Photo of the Week – January 9, 2014

Earlier this week, I found myself lying on my back in the tight crawlspace beneath a house at our Platte River Prairies, helping our land manager fix a ruptured water line.  For this claustrophobic prairie ecologist, the dark cramped space under that double wide trailer house was a test of psychological endurance.  As soon as the repair was finished, I found myself in desperate need of a walk under the big open sky.  Fortunately, that sky was mottled with attractive clouds, and one of our restored wetlands was close by, so I grabbed my camera and took a nice restorative hike.

ice

This frozen stream/wetland had plenty of interesting textures and shapes to look at and photograph.  Most importantly, however, it was big, wide, and open.  The Nature Conservancy’s Platte River Prairies, Nebraska.

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frozen

The white streaks in the ice created an impression of flowing water even though they weren’t moving.  There was, however, water flowing beneath the ice, despite the cold snap we’ve had.

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Cattail seeds

Recent strong winds scattered hybrid cattail seeds around the ice in a few places, making interesting photographs, but spelling work for us next year as we try to keep those cattails from taking over too much of the site.

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ice

Beavers have dammed up much of this restored stream/wetland area, helping us in our effort to create a variety of habitat conditions.  The strong groundwater influence of the stream usually keeps it from freezing up completely, even during the coldest periods of winter.

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