Coffee Share 210305: Spring is Here

This is a Weekly Coffee Share Essay.
I’m part of a small group of bloggers who stay in touch and chat about blogging, writing, or just about anything else that might be of interest.
Link to This week’s full list
Link to my Story Blog:  Table of Contents.

Greetings all.

It is here.  Spring has now undeniably arrived to Sonoma County, California.  Along with lots of interesting wild life, there are lots of things blooming that exhale, exude, expel, and fumigate the whole county with yes, allergens. So we’re all sneezing and wiping our noses in-between trips to the pharmacy to load up on antihistamines and Afrin — lots of Afrin. 

Red shoulder hawk 2I’ve been trying to capture a photo of our Red Shouldered hawks, but for all their innate coolness, they really are camera shy and won’t sit still if they see me pause and aim my phone at them.  So, they are still gracing us with their cries as they shoot across our skies. 

Sometimes they outright cheat and go out of their way to frustrate this photographer by sitting in a sparely branched tree, but with the sun almost right behind them. A photo of that would be a boring glare. 

On the other hand, we have a new renter behind the backyard planter box.  And he’s pretty cool. I’ve mentioned we are on the edge of suburbia and with a nearby new construction site which has stirred up the local vermin, we, for the moment have driving off the local rats who are hunting for new homes.

Join me, please, in wishing the hawks good hunting in the regard. But I’m leaving out a single live trap just in case one wanders by.  It’s one of those neat little cages with bait (peanuts) near the back and when a rat goes in to grab a bite, he must step on a pressure plate that releases and locks the door, so I can dispose of him at my leisure. I’ve not caught one yet, but this week I did my daily check and found the door locked, but no rat inside.  It’s a hair trigger release, I thought.  So I was not surprised. A large enough rain drop would be able to spring the release.

alligator lizard 2But when I stooped down to pick up the trap for resetting, I found there was something — someone, captured inside.  If you’ve read many of my coffee shares, you know we host a family of small alligator lizards and I thought, of course I would capture a critter I like having around.

I carefully carried the trap over to the planter box where they all live and opened the trap door and left to attend to other chores.  When I returned, I expected the trap to be empty, but no joy.  I had to sit down with a small stick and gently prod him out.  I had the trap on my lap and the opening rested on my left knee and when he jumped out, he landed on my knee and stopped right there, clinging to my pant leg. Then he just turned his head to watch whatever I might do. Hmmm

new lizard 210301-2

“Well, hello to you and aren’t we just the friendly guy today?”

What I decided to do was to take his photo as these guys never let me get very close, but here he sat, comfortably resting on my knee. But wait!  “Who and what are you?”  His skin and features were all wrong.  Even his coloring was off somehow, so I zoomed in for a closer shot.

new lizard 210301-1

This was interesting.  He’s not an alligator lizard, There’s too many things wrong: shorter snout, ridges down his back, his ear slot is too pronounced and low and pinpoint dots of bright blue (which did not survive well in my blowup below) on his out of focus back and much of his skin covered with tiny thorns. “Are you a miniature dragon?”new lizard 210301-1So we sat and chatted for a bit, but he really wasn’t the talkative type. So, as I slipped my phone back into my pocket and he finally tired of watching me from my knee and darted off.  For a lizard, this guy was downright friendly. 

Okay, be honest.  Would you have just sat there with him on your knee?

Next I need to give you an update on the volunteer cherry tree. It’s doing really well. It had plenty of blossoms but for whatever reason, they weren’t very resilient and the slightest breeze would shake off the petals, but the new leaves – they’re everywhere, top to bottom.

The tree has not grown any taller that I can tell.  It’s still about 10 feet, which I thought was too tall for a successful transplant, but here it is, making quite a show of surviving and flourishing. Since the new leaves are so small, I thought a shot with my finger would help you see the scale of what this look like.

