Our opening entry for the day comes from 1999, someplace in Florida – I can’t remember the exact location, but I think it was the JN “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island. I still lived in North Carolina then (the first time around) and was seeing almost no lizards of any kind locally, so I took the opportunities that presented themselves while doing a photo tour of Florida. And when it comes to lizards, the opportunities do present themselves (for best effect, read that in a southern woman’s drawl.) This Carolina anole (Anolis carolinensis) was known as a green anole back then, and wasn’t trying its best to blend into the foliage, so I shot a little wide to make more of a scene from it. I could have been closer, but it was already aware of my presence and very quickly scampered for better cover. Still, this is quite possibly the first images of a Carolina anole in my stock, and it took years before I was even seeing one in NC.
Now we jump forward to 2021.
Not just in NC now, but right here at Walkabout Estates, in fact right alongside the front steps in a potted plant. I’d been delighted the year before to see one here, because I’d been hoping to get them established, and last year demonstrated that they certainly seemed to be. This is full frame, like the one above it, so you know no matter what lens I was using, I was close.
The notable differences between these two occasions? Not a lot, really: better stalking ability, certainly, but I can’t even credit the latter image to paying more attention to the sounds around me, because I believe the former image was obtained by hearing the anole, while the latter hadn’t moved a muscle even as I was sitting next to it. Mostly, I can credit this to the passage of time and the opportunities that can accumulate through that, with a slight nod towards the wonderful performance of the Mamiya 80mm macro lens, my workhorse for images of this nature now.
Last year was excellent for anole images, such as this outing, but my favorite remains the one below, once again at Walkabout Estates, though three times as far from the front door (meaning five meters) as the previous. This is indeed cropped tighter, but the anole was tiny, a newborn last year, and frequented the front garden – in this case it was snoozing on a rose leaf. I was delighted, as you might imagine.