There will be more birds but what about the lizards and other winged things! Sierra de San Pedro Martír-Baja-Part 3
The lizards…Horned Lizards (Phrynosoma coronatum) are my favourites. These little miniature dinosaurs take my breath away. In the Spring as we start to water they get flushed out from the grass around the trees and sit on the edges of the watering rings with a look of indignation…how dare you wet me!
The babies are out of this world cute as well. You can watch them catching ants to eat if you sit quietly nearby. They can scurry away in a hurry if alarmed! What grumpy faces they have, well, if all I ate was ants I might not look too pleased either;)
The Common Side Blotch Lizard or are they Western Fence lizards(?) can be found all over the ranch. From the house courtyard to into the arroyo sunning on the rocks. Male side-blotched lizards exhibit distinct polymorphism in their throat colors and can be divided into three different categories. Each of these three different morphs varies in how it competes for mates, and variation within a breeding population. I learned everything I know from Wikipedia;) so I could be wrong ha!
This handsome fellow is a Skink. He/she lives in the side garden and is often buried under the sand there. He comes out to warm up occasionally, or when I water, I’m not popular with the lizards;)
These guys we don’t get to see too often. Usually I get very excited-photo op for rattlesnakes! Our dog, Pepita, a Blue Healer usually lets me know they are around by barking at them, from a very safe distance. The Red Diamond Back we usually only see on the road out at slightly lower elevations but there was one once at the ranch. The beautiful Grey Pacific Rattlesnake (I think, I thought it was a veridus) is quite quiet compared to its angry red relative who is quick to rattle and strike, usually just moseying from one spot to another, often it never rattles even when approached. They are all part of our wonderful environment and fairly rare so always a wonder to see those distinct viper heads! There is a third small rattlesnake we have seen but not ever had a chance to photograph-Crotalus mitchellii-it has a lovely yellow underbelly. Those are the “keep your distance” guys around here as well as these amazing creatures:
Black Widows are pretty common across the SW, you just have to be smart and check under things before putting your hands down, garbage cans, baskets etc. They are quite striking to see! We had one ride down in the truck with us on the under side of a propane tank once, since then, we check the bottoms of the tanks;) The tarantulas are rare as well, photo op-photo-op-we may have seen 4 in 10 years so they are pretty special! But we do have ton of Tarantula Hawks, could be why we don’t see many of the those large furry spiders. They are parasitic wasps, using their sting to paralyze their prey before dragging it to a brood nest as living food; a single egg is laid on the prey, hatching to a larva which eats the still-living prey….ugh…what a way to go! Tarantula hawk wasps are relatively docile and rarely sting without provocation. However, the sting is among the most painful of all insects, though the intense pain only lasts about five minutes. One researcher described the pain as “…immediate, excruciating, unrelenting pain that simply shuts down one’s ability to do anything, except scream”. Mental discipline simply does not work in these situations. In terms of scale, the wasp’s sting is rated near the top of the Schmidt Sting Pain index. Because of their extremely large stingers few animals are able to eat them; one of the few animals that can is the roadrunner I’ve read:) Beep Beep! I will keep my distance from the Tarantula Hawks;)
That’s about it for the painful and deadly creatures about unless you stand on a nest of Red Ants you’ll be Ok here;) want to see some more bugs? I love bugs!
I collected them as a child and put them in jars until I started to have horrific nightmares of them breaking out and getting me;) Since then I prefer to observe and photograph only;) I’ll leave you today with another one of our rodent controllers, not just Bobcats here:) This beautiful Two-Striped Garter Snake have obviously just taken care of a gopher or more likely a mouse:) These beautiful creatures are our friends:) He/she is SOOOO full! It curled up in the sun later for a wonderful nap:)
Just another day at the ranch. I forget just how much nature, living creatures, surround us here, and I still haven’t gotten to the butterflies and hummingbirds!! You will have to wait;) Stay tuned amigos and remember-this is our world, our wonderful and only world-It deserves our respect first and foremost, we are ALL a part of it:)
Amazing photos! I love your stories Pamela, makes me want to take m camera and get outside! I have this little chipmunk that I started feeding last summer. I have been watching for him this spring and I finally saw him this week. I went out armed with a dish of peanuts and sat on a chair in my driveway and waited. I saw him in a brush pile and called him “Chippy, Chippy” and to my surprise he came running right to me!! What a thrill to know that he remembered me.