Eyes Beneath the Rocks
(Click on image for larger view)
Spring flowers in full adornment at almost the end of Spring in the Kansas Flint Hills. Ninety-four degrees
and winds in excess of twenty-five miles, dry and dusty we headed out to capture photos of one of the more
prevalent creatures in that area, the Collard Lizard. They like hot, humid and sunny days, but you have to
be quick with the camera when they're spotted sunbathing on the rocks. Photos 2 and 3 are of the first one
we found, on a flat surface along the roadway and in the shade. Those two were shot from the Jeep window.
The next encounter we had with the Collard lizard was something else as the progression of photos will show.
This one was small, and after nicking my knee on some barbed wire and getting closer, it decided to hide
under a rock. Having not seen it go any further, I lifted the rock and began shooting and for the most part no
problem. Then the lizard apparently getting tired of my stooping, pointing and standing, eventually began
some "open mouth" signals that it was getting tired of my invasion of the territory.
Obviously the photos of this Collard didn't focus correctly and probably because I got excited when it
started opening its' mouth and the subsequent shots showed the lizard becoming more aggressive.
And it didn't help that a Kill Deer, who apparently had a nest close-by began scolding me
for invading its' territory too. Center photo is of the type of rocks along the ridges that
Collard Lizards like.
This one I almost missed. I came around a corner, looked over at a post-rock leaning
against a corner fence (good place to look for lizards) and low and behold he was peeking
just enough to see what I was up to. I tried to fool this one and took some shots from the Jeep,
then got out on the opposite side and slipped up along side to capture it stretching before it
jumped and disappeared.
Photos three and four was one hiding at the entrance to its' nest.
Wildflowers soon to be in full bloom and attracting butterflies in
the Flint Hills.
All photos © 2002 by don Palmer