The Fellows and I made a quick trip to the Niobrara Valley Preserve last week to collect data. A recent scarcity of rain has turned the Sandhills brown and blooming wildflowers were hard to find. When Ashley and I came across a patch of plains sunflowers (Helianthus petiolaris) it was pretty clear it was acting as a magnet to a tremendous number of insects looking for pollen, nectar, and anything besides wilting plant material. Grasshoppers, in particular, were swarming all over the flowers. Here are some photos from that little patch of sunflowers.