A heron snacking on crawfish at Whalon Lake in Naperville won September’s portion of the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Preserve the Moment photo contest.
The picture was snapped by Matthew Serafini of Lockport, who saw a Forest Preserve news story about a juvenile yellow-crowned night heron at the preserve and decided to check it out with a friend.
“I knew it was a fairly rare bird for the area, so I met up with a photography buddy of mine,” he said. “We went out and found the bird and had some great lighting. The little guy was mainly hunting crawfish. In the hour I spent with the bird, we probably saw him eat four to six crawfish and one small catfish. Awesome little hunter.”
Photo contest judges were impressed with the picture’s crispness and the lighting as well as the way it captured the exact moment the heron was about to ingest the crawfish.
Serafini said he grew up in the Homer Glen area and has always enjoyed being outdoors and visiting the preserves.
“Two years ago, I self-taught myself about photography,” said Serafini, who works in banking. “I always saw such cool things while hiking, I figured why not try capturing these things on camera. Been having a blast ever since.”
Honorable mentions for September were awarded to: Tyler Paul of Wilmington for a photo of two squirrels cuddling in a tree at Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve; Eileen Capodice of Minooka for a photo of an adorable yellow warbler at Rock Run Preserve; Amy Miller of Joliet for a photo of a great blue heron looking over its shoulder at Rock Run Preserve; and Mark Hanna of Romeoville for a photo of a sleepy barred owl at Four Rivers Environmental Education Center.
You can view all of September’s photo contest entries on the District’s Flickr page, Flickr.com/WillCoForests.
Serafini is the fifth monthly winner in the 2020 photo contest. Three more monthly winners will be chosen by a panel of judges before the contest concludes on Dec. 31, so there is still time to enter the contest. In January, all eight monthly winners will vie for top honors via public voting on the District’s Facebook page, Facebook.com/WillCoForests.
Monthly photo contest winners receive $75 gift cards. Overall winners chosen in January will receive MasterCard gift cards worth $500 for first place, $250 for second place and $150 for third place. The photo contest is sponsored by The Nature Foundation of Will County.
Photos must be taken by amateur photographers age 18 or older, and they must be snapped in a Will County forest preserve after the May 1 contest start date. Please read all photo contest rules and photo upload instructions at ReconnectWithNature.org before entering the contest.