Photos of the Week – August 30, 2019

I’ve been working on the layout of the book version of the Square Meter Photography Project from last year. I’m really excited to share it with you when it’s published. As I was looking through images for the book, I kept finding a lot of nice shots from the same day – August 21, 2018. Much of the power of the photo project came from the diversity of species and images I found within a tiny area of prairie. These August 21 photos have particular power because of the diversity they display within the same day!

Here is just a selection (less than half) from the best quality photos I took about a year ago within my little square meter plot at Lincoln Creek Prairie. All the photographs were taken within about a 50 minute period during the morning and an additional 40 minutes in the afternoon. Don’t let anyone tell you there’s nothing going on in prairies…

Stiff sunflower decapitated by the Silphium weevil, which lays its eggs in the flower head after girdling the stem.
Dew drops on big bluestem.
Big bluestem flower.
Switchgrass flowers on a dew-covered grass leaf shelf.
More switchgrass flowers.
Ethereal-looking switchgrass flowers.
Maximilian sunflower (Helianthus maximiliani) was the start of the show on August 21, with prolific flowers that attracted a wide diversity of insects.
Maximilian sunflower.
A hover fly rubbing is rear legs together.
Another hover fly.
Another hover fly…
A different and even more tiny fly.
A long-legged fly (Dolichopodidae), a tiny predator, hunting for ants (I presume) on Maximilian sunflower leaves.
Who’s’ living in there? A stem-boring moth (maybe?) in a Maximilian sunflower stem.
A tiny wasp on a Maximilian sunflower stem.
A tumbling flower beetle.
An invasive Japanese beetle.
A small foraging bee (Halictus ligatus)
A Melissodes bee on Maximilian sunflower.
A fully-loaded bee (Melissodes trinodis) with a tumbling flower beetle in the background.
Bumblebee (Bombus impatiens) on Maximilian sunflower.
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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.

5 thoughts on “Photos of the Week – August 30, 2019

  1. i noticed that my silphiums have that happening to them. My Rosin weed and Compas plant have been decapitated by the Silphium weevil. I didn’t know what it was that does that and they they lay their eggs up there. Luckily the plant rallied and produced more blooms. Thanks for this interesting information. I love the photos that show how much is really going on in a natural setting.

  2. Spectacular! I look forward to the book! So much to see when you look closely – thank you for demonstrating this so beautifully.

  3. Chris,

    Do you sell your photos (suitable for framing?

    On Fri, Aug 30, 2019, 11:55 AM The Prairie Ecologist wrote:

    > Chris Helzer posted: ” I’ve been working on the layout of the book version > of the Square Meter Photography Project from last year. I’m really excited > to share it with you when it’s published. As I was looking through images > for the book, I kept finding a lot of nice shots fr” >

    • Hi LeAnne. No, I don’t really get into that business. I work mostly with books and magazines because selling digital images is much easier than handling the logistics of printing.

  4. Chris, I enjoy your posts about the plants and animals of the prairies. Even though I live far away in s. Arizona, I still like growing some prairie plants and making an ecosystem for the upper desert animals to live in. I have a group on FB called, Desert Wash, to focus on this. One of the plants I grow is the Maximillian sunflower. I love hearing about plants like this in their natural setting. Thank you for all the wonderful information. My dream is that people will restore natural ecosystems and the health of the planet.

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