It is spring in the Okefenokee…

A beautiful description of spring in the Okefenokee Swamp from Cecil Hulse Matchat’s 1938 novel, Strange Green Land:

Immature white Little Blue Heron, Egretta caerulea, on floating peat bed of Spatterdock on Billy’s Lake; Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia. March 5, 2017. ©

“It is spring in the Okefenokee wilderness – the time of late-blooming Cherokee roses and yellow jessamine – and for that reason the chorus of wild life in the great swamp swells louder than usual. White egrets, nesting in the bays at the edge of the marsh, make the air ring with their chuckling calls and the beating of their wings. Giant cranes flap up from the wide water prairies and rain down volleys of loud, whooping trumpet notes upon a lone blue heron, standing on one leg in the shallows. The deep, coughing grunt of a black bear hunting breakfast sounds from the fastness of an islet. Presently a huge bull gator thunders forth a challenge to others of his kind; and alligator after alligator answers, until the swamp for miles about resounds with the hideous clamor of their bellowing.”

Cecile Matschat’s works published in 1930’s are full of colorful stories of the Swampers that lived in the Okefenokee, exciting folklore encounters with bear, boar and cannibal alligators, as well as scientific descriptions of the flora and fauna of the great swamp. They are a worthwhile purchase if you come across used copies of these collectible out-of-print treasures of Okefenokee literature.

iNaturalist observation:

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