Monday, April 11, 2011

Always bring your camera along...

Green-crested lizard (Bronchocela cristatella)

Despite the great distance I have to travel to my workplace every day, one thing I appreciate is that there is a fair bit of wildlife that can be found; if you have been following my tweets, you would notice that I frequently mention random sightings of various wildlife in the area around my workplace; it most definitely helps that we are next to a military training ground with restricted access to civilians, and that there's a large amount of secondary forest and scrub in the immediate vicinity. True, most of my sightings are of creatures commonly seen in parks and gardens, but I still enjoy these encounters.

In recent months, I've tried to cultivate the habit of bringing my camera with me everywhere I go; one never knows when a perfect photographic opportunity might present itself. True, there's always the camera function in my iPhone, but unfortunately, the image quality can never match that of my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT2.

Unfortunately, I rarely get the chance to capture images of the wildlife I manage to see around the workplace. In many instances, I am either busily occupied with work, or rushing to reach the office on time, and don't have the time to stop and fire off a few shots. Even with time on my side, a point and shoot camera like mine simply isn't suitable for photographing birds from a distance. Even though the plantain squirrels (Callosciurus notatus) are quite tame and spend a lot of time foraging along the road, I just haven't had many opportunities to take out my camera and get close enough before the rodent scurries off.

Today, while packing for work, I was wondering if I should bring my camera along, but for some reason, decided to leave it at home.

Of course, as luck would have it, I was to regret that decision.

I was right outside my workplace, when I noticed something on the small road.

Green-crested lizard (Bronchocela cristatella)

It was a green crested lizard (Bronchocela cristatella), and my best sighting so far; I've seen these lizards from time to time, but they were almost always too far away to be properly photographed.

Of course, I immediately regretted not bringing my camera along, and had to make do with my iPhone.

Green-crested lizard (Bronchocela cristatella)

The lizard was a very cooperative subject, which only made me feel even lousier for not having a proper camera in my hands. For once, I had such a perfect opportunity to get high-quality shots of this species!

Up until the 1980s, this species was very commonly found in various habitats all over Singapore, from forests to parks, gardens and agricultural land. However, with the arrival of the nonnative changeable lizard (Calotes versicolor) from the north, the native green crested lizard appears to have been displaced from most habitats due to competition from its relative. Today, the changeable lizard is the far more common of the two species in open areas, such as in parks, gardens, and scrub, and the green-crested lizard's last stronghold appears to be in the forests, which the changeable lizard avoids.

It's the closest I've ever gotten to a green crested lizard, and the only one that stayed in one spot long enough for me to take a few proper shots.

Green-crested lizard (Bronchocela cristatella)
It almost looks as if it's smiling for the camera here.

Green-crested lizard (Bronchocela cristatella)
Like their relatives the chameleons, many species of agamid lizard are able to change their colour to some degree to suit their mood or their surroundings. However, this green crested lizard wasn't doing a very good job of blending in with the tarmac.

Because it was on a road, I decided to chase it back into the vegetation for its own safety. It promptly skittered to the side of the road, leapt across a drain, and clambered into the bushes.

It was a nice little encounter with a reptile that we don't see very often these days. And I'm now making sure that I bring my camera to work every day.