Photo of the Week – June 12, 2014

While I was in Iowa last week, I took advantage of some free time just before sunset to return to one of the restored (reconstructed) prairies we’d visited earlier in the day at the Kellerton Wildlife Management Area.  As I walked into the prairie, I could hear a few straggler (desperate?) prairie chickens booming on their lek and I flushed a pair of northern bobwhites from the fenceline.  Bobolinks, dickcissels, eastern meadowlarks and grasshopper sparrows were noisily announcing themselves across the prairie, and upland sandpipers were whistling and chattering above.  The insects were less noisy but were abundant, once I started looking closely for them.

Tall white indigo in restored prairie at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources' Kellerton Wildlife Management Area.

Tall white indigo in restored prairie at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ Kellerton Wildlife Management Area.

As the sun lowered itself toward the horizon, I reflected upon the various ways the success of this particular prairie restoration effort could be measured.  It was certainly aesthetically pleasing, plant diversity was high, wildlife and insects certainly seemed to be responding well to it, and by replacing cropland with prairie, the Iowa DNR had – at least incrementally – defragmented the grassland landscape.  Seems like success to me!  …I decided to focus on the aesthetics for a while, and took advantage of the golden evening light until the sun disappeared completely.

A stinkbug on purple coneflower.

A stinkbug on purple coneflower.

 

Crab spider on Ohio spiderwort.

Crab spider on Ohio spiderwort.

 

A bug (Hemiptera) sits perched in the late day sunlight.

A bug (Hemiptera) perches in the late day sunlight.

 

Ohio spiderwort.

Ohio spiderwort in the afterglow of the sunset.

 

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About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is the Director of Science for The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska. His main role is to evaluate and capture lessons from the Conservancy’s land management and restoration work and then share those lessons with other landowners – both private and public. In addition, Chris works to raise awareness about the importance of prairies and their conservation through his writing, photography, and presentations to various groups. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press. He lives in Aurora, Nebraska with his wife Kim and their children.
This entry was posted in Prairie Animals, Prairie Insects, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography, Prairie Plants, Prairie Restoration/Reconstruction and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Photo of the Week – June 12, 2014

  1. Ed May says:

    Your photography is amazing!

  2. elfinelvin says:

    Thanks so much! I love seeing your pictures.

  3. Jim in IA says:

    Nice post. We enjoy sitting among the trees on our deck listening to the sounds.

  4. Bob Stine says:

    wonderful pix. Thanks!

  5. Leticia says:

    Great pictures!

  6. James McGee says:

    For every picture you post of something that lives predominantly above ground, I think you should also post a picture of something that lives predominantly below ground. You should try doing this even if it means taking a sample back to a lab that has a microscope with a camera. I think we would all learn a lot more if you were show casing below ground life.

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