Prickly pear cactus buds and bloom

2 05 2013

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Yellow Opuntia lorez

 





Ginkgo grove

26 10 2012

Ginkgo grove at the University of Virginia’s Blandy Experimental Farm and State Arboretum in Boyce, VA. Double click on the image to see a larger view!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





The serenity of fall

23 10 2012

Fall comes to Lake Land’Or in Ladysmith, Virginia.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Ready for my closeup!

17 08 2012

I read that Eastern Amberwings are some of the wariest of all dragonflies and rarely land, preferring to hover over the water instead. I was lucky that this particular one kept coming back to the same spot and kept still long enough for me to focus for this closeup portrait.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Eastern Amberwing dragonfly

17 08 2012

Eastern Amberwing dragonfly (Perithemis tenera). The Eastern Amberwing is very small, measuring just 3/4 to 1 inch long. Its scientific name, “tenera,” means delicate, referencing its small size. Photographed at Green Spring Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





East Indian lotus

8 07 2012

From the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens visitors center:
Clustered in a pool near the visitor center is the pink-tinged East Indian lotus, descended from ancient plants whose seeds were recovered in 1951 from a dry Manchurian lakebed. Induced into germination by the National Park Service, the seeds are believed to be one of the oldest viable seeds ever found. A recent estimate places their age at 640 to 960 years. Unlike water lilies, the lotus (genus Nelumbo) has waxy leaves that rise above the water and shed rain. Its showy flowers drop petals to reveal seedpods that look like shower heads. Its seeds ripen above water.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Trypophobia, anyone?

6 07 2012

I was just researching Sacred Lotus seed pods (which is what you’re looking at in the photo below) and discovered there is an unofficial phobia name for people who have a fear of holes—Trypophobia. Read this interesting article about unusual phobias by Georgie Lowery on HubPages here.

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On the subject of “trypophobia,” Lowery writes:

My grandmother had a silk flower arrangement that she often placed on her kitchen table. I remember it had pink and light blue flowers in it. It also contained something that caused me an extreme amount of discomfort. So much so that she eventually removed it from the arrangement. It was a dried lotus seed pod.

It wasn’t until a few years ago that I did an internet search for ‘fear of lotus seed pods’ and came up with something called trypophobia, which is derived from the Greek word trypo, meaning having holes that are punched, drilled or bored. It’s considered an intense, irrational and often overwhelming fear of clusters of holes. It is an unofficial phobia, meaning it is not recognized as a medical condition.

Other trypophobia sufferers have reported intense phobic symptoms with other things involving holes as well, including sponges, holes in wood or honeycombs. Some people’s reactions to holes, including mine, intensify when the holes have something in them, such as a sunflower with its seeds. Researching for information on trypophobia returned some photos that officially gave me the heebie-jeebies, namely the photo of the Surinam toad, who incubates and hatches her eggs from holes on her back. There is a video that shows the tadpoles hatching, but I’m not posting it here simply because I might have to watch it to get the link.

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Granted, the little seeds do look like a multitude of creepy little alien eyes, but clearly I don’t suffer from trypophobia since I photographed it without incident. Hmmmmm…you learn something new every day, doncha?

Trypophobia-inducing photograph © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Water lily

5 07 2012

Unidentified water lily, photographed at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





The beauty of pollination

15 02 2012

Thanks to my friend Jeff for sending this amazing video to me!





The Painting Years: Birds in flight

30 12 2011

Here’s another painting I copied while studying with Lila Prater in Weslaco, Texas. I was about 15 when I painted this 18×24 canvas.





Egyptian Star Flowers (with bonus bug!)

17 10 2011

This one is for Galen, expert bug-spotter. Can you spot the spider (that I just now discovered!) hiding in this photo? Photographed at Green Spring Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Er, um, sorry, didn’t mean to interrupt!

5 09 2011

Unknown amorous bugs on an unknown flower (sorry, that’s the best I can do at this juncture). The female was trying to gather pollen but the male had other ideas! Photographed in the Demonstration Garden at the Spooner Agricultural Research Station in Spooner, Wisconsin

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Red-legged Locust

30 08 2011

(unidentified) grasshopper photographed at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat, a restored native remnant tall grass prairie in Shell Lake in northwestern Wisconsin

