Once again, I’m taking Ornithology! This time as a graduate student. I loved taking it as an undergrad and as always, my favorite part is the field observations. It’s like work, school, and play all rolled into one 🙂 This field report was especially fun too because I was also able to combine it with the Great Backyard Bird Count, a citizen science effort to collect data on bird observations during one weekend every year. This data is published on the eBird website at http://gbbc.birdcount.org.
I encourage you to check out the data collected from this year’s bird count and to be on the lookout for it next year! If you participated in this year’s count, comment about your experience 🙂
Smith Lake is near an itty bitty town in Illinois and right nextdoor to the pond the Dakota Access Pipeline cuts through. The pond and lake are connected and during flooding, the lake spills over into the Illinois River. It’s a very risky area to place an oil pipeline and yet it’s one of the locations Energy Transfer Partners decided to cut through.
Other photos from this location and my DAPL project are available on my website at www.cyrenekrey.com for purchase and viewing. Please contact your representatives to let them know you aren’t interested in any more pipelines and want cleaner energy sources (and the tons of jobs that will come with them!). The Army Corps is also taking public comment on the pipeline, please voice your opinion.
I’ve mentioned a little bit about my trip along the Dakota Access Pipeline to see some of the natural habitats and wildlife that may be impacted by the pipeline’s route. Now it’s time to start sharing a few of those photos and stories!
Some of these photos will also be shared on my website at www.cyrenekrey.com and you’re invited to like my Facebook page where I’ll continue posting my wildlife and project photos 🙂
This fall, during one of my exploratory walks around my yard, I discovered a pair of breeding gray garden slugs. Slugs are hermaphrodites, meaning they contain both male and female reproductive organs. Although they are able to self-fertilize, they usually mate with another slug.
As always, you’re welcome to view more of these photos on my website at www.cyrenekrey.com and I’d love it you liked my Facebook page for even more wildlife facts and photos! I’ll be giving away quite a bit of goodies soon to clear out my old inventory, so now’s a great time to start following my page if you aren’t already 🙂
For more information on these cool critters, check out the following resources:
Most of my work in wildlife photography has me visiting preserves and other natural areas within a few hours of my residence. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to do wildlife photography in national forests several hours away or travel out of state altogether. I even spend quite a bit of time in my own backyard. However, until recently, I hadn’t attempted photographing urban wildlife.
I was challenged a while back to shoot cities at night. While I enjoy taking on new photography challenges, initially this one didn’t seem to be a fit for me. Urban wildlife is a topic that comes up frequently during discussions on wildlife management, but it still is something that usually isn’t at the forefront of people’s minds when thinking of wildlife.
But this challenge inspired me to try something new. Going into this challenge, I had no experience with shooting urban environments at night, and certainly not while keeping an eye out for wildlife. This made it the perfect project to tackle to practice new techniques and expand my skills.
On my first night out, I spent much of the time walking along the sidewalk near the street. Despite it being a small town, it was still a Saturday night, so there were several people out. I tried to avoid the most heavily utilized areas, but I still managed to run across a few people. I have to once again apologize to the poor gentleman I startled.
While I’m out photographing wildlife, I’m frequently on my own. I don’t have anyone to talk to and I’m used to being quiet and still for long periods of time so as to avoid disturbing the animals. When I’m in public, I try to turn this off, but I still manage to stay fairly quiet. This is a habit I’ve had since I was a teenager, out exploring different wooded areas near my house, so it’s fairly ingrained at this point.
While walking along the sidewalk, I saw a man texting on his phone and did my best to try to be a little more noticeable to avoid startling him but failed. As I walked past him, he jumped and said, “Wow, you’re quiet,” sounding quite surprised. I laughed and apologized, explaining my mission.
But it was a great encounter. He worked at a local hydro-plant and was able to share with me some very useful information regarding sightings he’d had of coyotes, foxes, deer, turkeys, and raccoons in the area. It was a spot I hadn’t really known about or considered visiting, but thanks to running into him it was something I quickly added to my list.
Although I didn’t have any of the sightings he described on my first night out, I could see why the area would be frequented by the local urban wildlife. It was slightly off the beaten path, close to a water source, and had a lot of both natural and human made shelter available while still remaining very close to human sources of food, such as dumpsters.
So despite scaring the local human life, I was able to get some great tips on where to search for (and hopefully not scare) the local wildlife. He wished me well in my hunt and requested that I try to avoid scaring anyone else while I was out. I promised I would do my best and continued on.
While I wasn’t able to photograph the wildlife I was searching for, I was able to practice my skills and obtain some useful information. I also heard a coyote call nearby, as well as ducks, and saw several other signs that there was indeed plenty of urban wildlife in the area. The next time I’m able to go out, I’ll have that information and experience to guide me.