Monday, April 05, 2010

The Easter Lizard

We were at Syl's parent's house (near Security Hill) for a wonderful Easter dinner of burgers, dogs, 'tater salad and whatnot.
While out on the patio listening to the Spurs whup the Lakers and discussing the state of our lawns after the drought, I spotted a green anole hiding behind the chiltepin plant by the AC unit.
"Must really be Spring" I thought, then went in search of more.
There's usually one on the side of the house by the boat, and sure enough there was.
And hey!--here's a tiny one on the back wall hiding behind that plant.
3 is about average, but I was hoping to spot a big one.

During the next time-out I walked the back fence and spotted a Prairie Racerunner, which is a first for me in this part of town.
They are in the whiptail family which are the fastest lizards in the USA at 18mph, which is astonishing considering how short their legs are and how much drag those long tails must cause.

Anyway, during the next commercial break I went back to where the smallest Anole was, and found King Daddy Alpha Male himself instead.
He was on the wall, head pointing down, ambush hunting--waiting for a bug to wander by so he could swoop down from above and score some Easter Dinner.

I went inside for my camera, and changed lenses to my 55-200mm.
When I returned, Mr. Lizard had moved to a perch on top of a concrete mushroom (as seen above) which suited me just fine! Much more interesting pose than on the wall.
At this time I noticed not only the tiny one from before, but a fifth anole of medium size not too far away.
And so did my subject!

As I started shooting pictures and slowly creeping forward, the signs of agitated territorialism started to show themselves--first he turned broadside to the smaller lizard, then puffed-up his body to look bigger and more dangerous.
Then the push-ups started and I took a chance on getting just the last bit closer hoping he would be so busy with his ritual as to ignore me, because I knew what was next.
After 5+ years I finally got a photo of a male green anole with his throat-fan in full extension, and with backlight from the sun giving it some glow for bonus points!
What a treat!

I mean, family and good food are more than enough to make it a great day.
Add the Easter Sunday aspect, and it just gets so much better.
The Spurs CRUSHING the mighty Lakers was almost too much for me to handle in such a short time.
But throw in a photo I've been trying to get for years and I was in a state of grace that lasted far longer than the stomach ache I got from eating too much.

An incredible day.

When he turned around like this I knew the show was almost over--the other lizard had run away.

This was a complete surprise I found after uploading the CF card to my computer.
It only works as part of a series of photos with text, but I love it.


Albatross said...

Leapin' lizards! What a cool photo set.

Dave said...

That is so cool!

KenKzak said...

Excellent dewlap.
Huffy El Hefe Anole in action.