But they’re cute

Yeah, back in a rut – or I never left, whatever you like. But these finds from last night couldn’t be passed up.

I semi-routinely check out the property, day and night, to see what can be found, mark progress, and so on. I’d like to think that I’m getting even better at spotting extremely subtle things, but there’s no real way to determine this, no ‘master list’ of what there is to be spotted. I just know what I do find, which might only be 2% of what could be seen if I didn’t suck. Man, empiricism isn’t good for the ego…

tail of Carolina anole Anolis carolinensis hanging down from dried flowers of oak-leaf hydrangea Hydrangea quercifolia
The oak-leaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) in The Jungle has been a good place to spot things this year, though not every time I’ve checked (see above.) The flowers from this past spring are still there, dried and brown now, and may hang on through the winter, providing a nice accent to the overall appearance as well as hiding places for various small critters – that tail hanging down is the clue, though it’s only 3cm long. And there’s more to see, if you look very closely, but I’ll make it easier in a moment. Don’t keep scrolling if you want to challenge yourself first.

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sleeping juvenile Carolina anole Anolis carolinensis within dried flowers of oak-leaf hydrangea Hydrangea quercifolia
Yep, our old friend the Carolina anole (Anolis carolinensis) is once again sleeping within those flowers. So you know, the individual petals might be fractionally larger than your thumbnail – this is one of the juveniles, almost certainly this year’s brood. They appear to grow much slower than the frogs do, and a few days back I believe I spotted one of last year’s brood, only half of adult size. There’s no way to tell for sure, and all I can go on to differentiate them is their locale, which may change at any time when they decide to move on. I suppose I could sneak up some night and attempt to give them a tiny tattoo…

By the way, you can tell this is a juvenile by the awkward sleeping position – adults of every species know if they try to sleep like this they’ll be worthless the next day.

About two meters away on the rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus,) was another find.

juvenile Carolina anole Anolis carolinensis hanging awkwardly from rose of Sharon Hibiscus syriacus
This one probably heard my attempt to get closer up the overgrown slope of The Jungle, through the ivy and blackberry iris and various unwanted vines, thus the open eye. It didn’t budge from position, though – and it is this position, shot perfectly upright and level, so the anole really is hanging head down like that. I’m not at all sure how it’s remaining that way, since neither the hind legs nor the tail seem to be latched onto anything, so perhaps it just licked its own belly and stuck itself to the leaf? Maybe this is a very localized example of those gravity anomalies? Maybe… nah, let’s not be indelicate.

The other day when I didn’t have the camera in hand (the horror!) I viewed some behavior that I’m dying to get on video, and it was almost certainly displayed by one of these two, given that it was on the top of the same hydrangea roughly midway between these two photos. I’ve already done a few short video clips, nothing fascinating, but I intend to catch more behavior before the season ends and these spuds go into hibernation. The problem is, there’s no way to get a decent view without them being acutely aware of my presence, which likely affects their behavior – it could be a while. Still, it’s been a good year for video efforts, so we’ll see.

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