UPDATE: Thanks to my fellow naturalist/blogger/writer, Jane Kirkland, for her identification of this little critter. It’s a Red-legged Locust (Melanoplus femur-ruburm). (Thanks, Jane!) Jane was a bestselling computer book author and after sighting a Bald Eagle flying over a grocery store parking lot, she began writing award-winning nature books! She is the recipient of the National Arbor Day Foundation’s Education Award, a Writer’s Magazine Book Award and two Teacher’s Choice Awards. She has been featured on PBS, Animal Planet, and is a regular guest on WXPN’s Kids Corner radio program in Philadelphia. I met Jane while I was on assignment photographing the American Horticulture Society’s National Children & Youth Garden Symposium in 2008 at the University of Delaware’s Newark campus. While at the Symposium, I bought one of her books and it helped me to identify this Halloween Pennant Dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) that I photographed at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens a few years ago. Learn more about Jane on her website here and see the books in her Amazon store here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Hallelujah light over the Blue Ridge Mountains

10 08 2011

Day trip 8.8.2011, going south on Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, lovely weather (especially for August!), lovely sky (dramatic cloud formations and rays of light), and lovely company (Michael’s nephew Sean and his wife, Anna—visiting from Columbus, Ohio)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





52 fish pile-up

23 07 2011

Sorry about the lame title…my other contenders were “a fine kettle of fish,” “fish soup,” and “koi calamity.” Photographed at the Marie Selby Botanical Garden in Sarasota, Florida

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Halloween Pennant Dragonfly

5 07 2011

Halloween Pennant Dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) photographed at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington, D.C.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Rhododendron

26 04 2011

The name ‘Rhododendron’ is derived from Greek—rhódon (rose) and déndron (tree). This genus has over 1000 species of woody plants and includes azaleas. Photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Columbine

26 04 2011

Columbine (Aquilegia), photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Move over, will ya?

6 04 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





The UT Turtle Pond

6 04 2011

Turtles bask in the reflection of the University of Texas Tower. The Red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) and the Texas river cooter (Pseduemys texana) are common to waterways in central Texas and are also the two most common species in the UT Turtle Pond.

The semiaquatic Red-eared slider is a subspecies of the pond slider and is native only to the southern United States. It is the most popular pet turtle and as a result of pet releases, it has been established in other places. It gets its name from the red mark around its ears. The freshwater Texas river cooter has yellow and black markings and is native to creeks, rivers and lakes in Texas. They can grow to a shell length of 12 or more inches.

I knew that the University of Texas Tower was infamous because of the shooting rampage by sniper Charlie Whitman on August 1, 1966, but I didn’t know many of the details. Click here for trutv.com’s Lost Innocence, a chilling account of that day by author Marlee Macleod.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Fuji G617 archives: Bryce Canyon formations

4 01 2011

Be sure to double click on the photo to enlarge for full panoramic effect!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





From the archives: Monarchs for Mary Ellen

14 12 2010

My friend Mary Ellen is likely snowed in with 15 inches of snow in a remote town in Wisconsin. To brighten her day, I thought I’d re-post some Monarch photos from my blog. This was originally posted October 15, 2008.

Yes, more Monarchs. I can’t help myself. They’re everywhere! I learned a technique from my friend Mary Ellen of Happy Tonics about how to “stalk” Monarchs with a camera. Wait until they have their proboscis inserted into a flower and they become completely distracted by the task at hand—then move in closer, staying as still as possible. They won’t even notice you’re there. This one sure didn’t. I was able to shoot about 50+ images of this Monarch in less than five minutes.

Want to learn more about the senses of a Monarch? Click here.

Here’s a surefire way to attract Monarchs to your garden—plant milkweed!
Mary Ellen sells common milkweed seeds in her eBay store here. Milkweed is the sole food for the Monarch caterpillar. Adult butterflies can feed on other plants such as this butterfly bush, but the caterpillars only eat milkweed.

Mary Ellen and I crossed paths a few years ago when I purchased seeds from her through eBay. This led to a frequent e-mail exchange, and now I do volunteer design and photography for her organization. I design and produce her quarterly 4-page newsletter, Butterflies & Gardens, as well as other marketing materials. You can download the latest issue of the newsletter in pdf format here. I also designed a Monarch Butterfly Habitat Poster for her this past spring.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. www.cindydyer.com/GardenPhotos





Harvestman, take two

31 10 2010

From this angle, his body looks a little lobster-like, doesn’t it?

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


 





Marsh near Georgetown, Maine

27 08 2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Wildflowers in Damariscotta, Maine

26 08 2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Large Tiger or Tiger Mimic-Queen (Lycorea cleobaea)

8 08 2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Critter alert!

