Many of us have had birds attracted to windows or car mirrors, where they mistake their reflections for intruders in their territories. Such attacks can be annoyingly persistent, often involving many visits per day, and for weeks or sometimes months at a time.
Reptiles have their territories too.
Today's photo, from Piggoreet, shows a jacky lizard (tree dragon) attracted to its own reflection in a window. Like the birds, this lizard is fighting its reflection frequently.
A note from the photographer says: "We had the lizard in the photo attacking our window a few days in a row. He seemed to be boxing the window with his front legs, and stayed up on the glass for a few minutes before running back and forth along the width of the window. This seemed to be similar to the behaviour of birds in the breeding season when the fairy wrens fight themselves in our mirrors and windows".
Lizards of many species usually circle each other for a while before actually attacking. Jacky lizards and other similar species often go through considerable body-movement displays before any physical contact is made.
Tail flicking, arm-waving, push-ups and body rocking are the main territorial displays used by male jacky lizards when they encounter another of their kind in the wild. Attacking might follow after these displays.
The well-camouflaged jacky lizard appears to be widespread but rather uncommon in the Ballarat region. It favours drier open forested sites with a light covering of leaves and twigs on the ground.
It rises on its hind legs to run when hard-pressed. An average total length from nose to tail-tip is 30 cm.
Jacky lizard seems to be the most often used name for this reptile in this part of its range. Tree dragon is a more formal name, while jacky dragon or jacky tree dragon is used less.
Many birds fight their own reflections in windows. They range from small birds such as blue wrens, pardalotes and thornbills to kookaburras, ravens and herons. The large birds can cause alarm and concern when they continue their banging against window glass. The jacky lizard's "boxing gloves" are not a worry in that regard.
Last year, a pair of tawny frogmouths with two youngsters were discovered in Ballarat's North Gardens Wetlands. This was the first-ever sighting in that area.
The birds have returned this year, again with two youngsters. We have no idea where they nested.
Last season, they remained for a few months, so it is likely that they will do so again this year.
NATURE QUERIES ANSWERED
We are not familiar with this plant, found in Woowookarung Regional Park. It reminds me of the blue love creeper from Enfield, but it is different of course. A.S., Canadian.
This is heath milkwort, an eye-catching upright understorey shrub growing to knee-high or slightly taller. Its flowers are at the tips of its branches.
It is not particularly common in the Ballarat district, although it is widespread in small numbers in forests with shallow soils. It seems to like drier places, but is also common in damp heathy country of southern Victoria.
Although its bright pink, magenta or purple flowers look like they could belong to the pea family, this is not the case.
Its botanical name is Comesperma ericinum. A less formal name is match-heads, from the appearance of the coloured buds.