Photo of the Week – March 30, 2018

Spring is almost here.  I spotted my first butterfly this week (too far away to identify it) and there are a few other insects starting to move around as well.  Not much flowering in the prairies yet, though plants are starting to green up, especially where we’ve burned.  While I wait for the new season to fully kick into gear, I’m falling back to a popular (to me) theme of “Random Photos from Last Year” to fill the gap.  Enjoy.

Anyone know what this insect is? (Other than a hemipteran) I photographed it at our family prairie last summer.  It looks predatory to me, but what do I know?

The Niobrara River, flowing through our Niobrara Valley Preserve. This is a stretch of river I don’t photograph very often, but there is a great photo waiting for me in this location.  I haven’t quite found it yet, but this photo is heading in the right direction.

This gorgeous wasp was feeding on butterfly milkweed at Lincoln Creek Prairie here in Aurora.

This is a giant blowout at the Niobrara Valley Preserve, but it’s unlike most blowouts in that it has steep bluffs on the north and south sides that have a texture almost like sandstone. We found a burrowing owl nest on the south bank a couple years ago.  There’s a great photo waiting for me here too.  Someday I’ll find it.

I mainly put that last photo in as a precursor to this one. It was taken at the southeast corner of the big blowout where the sand blows most actively.  I’m a sucker for waves of sand.  I could spend all day looking at them and never get bored.

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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.
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7 Responses to Photo of the Week – March 30, 2018

  1. Paul Brewer says:

    I am no entomologist Chris, but your insect looks like one of the Reduviidae to me!

  2. Rathbone says:

    close but probably not a cigar: female giant mesquite bug…

  3. Rathbone says:

    Try Chariesterus antennator

  4. shoreacres says:

    Waves of water or waves of sand — even waves in the clouds — are fascinating. Like fire, they’re always changing, yet always the same. The photos are wonderful.

  5. Jozien keijzer says:

    beautiful

  6. Klaus Scott says:

    Any plans to photograph using a drone? They afford interesting possibilities for perspectives.

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