On a summer walk in the Pocahontas woods, you might be mildly startled by a rustling in the leaf litter. If you don't see a squirrel, it may be an Eastern Fence Lizard that has decided to take cover on your approach. They are not especially shy, so you might still catch sight of it hesitating on a rock or tree trunk. They seem as curious of us as we are of them, and will watch us from a safe distance if they don't feel threatened.
This lizard and several skinks are the only lizard species in the park. It is common throughout Virginia, one of the links in the ecosystem energy flow. Sixty years ago the Eastern Fence Lizard was grouped with several other species in a sub-family aptly called Swifts (just try to catch one). But taxonomy is constantly changing and that grouping has fallen by the wayside. It now belongs to the family Phrynosomatidae; try to say that without tripping!
Thoughts on the park, its residents and how to preserve its natural beauty.