Summer 2022

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is a local treasure. The park is home to 19 different gardens, each showcasing a varied collection of beautiful plants, flowers, water features, sculptures, and unique architecture. Nestled on the shores of White Rock Lake, the arboretum is located perfectly to provide amazing views downtown Dallas, which is located just a few miles to the southwest.

The abundant and lush vegetation in the arboretum provides around 66 acres of prime habitat, and the park is home to an plethora of delightful urban wildlife. The attractive layout of the grounds is very photogenic, making it almost impossible to take a bad picture. All together, these great characteristics make the arboretum a fantastic place to practice the art of wildlife photography. Spending a day there is an excellent way to refine and improve your craftwork.

Attractive statuary
Beautiful views of downtown Dallas
Lush gardens
Abundant water features

On any given summer day you might expect to find a number of different lizards, frogs, turtles, and birds on the grounds. Green Anoles dart about the foliage, flashing their bright red dewlaps. Broad-headed Skinks and Texas Spiny Lizards patrol the branches. On the ground you might spot a rare Texas Garter Snake if you keep a careful lookout. A sharp eye is also required to catch a glimpse of one of the charming Eastern Screech Owls that frequent the park. In and around the flower gardens you might find buzzing hummingbirds, bees, wasps, butterflies, and other insect pollinators. Multiple species of dragonflies dart about the arboretum’s many water features. And of course, there are the Blue Jays, Cardinals, Robins and squirrels, which are abundant, attractive, and always available for picture taking. Many species of bird can be counted on to make an appearance, depending upon the time of the year—the beautiful Baltimore Oriole being a popular example.

Taking pictures on the lovely grounds of the Dallas Arboretum

This past summer we held a couple of Wildlife and Nature Photography Workshops on the grounds as part of the annual Summer at the Arboretum festivities. Turnout was good, and many excellent wildlife pictures were recorded. We spent each morning with a guided tour of the grounds, stopping to take pictures whenever interesting wildlife or scenery was encountered. A good time was had by all. Afterwards, many of the participants were kind enough to share some of their best shot with me. See below for a selection of the pictures that were recorded.

June Workshop

Female Mallard incubating eggs in the Dallas Arboretum
Common Grackle—despite the name, these are not
as commonly seen as the more familiar Great-tailed Grackle
A female Northern Cardinal cooling off in a pool of water
A female Red-wing Blackbird fetching invertebrates for her nest full of babies
A Fox Squirrel who has been burying acorns—as evidenced by his dirty nose!
A Green Anole checking on those who are checking on her!
An American Robin on the nest
This female Basilica Orb-weaver has attracted the attention of a male
A big male Green Anole with battle scars from mating season combat
A fleeting glimpse of a lovely Baltimore Oriole
A rare Texas Garter Snake!
A beautiful Blue Dasher
The highlight of the day… A red Eastern Screech Owl
You often hear Red-bellied Woodpeckers before you see them!
A White-winged Dove catching a few Z’s while incubating her clutch of eggs
A Mallard family on the move!

September Workshop

A huge American Bullfrog
A beautiful Eastern Amberwing
A charismatic Green Treefrog
A skinny little Long-jawed Orb-weaver
Another charming Green Treefrog
A Northern Mockingbird catching some early morning sun
An unusual walking stick insect… possibly an Emesaya brevipennis
A tiny Blanchard’s Cricket Frog
An American Bumblebee collecting pollen
A cicada nymph exoskeleton
A juvenile Green Anole with a tiny dewlap
Crystal dew—like diamonds in the sun—on a spider web
A Green Anole catching some rays in a sunny spot made just for him
A juvenile Broadhead Skink
A large Six-spotted Fishing Spider
A Green Treefrog considering a leap of faith
One last Green Anole

Participant’s Photographs

A special thank you to all of the workshop participants who so graciously shared their pictures with me!

Another look at one of the two Texas Garter Snakes observed this morning!
Picture by Ann Pyle
The beautiful red Eastern Screech Owl
Picture by Ann Pyle
Her mate—a gray Eastern Screech Owl—was perched in a nearby tree, making faces.
Picture by Ann Pyle
Baby Mallard coming right at you!
Picture by Ann Pyle
A Common Grackle feeding its offspring!
Picture by Ann Pyle
A momma Mallard on her nest!
Picture by Tom Rogers
A nesting White-winged Dove!
Picture by Tom Rogers
A Green Anole displaying brown-gray!
Picture by Tom Rogers
American Bullfrog on lily pad!
Picture by Jonah Taylor
Blue Dasher.
Picture by Jonah Taylor
Honey Bee on a Wingpod Purslane blossom.
Picture by Jonah Taylor
Eastern Amberwing against a blue water background!
Picture by Jonah Taylor
A shy Green Anole keeping a watchful eye on the photographer.
Picture by Jonah Taylor
Neon Skimmer.
Picture by Jonah Taylor
Picture by Jonah Taylor

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