Carpenter bee on Turtlehead bloom

28 09 2011

The Turtlehead (Chelone obliqua) is a hardy herbaceous perennial wildflower in the Figwort family (Scrophulariaceae). The flowers are cross-pollinated primarily by bees and I can attest to that because this bank of blooms was swarming with very busy bees. The plant is aptly named because the flowers resemble the head of a turtle. In fact, the botanical name Chelone (rhymes with baloney, Dad) means “tortoise” in Greek. Photographed in the children’s garden at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, VA

© 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.





Fun at the Mote Marine Aquarium

10 02 2010

At the Mote Aquarium, my friend Cam purchased a bucket of sand for $6 and the kids got to mine through it for shark’s teeth over a trough with running water. They had a blast finding various types of shark teeth and fossilized stingray tails. We all got a chance to touch several types of stingrays (a first for me!). Over at the laboratory, we watched two resident dolphins do tricks with their trainers and met Harry and Buffet, the manatees. There are several sea turtles at the laboratory, too.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Here lizard, lizard, lizard

5 06 2009

Every time I hear the word lizard, I think of that Taco Bell dog commercial shown here.

On Sunday, Michael and I visited the Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden, the only “frost-free” botanical garden in the continental U.S. The garden showcases flora native to South Florida, Cuba and the Caribbean and emphasizes cultivation of threatened and endangered species of the Florida Keys. This “biodiversity hotspot” is home to many species of plants and animals. Common animals includes box turtles, Green iguanas (one greeted us in the parking lot), Mangrove Skipper Butterflies (which I saw and photographed), and various turtles, crocodiles, birds and snakes. And there were lizards virtually everywhere…on the walkways, benches and in trees. I saw at least six different species, three of which are in the collage below. There were so many that as I was photographing one lizard, another would crawl into the frame or run past my subject! And I had to look closely to be able to spot them—they were so well camouflaged. More photos to come…

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Lizard Camouflage