Monday, October 26, 2009

Snake Road

Every year during the spring and fall a unique road in the Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois is closed off due to "the snake migration." These reptiles spend their summer foraging in the surrounding swampland. In fall these snakes seek hibernation in the crevices of the limestone bluffs, bordering the southern portion of the swamp. Snakes are not the only animals utilizing these bluffs for hibernation; lizards, newts, salamanders, frogs and toads also call this place home.

For the last few years I have been able to experience the fall migration. It was amazing exploring Snake Road and photographing the large diversity of herpetofauna this wetland has to offer. We found over 30 species of herps (reptiles and amphibians) during each visit to the road. If you are into nature and want to see a natural phenomenon I would recommend a trip to the Shawnee National Forest.

Here are a few of the many photographs I've taken on my short but memorable visits to "The Road."

Timber Rattlesnake

Western Cottonmouth

Rough Green Snake

Black Rat Snake

Western Mudsnake

Shawnee Kingsnake

Yellow-bellied Watersnake

Green Tree Frog

Southern Leopard Frog

Northern Cricket Frog

Bird-voiced Tree Frog

While photographing this little frog decided to jump on Steve's tripod
(Look carefully!)

Dwarf American Toad

Fowlers Toad

Central Newt

Mole Salamander

Slimy Salamander

Cave Salamander

Yellow Spotted Salamander

Marbled Salamander

Fence Lizard

Ground Skink

Five-lined Skink

Monday, September 28, 2009

Kayak Photography

Kayak photography allows the photographer to obtain images that were never thought possible. It is an unobtrusive way to observe wildlife and their behaviours. Most important you don't need to spend thousands of dollars on a super telephoto lens to achieve quality images. This Fall I have been visiting Point Pelee National Park and Kayaking in the marsh to photograph shorebirds. I find the best time to go is in the evening because the shorebirds are landing in the marsh to roost for the night and also the lighting is ideal for photography. The mudflats in which the marsh provides is a great place to start looking for these birds. I use a Canon 300mm F/4 IS lens to do most of my kayak photography. The majority of the birds I have encountered are very cooperative and allow for many great photo opportunities. Here are some of my photographs I have taken this year while kayaking.



Steve Pike




Me photographing the Godwit (Photo By: