My first thought of a name for this brilliant bloom was “fireworks,” but I wasn’t far off. This splash of color drew me close at the Naples Botanical Garden. It’s a Starburst bush / Clerodendrum quadriloculare. I was not finding it under searches for “fireworks flower” or “tropical plants,” but my friend Erika, a gifted gardener, led me to its proper name. The Starburst bush is native to New Guinea and the Philippines. No wonder it thrives in the tropical climate of Naples, Florida in the “Garden with Latitude.”
In doing my botanical research, I was tempted to order some seeds and plants, but I don’t currently have access to a garden or gardening tools. I’m hoping my desire to dig and plant will still burn when I return to my home in Pennsylvania.
This Great White Egret strode purposefully across my path at the Naples Botanical Garden. I squatted down low and focused my camera on his back-lit body, hoping to capture some action. As both the egret and I followed our instincts, we were both rewarded. Catching a wriggling lizard in its beak, the great egret found dinner, and I got my image of the day.
When I biked the trail in Shark Valley, Everglades National Park yesterday, I saw more large alligators than I could begin to count. Which one, I wondered, ate the huge Burmese Python (a problematic invasive species) recently?
When I spotted this enormous alligator, I had a suspect. His belly looks very full, and it looks like he may be resting while the large meal digests. He looks mighty enough to have taken on the python and won the battle, don’t you think?
While the female Osprey perched next to the massive nest, high in the pine, the male Osprey flew in over my head with more sticks to make that nest just right. For several minutes, he installed the new sticks and “smoothed the sheets,” as the female Osprey cried out every few seconds.
I kept my 600mm lens focused on the osprey pair as the male lifted off from the nest. Our birding guide Brian Beckner asked, “Cathy, are your ready? Do you know what comes next?”
Landing next to her on the branch, Female Osprey is all eyes.
Walking through the Naples Botanical Garden, I realized that the plants are quite familiar to me, as I have walked the trails with my camera many times. This time, I was on the lookout for something new. At the edge of the water lily pond, I looked for some nice reflections and saw this tall palm tree looking quite a bit like an Impressionist painting.
Just two hours before sunset, the sun was low in the sky and the ripples in the water created the perfect filter. Today, Claude Monet was my inspiration.
This tall and tranquil bird stood still for quite some time at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary as I set up my tripod to make this photograph. He/she is a classy bird, seeming confident, or should I say, comfortable in his feathers.