When the Okefenokee Swamp Burns

Hot summers… extended periods of drought… plenty of exposed organic peat material… and a random but well-placed lightning strike; all these ingredients cook up to make large fires. South Georgia, and especially the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, face this imminent threat every year. Often, hundreds upon hundreds of square miles burn for several days atContinue reading “When the Okefenokee Swamp Burns”

Swamp Citizens – Drought Relief

As large, voracious predators at the top of the food chain, we might think that alligators do nothing but devour their fellow creatures that inhabit the swamp. And it is only the sense, swiftness or camouflage that keeps the alligator from causing the extinction of all in its path. But this stereotype is not necessarilyContinue reading “Swamp Citizens – Drought Relief”

Hot Okefenokee Afternoon Sun

An excerpt from my Okefenokee Journal from March, 2015: Wednesday, 3:30 PM – After our hike on Billy’s Island, we rowed back toward the Stephen C Foster State Park campground. Even though it was early spring, the sun was still high and bright. It became quite hot sitting in the open sun of the canoe.Continue reading “Hot Okefenokee Afternoon Sun”

One Large Specimen

Excerpt from the 1926 History of the Okefenokee Swamp by AS McQueen and Hamp Mizell: “To make certain that there was a large opening or prairie ahead, my father waited and listened for the bellow of the alligators, which comes always just after sunrise. Shortly after the first rays of the sun began to penetrate through theContinue reading “One Large Specimen”

Little Blue Heron Leap Frog

An Okefenokee photography journal entry from March 6, 2017: Monday, 9:25 AM – ​Frustrated by my pursuit of a quality Wood Duck photograph, we continued our travel along the edges of Billy’s Lake. We began a “leap frog” chase of a pretty Little Blue Heron. It was bold, but cautious. Standing on the Spatterdock, we’dContinue reading “Little Blue Heron Leap Frog”

Okefenokee Trolling Motor

In 2017 I added an electric trolling motor to our canoe, my daughter acting as captain of our vessel. Not only does the motor mean relaxed travels with little rowing, but it allows hands-free for photography. In addition, our patrols of the shores of Billy’s Lake to spot the large alligators basking are much quicker.Continue reading “Okefenokee Trolling Motor”

Swamp Sentinels

An excerpt from my March 11, 2015 Okefenokee nature journal: Our boat moved slowly up the canal until reaching a larger waterway: Billy’s Lake, which stretches about 1.5 miles to the left and right. On the corner of the canal at the entry to the lake sat two very large gators, as if gatekeepers toContinue reading “Swamp Sentinels”

Sophie’s Yawn

An Okefenokee evening entry from my March 5, 2017 journal: Sunday, 6:14 PM – Nine hours on the canoe trails of the Okefenokee Swamp! Nine continuous hours in the canoe without a break to stretch our legs or use the bathroom. Nine hours of pulling on the paddles in the mid-day sun. Tiring, but IContinue reading “Sophie’s Yawn”

Okefenokee Squirrels and Hawks

A passage from my March 5, 2017 Okefenokee journal: Sunday, 9:04 AM – ​Another bright, blue calm morning on Billy’s Lake as we slowly paddle westward for a day up the brown trail to The Sill. Passing on close to the edge of the lake, a funny acting Eastern Gray Squirrel has himself pressed tightly flatContinue reading “Okefenokee Squirrels and Hawks”

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…”