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:
Beginning tomorrow I’m clearing out some of the less popular photos from my gallery at http://www.cyrenekrey.com. For the remainder of today (Saturday the 15th), you can still get 25% off everything in my gallery with the code 25PERCENT. This includes photos that I won’t be removing! As usual, a portion of everything I sell will be donated to support organizations which support wildlife!
Here are a few of the recent shots I’ve added that you can save 25% on:
While it’s almost always better to visit a location for an extended period of time, sometimes I’m not able to stop and stay at a particular place for very long. It can feel disappointing to worry about missing out on incredible sights because I have to leave early, but it’s great motivation for going back! One such recent brief trip was to Nygren Wetland Preserve. I was only able to spend about fifteen minutes there on the observation deck overlooking some of the wetlands and go for a very short walk along one of the mowed trails. But I didn’t walk away empty-handed!
I’m excited about the new direction my photography is taking. The reason I’ve been taking more frequent short trips is out is because I’m practicing with some new gear and it’s going great! There’s nothing quite like that new camera smell 😉
If you would love to stay up-to-date on my work, please head over to my Facebook page and give it a like! If you want to see one of my prints hanging on your wall, please visit my website at www.cyrenekrey.com to see what’s available for purchase. More from this visit is available for viewing and purchase on my website. On each and every print I sell, I donate a portion to support causes that support wildlife. Please check it out!
Also, be sure to support your own local restored habitats. If you live in northern Illinois, check out all that the Natural Land Institute is doing for our resident wildlife!
Wildlife photography doesn’t always have to be about an obvious, literal photograph of an animal or natural landscape. Sometimes it’s worth it to get creative in a different way. Sometimes I talk to people who don’t realize that wildlife photography (or photography in general) is as much of an art as any other. Photographers are artists too. Just like every other artist, we spend years honing our skills through practice and study. One perfect shot can take hours of preparation, days (or weeks, months, or years depending on the shot) of looking for (and getting to) the perfect location and waiting until everything is just right. It requires knowledge of more than just button-pushing to take a picture. Wildlife photographers have to know the terrain, the animals they’re photographing, lighting, the technical capabilities of their gear, and their own limitations. It’s hard work. And it’s a lot of fun. Sometimes I like to get away from the literal photos of bugs and birds and do something a little different.
A lot of times when I talk to people about doing wildlife photography, they immediately think of photographing exotic animals in hard to get to locations all around the world. And while that’s certainly true for some photographers, I spend my time much closer to home. In fact, I spend most of my time at home in my own backyard. I love traveling and exploring new areas, but the fact is that it can sometimes be cost or time prohibitive to do that. And that’s true for a lot of people. So I thought I’d talk a little bit about photographing backyard wildlife, wherever your backyard may be.
In other news…I’ve fully revamped my website. Check it out at cyrenekrey.com! I also have a Facebook page and I’d love it if you liked my page 🙂
In addition to my volunteer work with “Hoo” Haven, I also volunteer for the Forest Preserve District of Winnebago County as a trail steward for the Clayton Andrews Forest Preserve. It’s an adorably small preserve in a subdivision in Roscoe, IL. There’s one little trail that goes through the preserve which is used mostly by local residents (and me!). I grew up in a home that backs right up to the preserve. Growing up, I spent a good deal of my time in the wooded area behind our house, before it was ever an official forest preserve. So becoming a trail steward for this area has been a lot of fun for me.
Thankfully most of the residents take pretty good care of this area so there isn’t a lot of work for me to do. I pick up the occasional trash and pay attention for things that appear out of order, but generally I get to walk around with my camera and focus on the beauty around me.
I went to Nachusa Grasslands last month in the hopes of seeing the bison that roam around there. And I did!
In the past, cowbirds would follow herd of bison to consume the seeds and insects that were stirred up by the large animals, however with modern farming and ranching they have become much more common in developed areas (The Guardian: Zoology). Their previous nomadic lifestyle following herds of bison is believed to be the reason for their parasitic behavior, since nesting wasn’t practical when constantly on the move (The Guardian: Zoology). The Brown-headed Cowbird does not make its own nests, but rather lays white and brown eggs in the nests of other birds which require incubation for approximately 10-13 days (Tekiela, 1999). Because of the time and energy saved from their parasitic behavior, females are able to lay up to three dozen eggs each season (The Guardian: Zoology). However, because of the advantages the Brown-headed Cowbird has received from agriculture and pastoralism, their numbers have increased at a rate that hasn’t allowed other species to catch up (The Guardian: Zoology). Because of this, many species have not yet evolved a defensive strategy against inadvertently raising cowbirds instead of expending the energy on their own young (The Guardian: Zoology). The Brown-headed Cowbird is the only parasitic bird species in Illinois and have been known to lay eggs in the nests of over 200 different species of birds (Tekiela, 1999). They are social birds and often move in large flocks (The Guardian: Zoology). Although they are a migratory species that heads to southern states, they can still be seen throughout Illinois year-round (Tekiela, 1999).
In addition to geese though, there was also a lot of litter at these stops including some discarded fishing gear. Fishing gear can cause a lot of problems for wildlife so if you do fish, make sure to clean up properly. If you can’t for whatever reason, then you shouldn’t be fishing.
I’ll be sure to get these photos (and more) onto my site (when I get around to it ;D).