Photos of the Week – June 26, 2020

We did some data collection at the Niobrara Valley Preserve this week. After we finished that work, we had an evening and early morning to do some wandering and photography before heading back south. Here are some photos from the trip.

There were several big bison bulls off on their own. Because the rut has started, we wondered if they were alone by choice or because they’d been pushed out by other stronger bulls. Nikon 18-300mm lens at 125mm. ISO 250, 1/160 sec, f/13.
Bigger groups of bison were more skittish than the solitary bulls and didn’t want to let us approach closely in our pickups. Here’s one of those groups photographed by drone. DJI Mavic Zoom drone.
Stick insect on cutleaf ironplant. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 320, 1/500 sec, f/9.
A moth on smooth sumac flowers. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 400, 1/50 sec, f/11.
Ashley Oblander (Hubbard Fellow) at sunset in the Sandhills. Tokina 12-28mm lens. ISO 250, 1/6o sec, f/22.
These dragonflies (I haven’t identified them yet) were really abundant out in the hills, which made me wonder if they were recent arrivals from a northward migration. Or maybe there was just a big recent hatch? This one was roosting in the grass after sundown. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 640, 1/100 sec, f/13.
I think this is the same species of dragonfly as shown above. This one was getting ready to leave its overnight roost when we found it early in the morning. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 320, 1/125 sec, f/9.
Ashley is photographing a bison wallow full of water as the pre-sunrise sky turned color. Tokina 12-28mm lens. ISO 800, 1/60 sec, f/9.
Robber fly on hairy puccoon. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 320, 1/250 sec, f/14.
Platte thistle flower with a horde of weevils. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 320, 1/125 sec, f/14.
I think this is the biggest wolf spider I’ve seen. The abdomen was about the size of my thumb. She was gorgeous. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 320, 1/60 sec, f/14.
Sandhills and sky is always a great combination. Tokina 12-28mm lens. ISO 320, 1/800 sec, f/9.
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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.

11 thoughts on “Photos of the Week – June 26, 2020

  1. Hi Chris, I always fail the plant quizzes, but I can ID the dragonfly! Its a Twelve-spot (once known as the ten-spot) Skimmer. The males have an extra pair of spots at the thorax.


  2. Pingback: Photos of the Week – June 26, 2020 — The Prairie Ecologist – Pershspective

  3. Twelve-spotted Skimmer, Libellula pulchella. The lower second image is a female.
    David Smith has lured me into the wonderful world of Odonates. There is no turning back.
    Love the Sandhills photos. Thanks for making me ‘homesick’ for my beloved Sandhills.

  4. We visited the sand hills last summer which included a canoe trip down the Niobrara River. My 12 year old grandson thought that he would be bored so he brought a book along. He was so amazed that he never opened it.


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