The monsoons had delivered a couple weeks previously, and the vegetation was quite lush and green in most of the places we visited. And insect and other animal life was pretty abundant. We drove to the Ponderosa Grove Campground just north of Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park (in Kane County) for the first night, then spent two nights on the west end of Long Canyon in the Grand Staircase Escalante NM next (the same spot we stayed in two years earlier), then spent the last three nights at Canyonlands National Park, at the Squaw Flat Campground (something new for us).
This installment will cover some of the scaly ones we saw. Many of the lizards in this region of the southwest are a bit different from the common ones we see in southern California, although there is certainly some overlap of species.
|Another S. graciosus. This one was the most beautifully-colored one we saw. It was also at the Ponderosa Grove Campground.|
|The "lizard of the trip" (I would say). Gambelia wizlizenii (the Long-nosed Leopard Lizard). We saw two of these spectacular creatures, both on walks at Canyonlands, near the Squaw Flat Campground. Gary spotted both of them.|
|Another sagebrush lizard, blending fairly well with the never-ending Utah red-rock landscape. Canyonlands NP.|
|A pair of side-blotched lizards on a rock on our walk back to camp at Canyonlands (on the first morning).|
|I'm guessing these are Plateau Side-blotched Lizards (Uta stansburiana uniformis). This was one of the pair shown above.|
|The other member of the pair shown above. Slightly different markings.|
|A slender-looking side-blotched - showing off the blotch! Only after looking at the photo later did I see all the missing digits on the right forefoot.|
|Our caterpillar-eater. Luckily the cat is mostly water...|
|This snake zoomed past when we were exploring the ephemeral pools with shrimp in them at Canyonlands. My best guess is Coluber taeniatus, the Striped Whipsnake.|
|Lesser Earless Lizard, Holbrookia maculata, probably H. maculata campi, the Plateau Earless Lizard. This hot little guy was not in Utah, actually. It was seen in a sagebrush area north of Flagstaff, Arizona about two weeks later (on my Arizona trip).|