Photos of the Week – October 15, 2021

Ok, I know there are some milkweed seeds below, but I promise there’s more than just milkweed seeds in this week’s Photo of the Week post. Also, these are butterfly milkweed seeds and most of the others I’ve posted this year have been common milkweed. If you’re tired of milkweed seeds, just scroll down for more. If you’re not tired of milkweed seeds, scroll down anyway. If you want – it’s your life.

Also, “there is more than just milkweed seeds?” Or “there are more than just milkweed seeds?” You wouldn’t say, “There is milkweed seeds” so are is probably the right word to use but it also sounds wrong to say “there are more than just milkweed seeds.” English is hard… How about this – just pretend I said “There are photos of other subjects besides just milkweed seeds”. I’m on pretty solid ground there.

Butterfly milkweed seed, Lincoln Creek Prairie. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 500, f/11, 1/60 sec.
Butterfly milkweed seed, Lincoln Creek Prairie. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 800, f/14, 1/60 sec.
Butterfly milkweed seed, Lincoln Creek Prairie. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 800, f/14, 1/80 sec.

While photographing those milkweed seeds at Lincoln Creek Prairie last week, I got distracted by the red leaves of smooth sumac. I’m still waiting to get a perfect autumn leaf photo of smooth sumac, and these don’t qualify, but I still like them.

Smooth sumac leaves, Lincoln Creek Prairie. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 500, f/7, 1/200 sec.
Smooth sumac leaves, Lincoln Creek Prairie. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 500, f/8, 1/160 sec.

Earlier this week, I was at the Platte River Prairies at sunrise. We haven’t had a hard freeze yet, so insects are still fairly abundant. Flowers, however, are not. Other than a few stray asters, most of the prairie color now comes in shades of golds and browns.

Katydid and morning light. The Nature Conservancy’s Platte River Prairies. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 800, f/18, 1/80 sec.
Stiff goldenrod with autumn color. The Nature Conservancy’s Platte River Prairies. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 640, f/14, 1/320 sec.

I’ve been seeing an awful lot of spider shelters suspended near the tops of plants this year. I’m not saying there are more of them, I’m just noticing them more for some reason. I still don’t know what the shelters are for, though. This late in the season, I wonder if the shelters are for winter cover, but maybe they’re just a safe overnight hiding place. Or maybe they’re for something else altogether? This particular spider seemed be hanging out in the sun outside of its shelter. I hope she gets the chance to catch a few more insects before winter comes.

Crab spider outside its silken shelter. The Nature Conservancy’s Platte River Prairies. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 800, f/18, 1/80 sec.
Crab spider outside its silken shelter. The Nature Conservancy’s Platte River Prairies. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 800, f/16, 1/160 sec.

Some parts of Nebraska had a big snow this week but we’re still holding on desperately to our warm autumn days here. Soon enough, that’ll end, but I’m going to enjoy it as much as I can while it lasts. Have a great weekend, everyone!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized by Chris Helzer. Bookmark the permalink.

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.

3 thoughts on “Photos of the Week – October 15, 2021

    • Well, monarch caterpillars will feed on both species but tend to prefer common milkweed, I believe. I think that’s partly because common milkweed has more toxicity (more of the white latex) than butterfly milkweed does. I’ve seen lots of caterpillars on both, though.

      Further commentary on common and butterfly milkweed… You’d think, given the name, that butterfly milkweed would have bigger and more beautiful flowers than common, but that’s not necessarily true. It could be argued that butterfly milkweed flowers (orange) are more beautiful, but they’re definitely smaller than common milkweed flowers (pink).

PLEASE COMMENT ON THIS POST!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.