Sand lizard? Tick.

It all started with an enquiry.  Simple enough question – ‘ Do you have a picture of a male Sand Lizard that we can use please?’  It’s for internal use within the Wildlife Trust, can’t say too much at this stage you understand 😉  .  Well, of course I do and promised to send some samples over.  Going through my library of images revealed plenty of shots – but I knew I could do better.  So, on the weekend of St Georges Day history was repeated – sort of.  I went into battle armed with my trusty canon (the camera, not the weapon!) with the purpose of capturing myself a dragon (technically I wanted to capture an image, and the dragon here is actually a lizard).
 
I arrived bright and early.  Too early.  The only thing moving was a queen wasp, busy rasping away at an elder branch to make paper for her nest.  Talk about noisy chewing!  I could hear her every munch from about 10 feet away!

It wasn’t long however before the lizards came out to play.

A male lizard flat out. Just need to get some shades for a real cool look..

   At least 4 males and a few females were out basking and I spent quite a while wandering around getting a good stock of shots in the camera.

Enjoying the sun... and missing a bit of it's tail.

 

With the temperature rising as the sun beat down (it was during the particularly warm spell) it wasn’t long before the lizards were ready to get moving having warmed enough.  They move pretty darn fast!  Not only were they chasing around after insects, the males were chasing each other from their territories, while the females seemed content to roam around checking out the guys.  The guys didn’t seem too bothered about the gals though – they just wanted to soak up some rays, as the video shows..  The brown female tries to entice him by flicking her tail, when that fails she tries to bite him (which is actually what he should be doing to her in lizard courtship terms).  He just wants to sunbathe!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXu0y4RzLZs

Content that I had enough lizard shots to be able to deliver the goods, so to speak, I went off to the pond in search of dragonflies.  A couple of Downy emeralds were busy hunting along the margins but didn’t land once.  The only option was to get a flight shot..  Not easy, as they only hover for a matter of a second or two at a time before whizzing away.  An hour later, and I had one half decent shot!

Got it! The only shot I could use after trying for an hour!

Back home I opened up the images on my PC.  The feel good factor from a succesful day soon descended into gloom and doom…  Literally every one of the male sand lizards was carrying ticks – not the best look!

Ticks. Labelled up for you. Not nice things to have around..

So, back to square one and only one solution.  Ok, maybe there were a few solutions but one stood out as obvious to me.  Go out and find some more sand lizards!  Fortunately I knew of another site not ten minutes from the house, so promising my wife that I’d be back ‘in an hour’ off I went the following morning.

Ok, so I was a little longer than an hour but my wife was very understanding as always when I waltzed (not literally – I am not dancing material!) back in to the house about 4 hours later..

Now that's what I call a Sand Lizard!

The good news is that the sand lizards were out, were tick-free and even seemed to be a brighter green than the other colony.

Posing like a dragon - but smaller!

  To top it all, I also managed to get a shot of a Broad Bodied Chaser. 

Broad bodied Chaser. It's a got a broad body, and it chases things (insects)

Bonus points all around!  So there it is, definitely a case of a working with dragons – but I think it’s a bit late for me to start trying to include a reference to St George into the title of this blog.  Apologies to Sam, as he did suggest it a while back, when it would have worked a treat.  I’m just too tardy with my blogs, and I don’t have a white charger or carry a shield or anything like that either.  And my dragons lacked fire breathing abilities… 

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