Meeting Sophie the Stephen C Foster Resident Alligator

“Sophie” is the resident alligator of Stephen C Foster State Park. She has been out there patrolling the waters on every one of our Okefenokee visits, and populates the boat launch with baby gators. My nature journal from March 10, 2015 describes our first meeting with Sophie: Tuesday, 6:29 PM – We failed to seeContinue reading “Meeting Sophie the Stephen C Foster Resident Alligator”

Some Sovereign Alligator – William Bartram

An excerpt from William Bartram’s ​Travels Through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida. “​I HAD now swamps and marshes on both sides of me, and evening coming on apace, I began to look out for high land to encamp on, but the extensive marshes seemed to have no bounds; and it was almost darkContinue reading “Some Sovereign Alligator – William Bartram”

Alligator Fishing Tackle Injuries

For many years now, our first gesture upon arriving in the Okefenokee Swamp is to say ‘hello’ to “Sophie”, the resident alligator that inhabits the boat bay at the Stephen C Foster campground. But in 2021, our joy at seeing her quickly turned to sadness, and a bit of outrage. Sophie had suffered a horribleContinue reading “Alligator Fishing Tackle Injuries”

Alligator Right-of-Way

Excerpt from my March 12, 2015 Okefenokee nature journal. As one leaves the more open waters of Billy’s or Minnie’s Lakes in the Okefenokee and enters the cypress forests and hammocks, the channels become considerably narrower. While there aren’t as many alligators in these tighter areas, occasionally a large specimen might be patrolling the water.Continue reading “Alligator Right-of-Way”

That’s the last time I saw that hog alive…

An excerpt from E.A. McIlhenny’s 1935 book, ​The Alligator’s Life History:  “On one occasion I saw a Duroc boar hog that weighed not less than five hundred pounds caught by a large alligator while the hog was swimming across a stream about eighty feet wide. The hog had a regular crossing place at this point, andContinue reading “That’s the last time I saw that hog alive…”

Assiduous and Courageous Mother

Excerpt from William Bartram’s Travels, written in ​1773-1777; Part II, Chapter V “The female, as I imagine, carefully watches her own nest of eggs until they are all hatched, or perhaps while she is attending her own brood, she takes under her care and protection, as many as the can get at one time, either fromContinue reading “Assiduous and Courageous Mother”

Alligator’s Diverse Diet

As an iNaturalist project admin, I completed a review of over 19,000 American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) observations uploaded to iNaturalist between 2009 and December 31, 2020. Photographs which depicted an American Alligator eating a prey item were added to the iNat Alligator Appetites Project. The result revealed a gruesome smorgasbord of dainties enjoyed by thisContinue reading “Alligator’s Diverse Diet”

Okefenokee Baby Alligator Pod

Thursday, 10:21 AM – After a slow paddle a few miles up the Suwannee Middle Fork canoe trail from Billy’s Lake, the overhanging cypress and moss curtains pulled off a bit and the channel opened to blue sky. The waterway became filled with vibrant green lily pads and the floating spatterdock “gater taters” tricked ourContinue reading “Okefenokee Baby Alligator Pod”

Okefenokee Alligator Trails

Excerpt from the 1926 History of the Okefenokee Swamp by AS McQueen and Hamp Mizell: “It was in the early winter of 1874 that my father found Chase Prairie. On this trip, and on all others thereafter he always carried a small pole about 8 feet long with an old bayonet on the end which was usedContinue reading “Okefenokee Alligator Trails”

An Old Champion

An excerpt from William Bartram’s Travels, published in 1791: “AN old champion, who is perhaps absolute sovereign of a little lake or lagoon (when fifty less than himself are obliged to content themselves with swelling and roaring in little coves round about) darts forth from the reedy coverts all at once, on the surface of the waters,Continue reading “An Old Champion”