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Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Lizard and Me

While we were in the desert, I really wanted to see a beautiful Collared Lizard. I knew the places where I'd seen them in the past, and I returned to those places, with no luck.

On the day that we were departing our peaceful and quiet campsite, I went for one last mountain bike ride. I was churning up a hill, and, to my delight, there was a collared lizard basking next to the trail.
Initially, I was a little confused by the markings on this lizard's body because they were not as bright as I'd seen in the past. In addition, this lizard was a little smaller than I'd remembered Collared Lizards as being.

Based on some reading, I think this might have been a sub-adult lizard who was gradually developing the blue color of adult male eastern collared lizards. You can see the blue on his throat.
Collared Lizards are amazingly docile around people. I photographed this one for almost 10 minutes before he decided he'd had enough of my camera and flitted away.  What a beauty!
That day was my "reptile day", as I also saw a 3' long non-venomous Bull Snake basking in the middle of the trail. Knowing he wasn't poisonous, I took a few photos, and I loved this one as he flicked his forked tongue to "smell" me.
He was not as patient with me as the Collared Lizard. Soon, he decided to scare me away by slithering straight at me with his head raised up off the ground. I complied and hopped on my bike to speed away!

I'm always sad to leave these desert campsites that we visit only once or twice per year. Each year brings new memories, and my attachment to the places grows.

On this visit, I learned to take advantage of the uncluttered landscape in my photography. I rarely have such a "clean" landscape in my home arena that is so forested and boulder-strewn.
I suspect that Shyla and I will be visiting the tops of mesas to play for many years to come.
In the star trail photo below, the mesa that Shyla and I played upon is on the right.
After leaving our very peaceful campsite, we drove about a third of the way home and then stopped at a campsite in the middle of a slickrock and sand world. It's a gorgeous area, although it is more popular than most places we visit.
 It was our last stop - so there will be only one more desert tales installment coming up soon!


  1. the lizard is very cool! i like the snake's eye make-up. ;)

  2. Ultra quiet and peaceful, I have always wondered, how much water do you carry? Or are there streams in some places with water suitable for a shower? Dishes? boil for coffee? and the bathroom facilities? Most places we have been to that are remote, have a long drop, or 3, or, fabulous luxury, a flush toilet ( closed in) and cold water shower in an open sided shelter. Beautiful silhouette.

  3. Crikey ...... beautiful pictures as usual. Mum loved that collared lizard. What a good lookin ' bloke he is, aye?? I'm glad your patience paid off and you got to see and photograph him. Your desert is so beautiful.

  4. I love that lizard. His hind feet are really cool. And, your camp sight was beautiful. *sigh*

  5. We loved seeing that lizard - such an interesting critter. But the snake - 10 seconds would have been more than enough for me:)

  6. Those lizard shots are so cool and I love your star trails! Shyla is so sleek and beautiful, too! :D

  7. such wonderful photos
    and so different from my area
    loved seeing each one!

  8. Always wanted to see a bull snake and loved the lizard.

  9. We love the pictures of you the best, Shyla! You make us smile☺

  10. You look like your having a great time racing around in the desart and that is a very cute lizard :) Milo & Jet

  11. That lizard is so very pretty!

  12. Lizards are beautiful animals to photograph - so much colour and texture to them. And :P to the snake. :)

  13. May I ask about the camper van? Is this something you rented for the trip or you own, and made into a camper? I am not having much luck finding vans to rent for camping!! Thanks!

  14. I don't know why tears come to my eyes as I look at the beauty that you share of your world,,, and your visits with these sacred lands..
    I think its because I know how much you cherish each moment that you spend there,, and your eyes can see so much,, and the silence you can hear speak,,,
    Feeling the love of this land that you have is so beautiful.

  15. Nice lizard and snake! I'm a critter lover...except for venomous snakes and of course ticks. Great shots!

  16. Hi Y'all!

    Another beautiful spot.

    Y'all come on by,
    Hawk aka BrownDog


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