With our large van out of commission on the south side of Naples, FL after leaving the COS symposium, we were able to convince my eldest son, Josh, to come pick us up. This made for a rather harrowing early morning ride back to Orlando with two rather tired drivers (Josh and myself) taking tandem shifts to get us back. The van still in Naples, we had it towed to a nearby shop where they proceeded to repair it in our absence.
This, of course, meant that we had to go retrieve it once it had been fixed. So, Josh, Timothy (my 2nd oldest son) and I made the trip back down to Naples yesterday. Since we were already so close to the Fakahatchee Strand, Tim and I decided to press on to the swamp while Josh headed back to finish studying for finals coming up. I probably would get an award for evil dad of the day trying to convince Josh to postpone his studies and join us in the Fak...alas, he is too diligent of a student!
Now, I knew that this is late in the season to find blooming ghost orchids (Dendrophylax lindenii)...and a check of our usual haunts turned up bloomless plants. I had lost almost all hope when I followed my maps to one final plant seen on several trips before. This is the same plant showing a double bloom on my ghost orchid gallery page.
As I sighted up the trunk of the tree, my eyes were met with one of the last ghost orchid flowers of the season. I pointed this out to Tim, whose audible sigh let me know that he was experiencing that 'first ghost orchid in the wild' feeling. I had experienced this to some extent when seeing the ghost orchid at Corkscrew Swamp, but even moreso when I had seen my first flower only a few feet out of reach in the middle of the deep swamp.
It was a good thing I had my Canon 70-300 mm telephoto lens this day, as about 30 feet of stifling, mosquito-laden air separated me from my prize. We stayed there for roughly an hour, photographing the flower every time the light was good and the breeze was light. Here is a photo from this day...the day Tim whispered a sigh of awe at seeing his first wild ghost.
Nicotiana rotundifolia - Round-leaved Tobacco - Click image to enlarge *Nicotiana rotundifolia - Round-leaved Tobacco* This species is similar in casual appearance to most of the Australian tobacco plan...
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