snow, and warm hued sunsets, like this one over Trinity Lutheran a few miles west of Sioux Falls, ignited spring fever.


 

February 21

With evening temps in the 50s, I experimented with long exposures on Phillips Avenue in downtown Sioux Falls.


 

March 15

I found my first wildflowers of spring (snow trillium and pasqueflower) at Newton Hills State Park and Hanson County, respectively.


 

March 30

Easter weekend was cold and blustery. While traveling to see family in rural McPherson County, I got a nice portrait of a red fox near its den entrance.


 

April 14

Bloodroot flowers were in bloom at Union Grove State Park, as was the very first plum brush. A large bumblebee was busy taking advantage.


 

April 21

I took a Sunday afternoon trip that started at Palisades State Park and then up to the prairie hills of Deuel County. A mother raccoon nursing her young, a pheasant, pasqueflowers and the song of the meadowlark were pleasant discoveries along the way.


 

April 28

The next Sunday was cold and blustery with periods of rain. The pasqueflowers of Deuel County were leaning and covered with raindrops. Prairie smoke was just beginning to emerge.


 

April 30

A dashing palm warbler stopped at Palisades State Park during its migration journey to Canada.


 

May 4

A yellow-rumped warbler at Palisades State Park posed nicely among new leaf growth.


 

May 5

I discovered a wild violet and new leaves along the Trail of Giants at Big Sioux Recreation Area near Brandon.


 

May 7

I went birding at Palisades State Park and had good luck finding and photographing the colorful yellow warbler and male and female Baltimore orioles. To top off the day, an exquisite sunset sky graced Falls Park in Sioux Falls.


 

May 10

A major geomagnetic storm caused bright and colorful Northern lights across most of North America. I traveled to one of my favorite structures in the state — the remains of Concordia Pioneer Lutheran Church northeast of Sisseton — to capture the event.

Christian Begeman grew up in Isabel and now lives in Sioux Falls. When he's not working at Midco he is often on the road photographing South Dakota’s prettiest spots. Follow Begeman on his blog.

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