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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Species Spotlight #16: Western Fence Lizard

While birding in San Diego, Cabrillo National Monument became one of my go-to spots: the habitat was nice, the birds were plentiful, and during the week there weren’t a whole lot of people. Plus, the it was really close to the place I was staying, and the while you had to pay an entrance fee, the pass you got lasted a whole week. The only problem, however, is that the place didn’t open til 9am, which is much too late for a jet-lagged East-Coaster.

Luckily, the nearby Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery is a nice spot in its own right. Housing the graves of countless armed service members, the steep chaparral hillsides that line the cemetery are filled with birds – mostly common stuff like California Thrasher, Spotted Towhee, and Ash-throated Flycatcher, but all new birds for me! James and I visited one day after birding the whole of Cabrillo (and very successfully at that), and as we watched Western Kingbirds singing from the tree-tops James photographed this lizard lounging along one of the many stone walls in the area.

Looks like it belongs in 60 Million Years, BC!
Speaking of which - Raquel Welch is like 71 this year! Who knew?

It’s a Western Fence Lizard, and like its name suggest, it’s closely related to the Eastern Fence Lizard we get out in North Carolina. Really closely related, as a matter of fact – I probably couldn’t tell you the differences between the two species except that we totally found this one in California. Still, fence lizards are pretty cool, and I’ll take an awesome lizard any day of the week!

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