Low Waters on the Okefenokee Suwannee River Sill

My Okefenokee Swamp journal, October 25, 2022…

White-tailed Deer crosses the Okefenokee Swamp
White-tailed Deer crosses the low waters of the Suwannee River Sill; Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia. October 25, 2022.

A few weeks before my October 2022 trip, I was told by a fellow iNaturalist user that the water levels were low in the Okefenokee, but I wasn’t prepared for what I found! When I arrived on in the Refuge on October 25, 2022, my first outing was to be on The Sill Recreation Area on the western side of the swamp just before the Stephen C Foster State Park campground. As soon as I turned the corner and the channel came in sight, I could see the waters were very low. The canal is typically deep and wide, but not now.

Normally it’s a short walk with my canoe from the parking lot to the water’s edge. There are even times where the lower parking lot is totally submerged. But today I had to drag my canoe about eighty feet just to reach the water’s edge! I had a feeling that paddling was going to be difficult and my trolling motor was out of the question in the low waters.

The low water exposed some of the cypress stumps and debris usually concealed by the dark, tannin-stained blackwaters. I a few places, the pylons of the railroad tracks that once crossed areas of the swamp during the logging days of the early 1900’s were visible.

The low waters in the Okefenokee Swamp reveal the old pylons of the logging railroads that ran through the swamp in the early 1900’s. October 25, 2022.

​My biggest hope upon seeing the low water was that the alligators and birds weren’t spread out through the swamp like they are in times of high water, but would be more concentrated along the lakes and canals for some prime photography. This was certainly the case. I shot twenty gators, a Great Blue Heron and Wood Stork along the Sill before even getting out of my vehicle!

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