The smoke sucks.
Another day of smelling it, sore eyes, a nagging small cough.
Even with that, while it’s not great here, it’s far, FAR worse in so many other places in California, Oregon, and Washington.
Not to mention the actual, you know, FIRES, that are killing dozens, could kill thousands, and are destroying entire towns and literally millions of acres of forests and grasslands.
But the special effects… WOW!
The mourning dove, sometimes known as a turtle dove, is pretty common just about anywhere in the US.
They’re incredibly common around here, unlike my mysterious Black Phoebe or the heard-but-never-seen Northern Bobwhite Quail.
I love hearing their calls in the morning, and I usually see them on the wires out front, occasionally in a tree.
This one leapt out at me because, to the best of my recollection (and I’m pretty good about noticing and remembering little details like this), this is the first time I’ve ever seen one down on the ground feeding, and it’s definitely the first time I’ve seen one in the back yard where it’s normally hip deep in finches and mockingbirds.
Timing is everything, I guess.
Wait – cheese it, he’s seen us! Run for your life before it attacks, these things are viscous!!
(No, that’s not a typo. It’s cheap, late, late Saturday night humor.)
I think this may be the same big guy who was on the grass the other day when it was REALLY hot.
It’s hard to tell with the high contrast setting he’s chosen (wisely) to hid himself in. Bright sunlight was right there, but inches away were shadows and the bushes to hide under and in if threatened.
In retrospect, I’m amazed that he didn’t take off like a bat out of hell the second I opened the front door. This spot is only about five feet away from the porch mat, not even social distancing!
This close up the depth of field on the photo sucks, but I do love seeing the texture and spines on his scales where it is in focus, as well as those long, agile toes.
Between the pandemic, quarantine, working from home, and all of that, as I’ve noted before, there are a limited number of things to take pictures of or write about. Unless of course you want me to start ranting about politics, idiots, evil GOP Death Cults, or how QAnon folk need to be rounded up and given massive amounts of psychological help. And those topics, accompanied by massive amounts of swearing, are what Twitter is for!
This guy is bigger than some, smaller than others, but it’s his coloration and tail that make him easily identifiable among the dozen or so scurrying about the front sidewalk.
He’s a tan or khaki color, which I haven’t seen before.
His tail is also shorter and thicker than normal – compare it to some of the others from a couple days ago.
Like most of these new guys, he’s extremely skittish. Try to take a half step closer and he’s already 2/3 of the way under that bush. I’ll never catch him under there!
This is probably the same (potentially) Mama or Papa Lizard that we saw on Saturday. It would be so much easier if they would wear name tags…
Same spot, over by the driveway and the bushes by the front door that all of the micro lizards are hanging out in. Well, those that are still alive.
What was strange was that it (he? she?) was on the grass, propped up like this. That’s a first, I’ve never seen one of them out on the grass except to possibly scurry across it toward the bushes or a tree for safety.
Especially because of the way it’s using all of those splayed out, long toes to stay up on top of the grass, I suspect this was because it was 117° F (and we know what the “F” stands for!) degrees.
They like the sun, but let’s get real. There are limits!!
There’s plenty of sun to be gotten – it was fortunately only up to about 102° today. I practically need a sweatshirt.
Out in the front yard, two of the new baby lizards were working on their tans.
This guy couldn’t decide if I was threatening enough to cause him to give up this toasty, warm spot.
He eventually spun around to face the bushes so he could make a quick escape if he had to, but I, of course, let him be.
This tinier guy was right outside the front door and spooked as soon as I opened it.
I didn’t move other than to close the door behind me (an A/C 76° inside, a lizard-friendly 100+° outside, you do the math) and take pictures.
That was okay for a minute, but as soon as I tried to lean down to get closer or squat to get to his level, he went from zero to Warp Factor 8 in about two seconds.
Probably a good move – I’ve seen the remnants of at least two of his siblings out there already. Between the crows, hawks, mockingbirds, and whatever omnivorous predators are on the prowl, there are slow lizards and there are old lizards, but there are no old, slow lizards.
To the best of my knowledge, lizards lay their eggs and aren’t real maternal or paternal after they hatch, but I could be wrong. We definitely have at least four or five or six micro lizards running around the front door and driveway, and I’ve seen adult lizards there in the past. But yesterday for the first time after seeing the juvenile lizards I saw a fairly large adult out there.
There were several of the tiny ones around. Given the territorial nature of lizards, I would think that this big one would be driving off or killing the little ones – unless it’s her/his nest.
Maybe? I’m working from a position of ignorance here. But the front yard lizard social dynamics are looking complex!
He’s not super red, still more brown, but he’s a lot more reddish than the grey, black, brown, or tan lizards in the yard.
His domain is the south side of the back yard, along the fence and hedge that separates us from the neighbors’ yard.
He’s not one of the small, baby lizards. I haven’t seen any of them in the back yard, they’re all out front by the driveway.
I would think that his territory might be somewhat perilous – there are at least two mockingbird nests in the hedges right above his head and they would love to catch him for lunch.
Which is probably why he won’t let me get anywhere near him. But he is a beauty! And with this weekend’s temps up about 110°F every day, he won’t have any problem being active and quick.
The world, like this image, is overflowing with contrasts these days. I’m not saying it should all be shades of beige and grey, but maybe we could dial it back just a little bit, please? Someplace more in the middle might have less wear and tear on my nerves.
Filed under Art, Photography
Remember the scene in “The Princess Bride” where Inigo’s quest has hit a dead end and, stranded in the forest, he closes his eyes, prays to his murdered father to ask for guidance for his sword, and stumbles into the secret switch to the underground lair of Count Rugen where Wesley’s mostly dead body is lying? (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you are required to stop whatever you’re doing and watch one of the top ten movies ever made.)
This is like that. I’ve got a LOT of pictures going back to my first cheap digital camera in 1999, and there are thousands and thousands of negatives and slides that pre-date that which I need to get digitized and scanned some day real soon now. So let’s pick a random year and date and time and see what can make me either say, “Damn, that’s a GREAT picture!” or, more likely, makes me blow Diet Coke out my nose onto the keyboard.
No, not upside down, just a matter of perspective. Some place that it’s EXTREMELY rare for me to be. (Long story…)
What the hell was I doing on a horse??!!
It took a while, but by going through the other pictures taken in the day or two before and after this, it finally came back. But I can guarantee that I hadn’t thought of this experience for one millisecond in well over fifteen years.
As Inigo said, “I need you to guide my sword!”