Finally, I got one new story out last weekend after posting my previous coffee share.  I decided to add one story about a cat I had back in the mid 1970s.  He had personality. He had a conniving mindset. He had resilience.  He had discernment that I could not understand and he had a name like no other.  If you missed it, please give my one pet gato a click and enjoy his 8-minute story. My One Cat Story

So spring has really arrived and that’s it for me this week.  Thanks for stopping by. I’ll be around to visit your share shortly.


Blessings all! 

GW bio card 4

33 thoughts on “Coffee Share 210305: Spring is Here

    1. You might have. He was virtually motionless once he landed and I was certain he was harmless to me. It was more of a surprise than scary, but I was very please to capture a few shots of him. Thanks for the stopping by for a quick visit.

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  1. Good morning! Spring is here as well.
    We’ve had to do some watering for lack of rain, and everything is budding out. Even the full grown blood peach we cut back and dug up from Oregon and transplanted at the ranch. We love our critters too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We used to see a lot of yellow tail hawks where we lived in Southern California. I love watching them and hearing their cry. Not sure if I could be calm with the lizard on my lap. It is hard for me too to get good nature photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I did not realize you are located in Sonoma County, Gary. What an absolutely beautiful place! The lizard photos are so cool! I can’t imagine a lizard sitting still on my lap! I used to do volunteer work in herpetology (amphibians and reptiles) for a local university. My job was to catalog the numbers of different types of “herps” in our area. We don’t have anything as exciting as your lizards, though.

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    1. Hi Laurie, our local gang is pretty chill. The alligator lizards are small, but fun to watch from a distance, which they tolerate some. This guy, I now think is a Blue Belly but I never saw his belly so am going with other features and google photos for comparison. It is very nice here, but the allergens in the air – uck! Thanks for stopping by. Your visits are always welcome.

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  4. Awesome Lizzie! So cool! I don’t mind looking at them, from a respectable distance, but don’t think I’d be wanting it to crawl on my body. Nope, not me. I still have nightmares of the curly tailed lizzies that jumped on my feet for a free ride while in the carribean…as well as the salmander that decided to slip into my bed…even though I had a netted canopy tucked around it. UGH! Enjoy, though. If you wnat to move east, why not look at Ohio? Central Ohio is pretty good… I know from personal experience that Columbus,Ohio has a halfway decent public transport, museums, shows, orchestras, etc. Just a thought. At the moment, we’re looking for living space within commute which puts us looking in Cincinnati area. Not home (Greene County), but it IS Ohio, and Ohio is home!

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      1. If you do go to visit Columbus, be sure to visit Franklin Conservatory…Oh, and take the grandkids to COSI (Center for Science and Industry).

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m a yes I would let the lizard sit on my knee person. He’s lovely. Snakes are, of course, a different story. Good luck with photographing the hawk – they look lovely. It’s almost autumn here in South East Queensland but we’re still a month away from cool temps I suspect. Have a great weekend. #weekendcoffeeshare

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jo. Thanks for reading and replying to my coffee share. I always have to remind myself that you (AU) are 6 months out of sync with us (US). I’ve heard & read such wonderful things about your country and would love to visit. I think I just need to retire wealthy.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Funny little critter and what an experience for both of you. I wonder what he was thinking about as he perched on your knee. As I was reading your coffee post I was reminded of the library book my younger son brought home last week for us to share. It was called something to the effect of Who Would Win? It was about a king cobra and a Komodo dragon and was full of interesting facts about both (neither are creatures I would like to find in a trap or on my knee, haha). Anyway, great coffee share Gary. Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Good morning, Gary! Lovely photos! Yes, I’d say Spring is also here in Jacksonville, Fl. We had lovely sunny days this week, but today is rainy. All the more reason to drink coffee! By the way, I am eligible for a COVID shot and have an appt. for Friday. Progress! I’ve used your idea of a Coffee Share introduction for this week. Stop on by! Bixby won’t bite. Take care, my friend! -Pam

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Love your photos! But nope…no lizard on my leg! And… I don’t know the story behind your cherry tree but… An arborist told us that there is a general rule when transplanting a tree. Whatever the measurement is for the diameter of the trunk, that’s how long it will take in years to adapt before it will grow. So if its trunk is 3 inches in diameter, it will take three years to adapt to its new home and it will not grow in that time. You won’t see growth until year four.
    Thanks for the coffee and have a great week!

