Dateline – Spring and Summer 2016 – Dallas, Texas

A few years ago I had the pleasure of leading a set of wildlife photography workshops at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. Conducting these little outdoor sessions was a lot of fun. The participants and I spent our time touring the beautiful and scenic grounds of the arboretum, and snapping pictures of the wide variety of urban critters that can be found there.

Dahlia Blue Bell at the
Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

As it turns out, the Dallas Arboretum is a really wonderful place to practice the craft of wildlife photography. In addition to the beautiful flora, the arboretum also abounds with a wide variety of fauna. Many different kinds of birds, reptiles, amphibian, insects and spiders can be found making use of the cultivated habitats. Dozens of fun loving squirrels inhabit the grounds. Observers with a sharp eye might spy signs of more nocturnal mammal activity as well (read: Raccoons).

Over the course of just a few workshops, I developed a collection of nice, and sometimes very unique photographs. Afterward, I filed the pictures away and somehow promptly forgot about them. A few days ago—just by chance—I stumbled across them again. I thought it might be nice to finally share them with you all here in the blog.

Pollinators, Insects, and Spiders

As you might expect, the gardens attract an abundance of pollinators and nectar feeders, many of which I had never had the opportunity to photograph before

Great Black Wasp on Celosia
Gulf Fritillary on orange Marigolds
Honey Bee on Blue My Mind Evolvulus
Ornithogalum
Can you find the tiny bee?
Eastern Carpenter Bee
Funnel Spider
Common Hentz Jumping Spider
Cicada Larva Exoskeleton on cherry tree
Eastern Carpenter Bee
Eastern Amberwing
Fiery Skipper on a Marigold
Southern Broken-Dash
Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak
Southern Carpenter Bee
Golden Rein Wasp
Texas Bush Katydid
Horace’s Duskywing
Spiny-backed Orb Weaver
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Monarch Butterfly

Reptiles and Amphibians

In the trees and on the bushes throughout the arboretum, a sharped-eyed observer might spot a lizard or two. Green Anoles, Broad-headed Skinks, and Texas Spiny Lizards can be found here. On the stalks of plants growing in wetter areas you may spy a well camouflaged Green Treefrog if you look carefully.

Juvenile Broad-headed Skink
Green Treefrog
Female Green Anole

Water features can be found throughout the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. In many of them turtles have taken up resident. In nice weather it is not uncommon to find them out, basking in the warm sun.

Red-eared Slider
Basking baby turtles

Squirrels

If you are just in need of a little lighthearted entertainment, the arboretum’s Fox Squirrels are there for you. These mischievous little guys are the clowns of the forest. Their antics are guaranteed to delight, with a added bonus… it is very difficult to take a bad picture of a squirrel!

Fox Squirrel making a break for it…
…another taking a little break.

Birds

Birds are the real stars of the show at Dallas Arboretum. Depending upon the time of the year, just about any type of North Texas songbird can be found here. And during migration season, the botanical garden’s plentiful flowers guarantee hummingbirds will be present in abundance. Photographing these quick-moving little birds is always challenging, and is always fun!

American Robin… the early bird gets the worm
Great-tailed Grackle eating a pump Sphinx Moth Caterpillar
Carolina Wren
Northern Mockingbird
Carolina Chickadee
Baltimore Oriole
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Ruby-throated Hummingbird