Monday, June 8, 2009
Following up on last years collared lizard relocation project, I was again invited to capture Missouri-natives with MDC. Larry Rizzo was there in uniform and Ruth and Bill, from lakeside nature center, attended as volunteers. The Conservation Department's leading herpetologist, Jeff Briggler was happy to teach the art of noosing a lizard and wanted to capture about a dozen healthy adults to help establish a new population elsewhere in the state. Fishing rod lizard-nooses where tossed from hand to hand-depending on who was closest to a lizard and who had not had the opportunity to catch one yet. With a short loop hung from the end of the pole, a lizard-hunter must slip the loop around the lizard's neck without startling it. Once the string was wrapped around him, we were to pull up, "...as if you were setting a hook while fishing." The result is a very surprised lizard dangling for as short a' time as possible- no lizards were harmed today so it must work well!
I was successful at lizard-noosing last year, but had no opportunities to try it this year- still it was fun! The Collared lizards were fast and were totally at-home amongst the exposed rock. Once the sun came out, the lizards were abundant- basking on the rocks. More than enough lizards were captured and Jeff took notes and measurements of each lizard before stashing them in the shade or setting them free. We released several juveniles and kept more Females than males- Jeff believes that the increased female:male will be better for starting a healthy colony. There are already lizards at the release site- these were released under the same project last year. Folks dispersed after the group accomplished the 11-or-12-lizard goal and left a handful of us to learn more about the lizards from Jeff.
Upon release, one feisty lizard turned back towards Jeff. He recognized the lizards bold defiance and offered a finger several inches above and in front of the lizard. The bright male did not hesitate to launch at Jeff- and made a mid-air chomp at Jeff's hand. The lizard got him good and hit the ground runnin'; he found his home and may be part of a successful future resident of the release site.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
A few very pleasant days on the lake with my father. The water was high- not so much as to flood any significant part of the campground, but maybe it shrank the size of the park's peninsula by many acres.. Fishing was no good; a few soul-refreshing fires and some beautiful sunsets made the trip instead.