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    1. Hi Dinah. I’d not heard this rule for transplants and for me it’s good news because the trunk is just less than an inch, so I may see growth along with all those blossoms and leaves next summer.
      Very cool.

      But, you know, you would be missing a very neat treat by not hosting that little lizard. They can’t bite, they weigh almost nothing and despite what my photo suggests, they don’t have claws or spiked skin that would scratch you. He was most likely just willing to sit on a warm surface until I disturbed him. I do know, if caught and worked with, they may decent pets who come to trust you.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Salute to you Gary for your enthusiasm. I would like to nominate you for a bravery award.For I, with a wild lizard on my lap, would have simply lied on the ground, unconscious.And you were engaged in a photo session with him?

    You should thank the guy for being so civil with you. Please try to stay away from showing so much affection towards your wild guests. Else you might need some more medicines apart from antihistamines and Afrin😁

    Liked by 1 person

  10. That is quite a lizard — it’s huge and it’s got thorn! Looks different from some of the lizards I find my hikes in Southern California. I’m not sure if I would let it sit on my lap for photos lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Julie, the close up on the lizard makes him look dangerous but he is harmless. His whole body is only 4-5 inches long & his tail may add another 3. He can’t bite and I’ve held one before, and recall that you can’t feel what looks like thorns. A friend of mine even tamed one and kept him for a pocket pet for a while. Still that close up came out pretty good and if he were as big as he looks in that shot, he would scare almost anyone.

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  11. Hi Gary,
    I love all your photos and enjoyed the lizard you shared as well. It looks like a young bearded dragon, which make great pets. I wonder if either someone let it loose? Or he got away as they are very common pets from pet stores.

    I’m glad your transplant is thriving! The little flowers are BEAUTIFUL!! It’s so fun to visit with you this weekend, thank you so much for the coffee too! ❤️🤠

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Diana. Now with some help from friends and google images, I’m pretty sure he’s a blue belly which are very common around here. However, unless you grab them and turn them over to check, you can’t really see their striking blue bellies. I’ve know people who have caught and domesticated them, but I’m happy to let him live in our back yard and reduce the insect population.

      Thanks always for your visit.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I think it quite brave of you to sit and chat with a dragon on your knee. Great photos! Enjoy the spring awakening.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Did you ever figure out what the friendly lizard was? I do like critters, and would have done the same, let the lizard hang as I took photos… Glad the trees are doing well.

    Have a great week!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey Trent.
      Yep, he’s known as a blue belly. I should have recognized him but did not try to grab him or turn him over to check. Some checking of Google images verified. He also wandered back into the same trap yesterday when it was much warmer and needed no prodding to leave when I opened the door.
      Still he hung out close by for a few minutes. I’ll take that as a friendly gesture.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Hi Gary…Enjoyed your post….Where we live right now, there are smelt in the local river, so there are some sea lions and so many bald eagles…I want to get there on a non-rainy day to try and get some photos. But I agree…it’s so frustrating when those darn birds and animals will not cooperate.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Despite the allergies, how lovely with spring and all that wildlife! I’m so fascinated by how close those lizard come to humans! The only lizards I’ve seen were in Italy and they were extremely shy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Susanne.
      This group of lizards is plenty shy but the older ones are used to seeing g me walk by often enough they scurry to cover but stay close enough to watch me without hiding. The guy in the photo was a surprise and I think his demeanor had so.ething to do with being cold for having spent the night exposed to our cold overnight air. My knee was warm and I was pretty still to avoid scaring him off.

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