25 05 2010

I was scrounging around the refrigerator earlier this evening, hunting for something interesting to eat for dinner. I glanced out the window and saw this large rabbit (about the size of a normal-sized cat, actually!) grazing in the grass on the common area strip in front of our townhouse, alongside two squirrels and a robin. He was out earlier than I normally see them in the neighborhood (still daylight at about 7 p.m.). I grabbed my camera with a 105mm lens and ran outside, slowly approaching him. He let me get within five or six feet of him before slowly turning away, and even then he didn’t go very far. I was able to fire off almost 20 shots—these are the cream of the crop.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Birds of a feather…

24 05 2010

On Lake Land ‘Or in Virginia…two sets of Canada Geese parents with 11 goslings between them. I think seven belonged to one family and four to the other parents—at least that’s the way this gaggle kept dividing when they paddled away from the dock. This group formed what is known as a crèche.

According to Wikipedia: During the second year of their lives, Canada Geese find a mate. They are monogamous, and most couples stay together all of their lives. If one is killed, the other may find a new mate. The female lays 3–8 eggs and both parents protect the nest while the eggs incubate, but the female spends more time at the nest than the male. Known egg predators include Arctic Foxes, Northern Raccoons, Red Foxes, large gulls, Common Raven, American Crows and bears. During this incubation period, the adults lose their flight feathers, so they cannot fly until their eggs hatch after 25–28 days. Adult geese are often seen leading their goslings in a line, usually with one parent at the front, and the other at the back. While protecting their goslings, parents often violently chase away nearby creatures, from small blackbirds to humans that approach, after warning them by giving off a loud hissing sound (often with a side of their head turned to the intruder). Although parents are hostile to unfamiliar geese, they may form groups of a number of goslings and a few adults, called crèches.

While researching facts about these birds, I came across this article here by Lynette S.K. Webster about feeding geese. Below is an excerpt:

Here are some facts and myths you should know about goose feeding:

1. Canada geese are herbivores; do not feed them with fish or cat food.
2. Feed whole wheat and cracked corn, not bread. Bread is not nutritious.
3. If feeding wild bird seed, remember that geese do not eat sunflower seeds. Therefore normal wild bird seed may be wasted on them.
4. Geese are fussy and do not eat everything, contrary to popular belief.
5. Do not feed geese from your hand as it can be dangerous. Spread seed on the grass so geese can feed on the seed while foraging.

Hmmmm…we tossed out tiny bits of bagel bread this afternoon—that’s the last time we’ll do that now that we know!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Goose and gosling

24 04 2010

While I was photographing the ‘Blue Moon’ Siberian Iris, a pair of Canadian geese waddled across a boardwalk near the Martha and Reed West Island Garden at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. Mom and Dad were trying to keep up with their baby gosling, off exploring the world in all directions. I got this “record shot” (not award-winning by a long stretch) when the mother (I presume) and baby slid into the water and began grazing in the vegetation.





Who-o-o, who-o-o

12 02 2010

I photographed this handsome (beautiful?) owl at a wildlife rehabilitation center near the Mote Aquarium in Sarasota, Florida. I had to photograph him through a cage, so I’m surprised the resulting image was this good (couldn’t avoid the lumpy tree limb to the right, though). The rehabilitation center is free to walk through, but they take donations to help their cause.

I was researching how to spell the “hoot” sound that an owl makes and found this site here that lists superstitions associated with animals. (How in the world does one keep up with all of these superstitions?) They are from a book published in the 1920s—Kentucky Superstitions—by Daniel Lindsey Thomas and Lucy Blayney Thomas. Here are the ones I found concerning owls:

3617. If an owl hoots, someone will die. (Fortunately, this fella was a quiet one.)

3618. If an owl hoots on the top of a house, there will be a death in that household.

3619. It brings bad luck to imitate the hoot of an owl. (I must confess that I did utter, “who?” when I saw this owl, which prompted him to look me straight in the eyes. What does that mean??? Am I’m in trouble???)

3620. If an owl hoots at the door for three successive nights, the sound foretells a death in the house.

3621. An owl’s hoot about midnight is a sign that a member of the family will meet with an accident.

3622. Tie a knot in your dress or skirt to stop an owl’s hoot. (I was wearing jeans.)

3623. Avert the disaster of an owl’s hooting by turning an old shoe upside down. (Is it too late for me to turn an old shoe upside down to avert disaster?)

3624. To make an owl stop hooting, take off your left shoe and turn it over.

3625. An owl will stop hooting if you pull your shoes off and cross them.

3626. To stop an owl from hooting, turn the toes of your shoes to touch the wall. (What is it with owls and shoes?)

3627. To avert the disaster that follows the hoot of an owl, heat a poker until it is red hot. (Then what do you do with the red hot poker?)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.