A Cautious Eye in the Okefenokee

A great start to our 2020 Okefenokee paddling trek!

Alligator eye hiding in the Okefenokee Swamp
American Alligator close up eye peering cautiously from behind Spatterdock lily pad in the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia. March 9, 2020 canoe trek. ©www.williamwisephoto.com — Please don’t steal my images; download and use legally at Dreamstime.com.

As we pushed off from the Stephen C Foster State Park boat launch and into the blackwaters of the Okefenokee Swamp, I kept an eye on things. Although the giant reptiles weren’t immediately visible, there certainly could be alligators to the left and the right of our small canoe. But my cautious eye wasn’t for fear that we would be attacked or eaten, but that I might miss a great photo opportunity!

Not many strokes into our paddling trip, as I scanned the Spatterdock lily pads, I espied a cautious eye staring back at us and keeping a close look upon our actions! A large alligator lay mostly submerged just a few feet off to my left. Her eye remained fixed upon us as we drifted by, ready to submerge if we encroached into her comfort zone.

Billy’s Lake, just up from the Stephen C Foster campground, is always full of large alligators. At times they are laying on logs and floating peat beds every few feet. Other times, depending upon the weather, they lie mostly submerged. But keep a keen eye and you’ll begin spotting them all through this beautiful blackwater lake within the majestic Okefenokee Swamp!

iNaturalist observation: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/39962898

Published by William Wise

Hi, I’m conservation photographer and nature writer William Wise. Nature journaling and wildlife photography has been a favorite pastime since the ‘90s. I graduated from University of Georgia Warnell Forestry School's wildlife program in 1996. I'm currently an animal shelter manager/photographer and reside in Athens, Georgia, USA with my wife and two teenage daughters. My website www.williamwisephoto.com is a wildlife and birding photo website documenting the beauty, design and wonder of creation. I have a deep love of the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia. I became a devoted Christian in 1993 under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation. I am also a guest author at Lee's Birdwatching Adventures and The Creation Club. The theme of my blogging comes from The Message version of Psalms 104 -- "What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, You made earth overflow with your wonderful creations."

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