Photo of the Week – August 29, 2013

One of the great things about living in Aurora is that Prairie Plains Resource Institute has done some very nice prairie restoration projects right on the edge of town.  That works out really well for me on days when I don’t have time to go out to our Platte River Prairies, but can’t stand to stay inside because conditions are perfect for photography.  Last Friday was one of those times.

When I looked out my window at about 8:15 Friday morning, there were nice diffuse clouds covering the sun and only light winds blowing.  Knowing that I had to be on a conference call by 9am, I sprinted to the car and headed to Lincoln Creek Prairie (less than a mile from my house).  For about next 20 minutes, I wandered around the tiny restored prairie with my camera, shooting photos of flowers and bugs, and generally enjoying myself.  Within a half hour from the time I left my computer, I was back in the office and ready to join my conference call. It’s a pretty good life.

Here’s a shot from that morning walk:

A praying mantis nymph on rough blazing star (Liatris aspera).  Lincoln Creek Prairie - Aurora, Nebraska.

A praying mantis nymph on rough blazing star (Liatris aspera). Lincoln Creek Prairie – Aurora, Nebraska.

I was surprised to see a small mantis nymph this late in the season, especially because there were some full-grown Chinese mantids nearby (I don’t know what species this nymph is).  The little critter was hanging out near the top of a blazing star plant and eating a small fly when I first spotted it.  As I set up my tripod, it spit out (?) the remainder of the fly and turned to stare at me.  That worked out very nicely for me – but I hope it didn’t miss out on the last part of its meal on my account.

I was enjoying my little interaction with the nymph, but after taking a few shots at this angle, I decide to try a slightly different photo angle.  As I adjusted my tripod, I accidentally dislodged a big grass stem that had been trapped under one of the legs.  The stem whipped around and hit the flower right below the nymph – knocking the nymph into the vegetation below.  I’m sure it wasn’t hurt, but it did kind of spoil the moment.

Oh well, it was time to head back for my conference call anyway…