Category Archives: Prairie Natural History

Photo of the Week – January 23, 2015

There are a few subjects I can’t seem to keep from photographing.  Milkweed seeds, for example.  Patterns of ice on frozen wetlands.  Dew-covered insects.  And sunflowers. What flower is more distinctive?  Their bright yellow color and big round flowers stand … Continue reading

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Ruminations on Tree Planting and Prairie Conservation

Trees are great, but trees in and around prairies can negatively impact habitat quality for many grassland plant and animal species and provide points of introduction for invasive species.  Encroachment by trees has become a major threat to prairie conservation … Continue reading

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DON’T PANIC! It’s just a crane fly.

“WOW!  That’s a GIGANTIC mosquito!!” That is a common response to most people’s first sighting of a crane fly, a flying insect with a wingspan of 1-2 cm or more.  Although they do somewhat resemble very large mosquitoes, crane flies … Continue reading

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A Hole New Mystery to Consider

On my last trip to the Niobrara Valley Preserve, I photographed the bark of wildfire-killed pine trees in warm late day light.  I liked both the patterns and the color and was just trying to make some visually-interesting images.  As … Continue reading

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Photo of the Week – December 26, 2014

The sun finally reappeared this week after what seemed like a month of absence.  I figured the best way to celebrate the end of dreariness was a couple of prairie hikes. I started by wandering along a creek at our Platte … Continue reading

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Survival of the Fittest?

He was engaging and informative – feeding our tour group piece after piece of the fascinating history of the people and landscape of the Wildcat Hills Landscape.  The first guest speaker on the 2014 Nebraska Natural Legacy Conference Field Trip to the … Continue reading

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Photo of the Week – December 19, 2014

Do you recognize this tallgrass prairie plant?   No?   Well, it is a member of the carrot family.   Early European settlers thought its roots could provide an antidote to rattlesnake bites. They were wrong.   The plant somewhat … Continue reading

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Contrasting Approaches to Prairie Management: Leopold, Land Health and Cabbages.

“A Land Ethic” is the concluding essay in Aldo Leopold’s 1949 book, A Sand County Almanac, and is the most powerful and relevant piece of conservation writing I’ve ever read.   Leopold’s essay spells out the changes we need to make in … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Animals, Prairie Insects, Prairie Management, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography, Prairie Plants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

What I Look For When I Walk Through My Prairies

Back in August, I posted some questions to readers about what they look for when evaluating their own prairies.  I got some excellent responses, which I really appreciated.  If you missed them, you can re-read that post and those comments … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Animals, Prairie Insects, Prairie Management, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography, Prairie Plants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Wanna Know What Really Makes A Sunflower Lose its Head?

Nearly-decapitated sunflower heads, scattered across the prairie.  Oh, the devastation!  Who could be carrying out such an evil plan? (Ok, more accurately, a weevil plan?) The head-clipping weevil, aka the Silphium weevil (Haplorhynchites aeneus) is a small dark-colored weevil, less … Continue reading

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