Friday, July 21, 2017

A Walk Through The Jungle Part 2

It's All About The Orchids

They were amazing and intricate and full of ants.  Here you go:

Pink lip with white ruffled edge
Palest of pale yellow lip with no ruffled edge.

Brighter yellow tongue.

Dark fuchsia with white edges.  Young seed pod with remains of dried flower on the end.

Reaching for the sun.  These are epiphytic orchids, but this one got so heavy it broke the tree branch it was growing on and it rests, branch and all, on the ground.  Makes it easy take photos.

A closer look at the flowers from the same plant. Pale pink lips with a white edge on these flowers.

Dark fuchsia covers the entire lip - no white edge.

Same flower from the side.  Perhaps the loveliest of all.
Next time we will complete the walk with a look at some trees.  It was way too much for a single post.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

A Walk Through The Jungle With Nolbert And Barnie

My young friend, Nolbert, is visiting his step grandfather's friend (and also my friend) Craig, just up the beach from us.  You may remember Nolbert from a post I wrote last year - "The First Adventure of Green Shanks and Yellow Legs" describing a little sea trip Nolbert and I made in our green and yellow kayaks.  We had the kayaks out again Friday morning and then in the afternoon we went for walk through jungle.  Nolbert kindly had Barnie on a leash so I could be free to take photos without Barnie's "help".  Below are a few of the photos from the first part of our walk.

First up is a very delicate orchid Brassavola nodosa, known as Dama de Noche.  I only was able to take 2 quick photos because ants had gotten into my socks and demanded immediate attention.  Some moderate cursing may have been involved.  Good thing Nolbert had Barnie out of earshot!  Back to the Lady of the Night.  Although she is delicate and ephemeral in appearance, the flowers stay beautiful for about 3 weeks.  They seem to glow in the dimness of the mangrove swamp.
Brassavola nodosa, AKA as Dama de Noche
Once the ants were dispatched, I continued on, catching up with Nolbert and Barnie.  This part of the path is on a man-made raised walk that goes westward toward Black Creek.  On either side of the raised path is mangrove swamp that is home to lots of wildlife.
Nolbert leading Barnie down the path to Black Creek.
See those roots growing across the path above?  They are a real tripping hazard when running in the damn dim dawn light.  My shoulder still aches from that spill.  A little farther along is a vanilla orchid that I first spotted 3 years ago.  Back in March, I was showing it to a friend visiting from the US and we saw a vanilla bean pod on the vine!  I have been keeping an eye on the pod and will harvest it soon.  Another, more robust, vine is about 20 feet away.  I am keeping an eye on that one in hopes to spot it in bloom and and see more beans in the wild.  I'll need to see it in flower before I can determine which species it is.
Protruding vanilla bean in all its rude glory. 
The most dramatic orchid we see around here in Englishtown is Myrmecophila tibinicus.  This orchid hosts ant colonies in its pseudobulbs and the ants swarm all over the flowers, as you can see in the image below.  There is some variation in the color of the bottom lip of the flowers.  This particular stalk has lips of the palest pink.  Others, which I will show in future posts, are fuchsia, pale yellow, or white.
Myrmecophila tibinicus, with its attendant ants.
Nolbert, Barnie, and I backtracked to return to the coastal path that goes from our place in South Englishtown, through Central Englishtown, and finally ends in North Englishtown at Craig's place; a whopping 0.6mi as the pelican flies.
The sea is just to our right on the coastal path.
Spider lilies love growing near the sea; you often find them just above the high tide line.
Spider lilies.
They have the most amazing smell - very lily-like, but not as cloying and oppressive as many other lilies.

 Each flower last only a day, but the flowers on a given cluster open over the span of about a week.
More from our walk in the next post.

Apologies to my readers for my long absence.  I was completely devastated by Trump's election.  Enough said about that.  But I want to offer a thank you to my friends and blog readers who have encouraged me to write again - I appreciate it very much.