I Miss Lizards

Coast Range Fence Lizard, Sceloporus occidentalis bocourti, Topanga, CA, Photo by Kathy Vilim

Coast Range Fence Lizard, Sceloporus occidentalis bocourti, Topanga, Photo by Kathy Vilim

I discovered that I miss lizards.  The other day I was visiting the Top of Topanga Overlook, a park owned by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.  This was my first step back in Topanga since I set out travelling the Central Coast of CA some 4 mos ago! I walked through the small native garden they had there.. and saw the tiniest lizard!  He was not more than a thumb’s length, all black, standing on a wood railing, you know the round campground kind.  It seemed to me he had been just born, maybe because of the unusually warm weather. (The lizard pictured above was from my garden and not the baby lizard.)

The baby lizard scampered away at my approach.  I stopped and he stopped.  I told him how cute he was (lizards like that)! He turned his head and a tiny black eye regarded me.  He didn’t run away and we both just observed each other.  I realized at that moment:  I miss lizards!  I have not seen a lizard since I left Topanga on my trip through California’s Central Coast.  I reminisced on how the lizards would run around my garden, doing pushups on the stone wall by the washing machine, or chasing each other up & down the wood stairs.

I guess there are no lizards at California’s Central Coast beaches.. at least, I haven’t seen any on my travels.

Anna's Hummingbirds, Calypte anna, Topanga, CA, Photo by Kathy Vilim

Anna’s Hummingbirds, Calypte anna, Topanga, CA, Photo by Kathy Vilim

I also missed my hummingbird friends as I travelled.  Occasionally, I would hear a few hummingbirds clicking up in the trees at Pismo Beach or Morro Bay, but I rarely got to see them. It’s different to see one or two hummingbirds on your travels than to see the ones in your garden  They know you and will just come down and visit with you.

In the garden, you can watch the interplay between all of the creatures that live there.  They go about their routines, and have certain sections of the yard that they call their own.  The squirrels jump from tree to tree in the canopy that has grown over my garden, while the hummingbirds dart through the branches and sit on the ends of the empty ones.  And the lizards, they crawl around seemingly in their own world, doing pushups to change their angle of view.

Having a wildlife garden means you get to witness all the activity going on, playing out between all its inhabitants.  It’s so special to be able to be there watching, listening, as all the critters play their parts, playing out the days, from one sunrise to the next.

I have decided that it is beautiful to hear an owl at night, but it is even more beautiful when you know Mr. Owl..  you know what time you can expect him and what tree he is in.. and you recognize his voice when you hear him call out back and forth with his mate..

Another irreplaceable member of my wildlife garden family is Mr. Coyote, that silent ghost dog that stands at the edge of the garden, watching me, even following me through the fog, sending chills through me!

Topanga is a special place, and Topanga’s chaparral will always be special to me! No matter how many beautiful places I travel to and wildlife I discover, it is not the same as witnessing the familiar interplay between the members of my own wildlife garden family..

If you are lucky enough to have a wildlife garden, you probably know just what I mean:  Your garden is your special place, with all the familiar critters visiting throughout the year.  Go out and enjoy your friends!

© 2013, Kathy Vilim. All rights reserved. This article is the property of BeautifulWildlifeGarden.com We have received many requests to reprint our work. Our policy is that you are free to use a short excerpt which must give proper credit to the author, and must include a link back to the original post on our site. Please use the contact form above if you have any questions.

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  1. Lara says

    I love my lizards. they keep the spider population down so I don’t have to spray. As I build my garden I want to ensure that birds, lizards, and other desert wildlife want to hang out.


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