Public display of affection?

eastern fence lizards (Sceloporus undulatus)

The high contrast makes it difficult to see, but the lizard in the foreground is a mature male in his blue-bellied breeding colors.  I’m not sure if the other is a female or an immature male,  so this could be an amorous encounter or an aggressive one.  Either way, they were too intent on each other to pay any attention to the giant human pointing an iphone camera at them.


First snake of 2018

worm snake 2018

This isn’t a very good photo, but it serves as a record of the first snake of 2018 in the garden.  As I was pruning the roses on January 28, I disturbed this eastern worm snake (Carphophis amoenus amoenus) in the leaf litter.  I was surprised to find it at the surface so early in the year, particularly when there had been a foot of snow on the ground just ten days earlier.

Judging by the frequency with which I uncover them while digging, worm snakes are probably the most common snake species in the garden.  More details here.

Dinner with a friend

turtle-grape 1

I ran across (i.e. almost stepped on) this box turtle near the garden shed two evenings in a row.  Yesterday, I offered him some Sun Gold tomatoes, which he ignored.  This evening, I gave him some muscadine grapes, and he seemed to enjoy them very much.

turtle-grape 3


Muscadines are also one of my favorite fruits, so we have that in common.

turtle-grape 4

I think this is our old friend Percy Shelley, but I can’t be sure.  It wasn’t until after he ambled off into the woods and I went inside to download the photos that I discovered all my other pictures of Percy were taken from his right side.  What I can see of the scutes along his back seems to match, though.

turtle-grape 2