Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Cayman Lizards

My father always said "man should not live where Bougainvillea will not grow", meaning you should live in tropical climates, i.e. not Saskatchewan! Presumably this sentiment came from my parents' 10 years in East Africa. I do like Bougainvillea and the climates where it grows, but my own version would be "people should not live where lizards cannot". (There are virtually no lizards in Saskatchewan, certainly not common like in tropical climates.)

This guy was a baby, only about an inch long. We saw it and the one following along the Mastic Trail. We first tried the West end of the trail but after slogging through ankle deep water for 1/2 a kilometer or so, we gave up. The East end of the trail turned out to be much drier and quite an interesting walk, although very hot. We even saw a couple of wild parrots.

This one was on the wall beside our hotel room. I think it's a Green Anole.

And this one is a captive endangered Blue Iguana at the Botanical Gardens.

Common Iguanas are much more, well, common, like this one leaving a parking lot.

As usual, click on the pictures to see a larger version.

NCC Saskatchewan Blog

I just ran across this local blog in an NCC email:

NCC Saskatchewan Blog

it probably won't be of much interest unless you're from Saskatchewan :-)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


I just finished watching Monumental: David Brower's Fight For Wild America - quite a story. Our (human's) drive to destroy the world is so saddening. Why do we need to fight to stop people from destroying it? If anything it should be the other way around. But we do, and David Brower is a fine example.

In addition to the story, there's lots of interesting old film footage, including climbing.

For some reason it made me want to go back and read some Edward Abbey.

Highly recommended.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Tadpoles to Frogs

After a long period of not many changes (apart from growing in size), the tadpoles are again developing rapidly, first growing back legs, then front legs (arms?), their mouths changing completely, and finally emerging from the water. Their tails gradually shrink during this time and they develop the green color and pattern that is recognizably a Northern Leopard Frog (I wasn't sure what kind of eggs I had found, but I suspected this type of frog since it's the most common around here.)

Since they should now be eating insects which I can't easily supply, I've been releasing them as they get to this stage. The tadpoles I previously released have also metamorphosed into frogs, although it's hard to get much of a look at them since they leap into the water and hide when you approach.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Grand Cayman Butterflies

Here are a few of the butterfly photos I took in Grand Cayman, mostly at the Butterfly Farm. (Click on them to enlarge.) They're not as skittish as some animals, but they do have a bad habit of sitting still until just when you're ready to shoot and then flitting off. Or they come to rest in a spot impossible to photograph. At least in the Butterfly Farm there's a higher concentration so you get more opportunities.

As with most of my nature photos, these were taken with the Canon S3 IS at full (12x) zoom (except for the one with Shelley in the background). The zoom allows you to keep a little distance and not spook them but still get closeups. One problem is that you don't have a lot of depth of focus and since the focusing is automatic it's tricky getting the camera to focus on what you want. A lot of the shots were a write-off because they were out of focus. That's where a DSLR might be better but it would be hard to match the zoom range and the image stabilization, let alone the price.

Here's me busy at the Butterfly Farm (photo by Shelley).

Monday, July 02, 2007

Tadpoles Grow Legs

I haven't posted any pictures of the tadpoles for a while. Apart from getting bigger and developing more color and shape, they've been fairly static. But they've finally started to grow legs. They went from egg to tadpole so fast that I thought their whole development would be faster but they've stayed in the tadpole stage longer than I expected. (I released several batches of them as they grew and the aquarium got too crowded.)

These aren't great pictures - between lighting, reflections, focus, and moving targets it's tricky. But they suffice to show what's happening.

You can click on the pictures to get a larger view. As you can see, there's quite a lot of variation in size and stage of development, even though they're all from the same batch of eggs.

It's interesting to compare these pictures to the first batch.

Now I'm waiting for the arms to show up :-)

PS. The next day I see one of the tadpoles has arms! Either they emerged overnight, or else that tadpole had been hiding. I'll try for some pictures once a few more of them develop arms. I'm not sure when they transition to breathing air, but I added a ramp so they can get out of the water when they need to.

PPS. What does this have to do with "adventure"? To me, nature is a big and integral part of adventure. And an appreciation and knowledge of nature enhances our adventures.