An excerpt from my March 10, 2015 Okefenokee Nature Journal:
Tuesday, 4:16 PM – The most noticeable, or, I should say, most unavoidable sight on the Trembling Earth Nature Trail was the gnats — great clouds of gnats six feet in diameter, swarming at eye-level on the boardwalk. We pass through one cloud – swatting and waving our hands with eyes squinted and mouth shut tight – only to encounter another gnat cloud a few feet further down the boardwalk. Swatting did absolutely nothing; like trying to blow a path through thick fog with your mouth.
With my eyes squinted and facing down, I happen to notice a quick movement below the boardwalk and a stirring of the tannin-stained blackwater swamp. “A snake!” my daughter shouts. She is somehow always the first to spot the serpents on our wildness hikes. Sure enough, down in the sphagnum moss slithered a Southern Banded Watersnake, Nerodia fasciata. One cool reptile was now off our checklist. But where were the alligators?
iNaturalist observation: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/29933071