Green and Blue in the Desert

A common side-blotched lizards perches on a rock in front of the green of an out-of-focus saguaro

I was sitting below this little common side-blotched lizard, shooting up at it against a blue sky (below), when I realized if I moved the camera slightly I could shift the background to green courtesy of a massive saguaro standing behind it. There is green in the desert, not the ubiquitous saturated greens of the forests of the Northwest but a soft, muted green, always in the saguaros and palo verdes but on many more plants now that the summer monsoons have arrived.

Blue is easy to find in the skies of the desert but some lizards, especially the males, may have blue throats or sides or blue speckled throughout their scales. Blue too is the skin around the eyes of adult white-winged and mourning doves. All of these blues can be seen where I photographed this lizard at The Amphitheater in McDowell Sonoran Preserve, a rock formation on the Cholla Mountain Loop Trail that is one of my favorite places to hike.

A common side-blotched lizards perches on a rock in front of blue skies

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