Between being deep in projects, and not really motivated by the same ol’ photo subjects, I haven’t been doing a lot of shooting. I mean, there’s plenty to see around Walkabout Estates, but I’m trying to branch out a bit and do new things, which will likely require a trip someplace, while see that bit about projects. But I’m getting a handful of subjects while I’m kicking around here.
Right out front, a Carolina anole (Anolis carolinensis) has been appearing regularly on or near the Japanese maple, and I’ve been watching its girth carefully. By now, I’m almost certain: it’s a female, and she’s pregnant, though you didn’t hear that from me. Of course, I am very unlikely to see any follow-up to this, because she isn’t about to give birth on the front steps, so I won’t get confirmation until the newborn ventures out, probably weeks from now. It’s still good to see the progression though.
A few meters off, another was perched on one of the branches where I’d attached a mantis egg case.
This was the ootheca/egg case that didn’t seem to fare well this year, and with the anoles hanging out so close, I’m skeptical of the fate of the survivors as well – they’re too likely to be anole food. That’s how it goes, though.
You’ll notice how dark this one is, and it’s almost certainly due to the nights being chilly so the anole was darker to absorb more solar radiation in the morning. My suspicion that this was also a female was soon dismissed, however.
Several days back, while observing an anole on the back fence, it started displaying with its dewlap, like seen here. Typically, this is either a territorial or courting display, but at the time, I could spot no other anole (which doesn’t mean a lot) and the displaying male seemed to be more oriented towards me. I had a vague suspicion that this display was intended for me, telling me to get lost, though I’d never heard of them doing it for humans. And then today, this one did the same, and again, I found no indication of another anole – indeed, this one had been basking until I ventured too close, and the overall color doesn’t fit with the other reasons for displaying that I’ve seen. So now I’m on a quest to determine if this really was the case.
In the early evening, I spotted my next subject and vowed to go in and get the macro rig, then forgot about it for a while. When I finally returned, it took me a little bit to find it again, and once I did, the subject was reluctant to give me the poses that I was after.
This is a male magnolia green jumping spider (Lyssomanes viridis,) which I haven’t seen too often before. Unfortunately, this frame is slightly confusing, and I apologize for that, but between the gusting wind this evening and the spider’s reluctance to keep facing me, this was the best that I got. You can tell it’s a male through the oversized chelicerae, the long appendages with the brown stripes running down them, and the pedipalps, the smaller arms flanking the chelicerae with the club ends that are the same hue. While I glimpsed this during the session, I didn’t capture a decent image of the wandering eyes. The wind kept video out of the question, so I let this one be after a handful of shots.
Out front, I was delighted to spot something in a drain trough that I’m not sure I’ve ever spotted in NC, which is curious since they appear all throughout the area. So I captured it for a quick closeup session.
This is a ring-necked snake (Diadophis punctatus) – very slender, narrower than a pencil, and only a bit longer; I think this one topped out at about 25cm, but I didn’t try measuring it. It was definitely not complacent about being handled, writing constantly and defecating on my hands (the smell of which takes forever to eradicate,) and it got only slightly more cooperative in the terrarium – it took long enough to get the head out into plain sight. I wanted one other detail, but it wasn’t going to happen without a lot of playing around or, for preference, a handler, but The Girlfriend doesn’t like snakes, even as small as this one was, and wouldn’t have appreciated the aromatic treatment of her hands. So I have just the barest illustration for you.
The belly of ring-necked snakes is a brilliant lemon yellow, even more vivid than their necks – one day I’ll show this better. But I wanted this one to stick around and it was already pretty anxious, so I released it immediately after these images into the same location as found, and we’ll see if it appears again later on.