it finds you

Today, the tiny woman who drives the bus inside my head is sitting behind my eyes with her sleeve pulled over her forearm, wiping the fog away from the window. I'll hear nothing about Monday's. A day of the week is just as inconsequential as the distance between friends of the soul. Besides, if days were seasons, Monday is spring. Fresh, dewy and just underripe. A harvest pear.

I've wanted to share this reptile experience with you for quite some time. Picture this: you're on a treasure hunt following a map. You can follow the paths to seek the grail as much as you wish. But the "X" that marks the spot, it finds you.

Behold my success. I'll compare this fruitful adventure to my greatest life achievements. Truly! These little friends were seriously difficult to find.

Mediterranean Chameleon (Chamaeleo chamaeleon) - Għadira Nature Reserve, Malta

Mediterranean Chameleon (Chamaeleo chamaeleon) - Għadira Nature Reserve, Malta

Mediterranean Chameleon (Chamaeleo chamaeleon) - Għadira Nature Reserve, Malta

Three. I found not one but three! Well, Johanna found the last one. It was walking across the path at a glacial speed.

They are the color of dirt and then they're not. The color of leaves and then gone altogether. They are prisms reflecting the hues of their perches. 

Mediterranean Chameleon (Chamaeleo chamaeleon) - Għadira Nature Reserve, Malta

Mediterranean Chameleon (Chamaeleo chamaeleon) - Għadira Nature Reserve, Malta

Mediterranean Chameleon (Chamaeleo chamaeleon) - Għadira Nature Reserve, Malta

Mediterranean Chameleon (Chamaeleo chamaeleon) - Għadira Nature Reserve, Malta

Chameleons don't change colour to camouflage themselves. Their varying colours are social signals to other chameleons.

When handled by humans or pursued by predators, chameleons turn nearly black. It's a signal of fear and discomfort. Best to leave them to their musings.

Sigh...plovers

I don't care who you are or how serious you are about ornithology and birding, plovers are cute, man. They skitter around on tiny little legs and turn their heads at odd angles. Nine times out of ten, I'm strictly business with the birds but I'll let you in on a little secret: inside I am screaming about how friggin' adorable they are.

Take the Little Ringed Plover for instance.

Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius) - Għadira Natural Reserve, Il-Mellieħa, Malta

Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius) - Għadira Natural Reserve, Il-Mellieħa, Malta

Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius) - Għadira Natural Reserve, Il-Mellieħa, Malta

Unreal Comino

What comes to mind when you think about the word "lagoon"? If you're thinking of a watery sanctum, you're on the right track. If you're picturing a mosquito-infested bog, I can give you something to help with that sad mental image.

Behold the lagoons of the island Comino.

Comino is the tiny island between the greater island of Malta and its little brother, the island of Gozo. All of these islands belong to Malta proper (which is its own country, if you need a geography bump). You can traverse the entire island of Comino on foot, in a day.

Apiary amongts olive trees - Comino, Malta

The sentinels of Malta

Perhaps you need a break from birds (What are you, nuts?). Consider these Maltese Wall Lizards, if you like.

Maltese Wall Lizard (Podarcis filfolensis) male - Malta

Maltese Wall Lizard (Podarcis filfolensis) female - Malta

The Maltese Wall Lizard (or Filfola Lizard) exists only on the three islands of Malta and in some parts of Italy. Males are bright green, as seen above, while females and juveniles are rusty or brown. These lizards mate in the spring and then lay one or two eggs which hatch in the summer. 

They are everywhere in Malta and skitter through the succulents along the path every few steps it seems. Sometimes, a male was spotted puffing up and raising his head. This is a behaviour reserved for either intruders or sexy ladies.

Maltese Wall Lizard (Podarcis filfolensis) male - Malta

Maltese Wall Lizard (Podarcis filfolensis) female - Malta

Maltese Wall Lizard (Podarcis filfolensis) male - Malta

Maltese Wall Lizard (Podarcis filfolensis) female - Malta

Maltese Wall Lizard (Podarcis filfolensis) male - Malta

Maltese Wall Lizard (Podarcis filfolensis) male sunning itself near a field of poppies - Malta

Not pictured in this post: the secret society of the very few. AKA Ocellated Skinks. I think we saw three of them but they're so quick! I couldn't grab a photo. They are beautiful lizards though. Stay tuned for a very special future lizard post involving, say, chameleons.