Okefenokee Golden Club Fruit

On our May 2020 Okefenokee canoe trek, the Golden Clubs were no longer sporting many of those beautiful yellow and white spikes that were abundant in early spring. But upon paddling close to a plume of leaves, I saw something a bit different floating in the tannin waters… fruit! Either I had overlooked the fruitContinue reading “Okefenokee Golden Club Fruit”

Paddle to Billy’s Island

An excerpt from my Okefenokee Journal on March 11, 2015: Wednesday, 12:17 PM – Grabbing our life vests (but neglecting seat cushions, as we would later regret), we loaded our canoe and headed up the channel toward Billy’s Lake. As we floated by, a beautifully camouflaged American Bittern, Botaurus lentiginosus, popped his head up fromContinue reading “Paddle to Billy’s Island”

Okefenokee Oak Mistletoe

A large clump of thick green leaves sits high in otherwise bare tree. The thick glossy leaves growing are completely unlike the normal foliage furled out by that tree in the spring. This makes Mistletoe easy to spot, especially in the winter. Its parasitic nature – stealing water and nutrients from its host – isContinue reading “Okefenokee Oak Mistletoe”

Okefenokee Journal: Banded Watersnake

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 – swattingContinue reading “Okefenokee Journal: Banded Watersnake”

Anhingas on a Chilly Okefenokee Morning

Okefenokee Journal: Monday, March 6, 2017. 9:20 AM. Billy’s Lake is perfectly calm, still and quiet. The clear, dark, tannin-stained waters reflect the swamp landscape like a mirror of obsidian. Only an overcast sky and somewhat chilly breeze. It is amazing how chilly it can be on an Okefenokee early spring morning. ​We have theContinue reading “Anhingas on a Chilly Okefenokee Morning”

Gator, Boys!

This riveting story was published in 1875 in The Savannah Morning News from the journal of the Okefenokee exploration party: “As alligators are rather tardy in their movements, it is an accomplished trick with them to lay quietly for the passing little fish, or sometimes for a full-grown cow. When we thought of our carcassContinue reading “Gator, Boys!”

Home Away From Home

In 1851, the American songwriter Stephen C. Foster sang of the Okefenokee’s Suwannee River as “home” in the song, Old Folks at Home. And over 150 years later, my daughter and I are calling the Stephen C. Foster State Park our home-away-from-home! After a full day in the hot sun, and after toiling across Billy’s LakeContinue reading “Home Away From Home”

One Live Alligator is Worth a Dozen Dead

An excerpt from naturalist Bradford Torrey’s 1894 book, A Florida Sketch-Book: “But as we were skirting along the shore I suddenly called ‘Hist! An alligator lay on the bank just before us. The boy turned his head, and instantly was all excitement. It was a big fellow, he said,—one of three big ones that inhabited theContinue reading “One Live Alligator is Worth a Dozen Dead”

Okefenokee Prairie Ecosystem

Excerpt from the 1926 History of the Okefenokee Swamp by AS McQueen and Hamp Mizell: “It is rather hard to determine how these so-called “prairies” of the Okefenokee came by this name. These prairies are better described as marshes, for they are covered by numerous water plants, such as the water lily, maiden cane, saw-grass, etc. OneContinue reading “Okefenokee Prairie Ecosystem”

He has come here to die…

​A spooky excerpt from A Florida Sketch-Book, by naturalist Bradford Torrey, written in 1895: ​There—going one day farther than usual—I found myself in the borderland of a cypress swamp. On one side was the lake, but between me and it were cypress-trees; and on the other side was the swamp itself, a dense wood growing inContinue reading “He has come here to die…”