I love checking out the flora and fauna in the places we visit. Fortunately, Jayne from Delphinus and my mom do, as well. If plants, animals, and insect drama interest you, keep reading. I only shared my favorite photos, but we saw so much more. The Governor Gore Bird Sanctuary had some kind of creature nearly everywhere we looked and the Queen Elizabeth Botanical Garden had some gorgeous flowers, though we were a little too early for the orchids.
At the botanical garden we noticed this warning sign in the parking lot. It clarifies only by the picture that they only mean to check for blue iguanas. Green iguanas are invasive and have a price on their heads. It is unlikely to see a blue iguana, though, as they are very endangered. The botanical garden does have a blue iguana breeding program to save the species, so maybe they are worried about escapees.
Fountains are a nice touch, but I love waterlilies. Combine the two and it is a winning combination as far as I am concerned.
Jayne informed me this is a passion flower. Apparently it is no relation to passionfruit, but passion flower extracts are used in teas for its calming effects. I thought it a very unique looking flower.
The gardens were lovely and mom, Jayne and I enjoyed them (we even saw the endemic parrot eating palm figs) — but I won’t bore you with tons of pictures of trees and flowers. Lots of birds like warblers and woodpeckers flew around, but I didn’t get any great pictures of them. Sad face.
At the Governor Gore Bird Sanctuary I was delighted to see a family of vulnerable-status West Indian whistling ducks. The feathers were not so colorful, but their beaks were blue! …Also too big for the babies.
When they climbed out of the water, I saw that their feet were blue as well. …And also too big for the babies.
One of the parents flew off suddenly and this happened. Someone said there was a known cat in the area. That looks like a threatening posture if I ever saw one! Happily, nothing bothered the babies while we were there and both parents rejoined the babies.
I liked the contrast in this picture of the white flower on the green background.
As I looked around the sanctuary, I started noticing (along with other birds) lots of hidden wildlife. This huge orange-colored iguana lounged in a tree across the pond. This was actually a green iguana showing off his stuff for the ladies in his breeding colors. Though with no one nearby to appreciate him, his dewlap (neck flap) was relaxed. Too bad, because it looks really cool extended.
Dragonflies flitted around everywhere. Ever see a dragonfly really closeup? And see how it moves its head? I think they are aliens. They look like they study you! These red ones were so bright.
Some were green with black stripes, like this one, blue with clear midsections, and red bodies with blue heads. Did you know that dragonflies live most of their lives in the larva/nymph stage? They spend 2-3 years underwater as aggressive hunters before crawling out of the water and shedding their outer skin to reveal wings. They spend their last 1-3 months alive as dragonflies.
I had to watch where I stepped, little things were everywhere. This red millipede crossed the walkway in front of me.
Ants suddenly appeared out of nowhere and started attacking the millipede. One was biting the poor thing on its head! The ants continued the attack, so the millipede turned around and tried to get away.
The ants rode on it and chased after it, biting its legs until it reached the far side of the walkway again. Then the ants disappeared as quickly as they appeared. The didn’t want the millipede on the other side for whatever reason.
Moths, butterflies, bees, wasps, and other flying critters buzzed all around — never stopping to pose for me.
As I was watching what I thought was a coot but Jayne called a mud hen (it had red instead of white on the beak), I noticed an iguana that I probably looked right past for an hour. Truly, the longer you look, the more you notice.
A pond turtle swam to the surface near us.
This little anole came across the walkway and stopped to show off his bright orange dewlap. He likely did this to look bigger and more impressive to us so that we would know to keep our distance.
I think he thought he was hidden from us on the side of the walkway and might have been if we didn’t already know he was there.
Before leaving I snapped this shot of a red and blue beetle. I think it was a cotton stainer bug. They are pretty common throughout the Caribbean. I know, I’m a goofball. But I love all the drama and tiny things we normally miss from day to day. Anyway, next up mom and I thoroughly explore Grand Cayman and keep with the goofball theme.