Photos of the Week – November 15, 2019

I ventured out to Springer Basin Wildlife Management Area yesterday. Springer is a rainwater basin wetland – one of many shallow playa wetlands in our area. Like all of those wetlands, Springer Basin is threatened by invasive plants, including reed canarygrass and narrowleaf cattails. Despite my frustration with how quickly those plants swarm across basins, the first photo I took upon stepping carefully onto this frozen wetland was a cattail seed. I couldn’t help myself – it was exquisite.

A narrowleaf cattail seed on the ice at Springer Basin.

Once I was already on my hands and knees on the ice, it was easy to keep finding and photographing more cattail seeds. Each one had its own unique beauty and arrangement on the ice.

After a little while, my brain began seeing something else in those seeds. I don’t know if you’ll see it too, but I thought they looked like artistic depictions of cranes. Once I started down that mental road, I couldn’t stop seeing cranes. Rather than fight it, I leaned in and tried to find as many examples as I could. It wasn’t hard, and it took quite a while for me to get bored and move on to other subjects. That will be obvious by the number of photos below…

Photographing ‘seed cranes’ wasn’t all I did during my short exploration of the wetland. I also had some really interesting interactions with leopard frogs, but I’m going to wait until next week to share those. I hope the anticipation won’t keep you from sleeping over the weekend…

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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.

6 thoughts on “Photos of the Week – November 15, 2019

  1. I just have to say that I love your posts. It makes me happy each time one arrives because I know there will be something inspirational waiting in there. Your photos are beautiful and eloquently share your ability to tread lightly and look closely. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and view of the world. Please do keep ’em coming! :)

  2. The second and third photos brought to mind both a fully rigged schooner and a small daysailer — perhaps a cat boat. That’s especially appropriate, given that the little ‘boat’ is made of cattail fluff!

  3. Pingback: Frogs on Ice | The Prairie Ecologist


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