A Ranking Lizard

Lizard photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mishmarot, Israel

Lizard photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mishmarot, Israel


Those mornings working the fields surrounding Mishmarot were good, better, best! Butterflies of Israel’s coastal plain came out in full regalia to greet me, and many offered their best poses, some giving me extra time to snap dozens of images. I’m nearing the end of my read of Birdwatcher, a biography of the great American bird enthusiast, Roger Tory Peterson. Peterson, too, took dozens of exposures when he saw a bird in the right plumage, in the best spot, and with good light, wind, humidity, etc.. Carefully take mucho images, and perhaps one will be a very special keeper.

All those mornings, I was constantly under surveillance. Israel’s IDF (NO), the Israeli Mossad (NO), Israel police (NO). Who then? Lizards, lizards watched me, most scurrying away when the found that I ‘made’ them, even though they blended so well with the terrain. All of this was a bit distracting, because my eyes should have been seeking butterflies, 100% of the time. That being reminded that I was watching for snakes 6.8% of the time. So I was a seeing lizards, lots of them.

This morning I saw this one, so much bigger than any of the dozens of other that I had seen. Ah, this was a ranking lizard, from lizard HQ, directed to report to my location, and see me for itself. I had fun with this little thought . . . then I went back to my work, getting those 3 out of 100 slide images that will find a home in my Neumade slide cabinets.

He, or in Israel this ranking lizard might well be a female operative, spent some time observing me, then, satisfied that I posed no security risk, it began its hike back to lizard headquarters. Such is how my mind skips along in the field.

Species of lizard, dare I hope that we will get that from the collegial lizard naturalists of beautiful Israel?