Square Meter of Prairie Project – July 2018

Quick note – registration is still open for the 2018 Grassland Restoration Network workshop (September 5-6) in Illinois.  Click here for more information and/or to register.  It’ll be worth your time!

The square meter photography project continues!  Throughout this calendar year, I’m trying to document as much beauty and diversity as I can within a single square meter of prairie along Lincoln Creek in Aurora, Nebraska.  Today, I’m sharing some of my favorite images from July.  If you want to look backwards, you can click to on these links to look at selected photos from June, May, and January.

July was a little slower than I’d expected, to be honest (August, however, has been really hopping).  I was surprised how few pollinators showed up to feed on the butterfly milkweed plant in my little plot.  (I’m sure it didn’t have anything to do with the loony guy and his camera looming nearby.  There were lots of insects hanging around on butterfly milkweed plants elsewhere in the prairie…)  Regardless, there was still plenty going on in the plot last month.  Here are some highlights.

One of the few bugs I did see on the butterfly milkweed plant in my plot kept playing hide and seek with me.  This was the only photo I could get on this particular day.

A few days after the above photo, I saw the same kind of bug again, but this one was more tolerant of my lens in its face.

Morning dew drops.

I’m not sure what this beetle is, but I saw it a few times last month.

This tiny spider was hanging out one day.  It looks similar to the lynx spider I was seeing in June, but the eyes are wrong – and it seemed to be making a web.

Purple prairie clover (Dalea purpurea).

A leaf-footed bug (I think?)

I believe this intricately-patterned little beauty is a leaf hopper. Any guidance as to species would be appreciated…

Photo of the Week – October 20, 2016

Rosinweed

Rosinweed (Silphium integrifolium) seeds hang tenuously to the flower head.  Lincoln Creek Prairie (Prairie Plains Resource Institute) in Aurora, Nebraska.

I stole an hour of photography time this week as a foggy morning worked its way toward a sunny afternoon.  The small restored prairie on the edge of town was a great place to explore. A few surprises awaited.  Though most flowers were well done with flowering, a few late ones were still in bloom – possibly plants that were injured earlier in the season and were trying to squeeze out a flower on hastily regrown stems.  Insects were surprisingly abundant – taking advantage of a day with temperatures in the high 60’s and rising.  Here is a selection of images from my prairie walk.

Late

Late goldenrod (Solidago gigantea)

More goldenrod

More goldenrod

Beetle

A tiny beetle takes advantage of a rare pollen dinner on a stiff goldenrod plant (Solidago rigida) that was flowering extraordinarily late.

Stink bug

This stink bug blends in wonderfully with the drying head of pitcher sage (Salvia azurea) it was exploring.

Giant milkweed bug

Giant milkweed bug on a common milkweed pod.

damselfly

There were quite a few damselflies feeding on tiny flying insects as I walked around.  They were difficult to get close to, though…

damselfly

After many failed attempts, I did finally manage to get close enough to a couple damselflies to get reasonable photos.  Here is one of them.