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”

Raptor Feast

This feast took place outside of the Okefenokee, but the hawk was so cooperative it just begged to be posted on the Okefenokee blog… Leaving my office in Walton County, Georgia, a Red-tailed Hawk was feasting upon an Eastern Gray Squirrel by the roadside. I pulled my truck closer and watched it tear apart itsContinue reading “Raptor Feast”

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”

Okefenokee Pileated Woodpecker Designs

“I feel like I’m beating my head against the wall.” Obviously, that’s an expression we use to describe a pointless pursuit that accomplishes nothing but pain. However, it is an action that a woodpecker does on purpose! I marveled as I watched a Pileated Woodpecker hammering away in the Okefenokee Swamp… chunks of bark andContinue reading “Okefenokee Pileated Woodpecker Designs”

Okefenokee Woodpecker Excavations

The flooded prairies and hammocks of the Okefenokee Swamp hold acre after acre of standing, dead wood. An abundance of snags (dead trees) means abundant woodpeckers. There are eight species of woodpecker found in the Okefenokee, and one formerly occurring species – the Ivory Billed Woodpecker – that is now extinct. ​ The excavations ofContinue reading “Okefenokee Woodpecker Excavations”

Terrifying Screams of Owls in the Deep Swamp

“​The evening was however, extremely pleasant, a brisk cool breeze sprang up, and the skies were perfectly serene, the stars twinkling with uncommon briliancy. I stretched myself along before my fire; having the river, my little harbour and the stern of my vessel in view, and now through fatigue and weariness I fell asleep, butContinue reading “Terrifying Screams of Owls in the Deep Swamp”

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…”

Okefenokee – Ornithologist’s Delight

“The ornithologist is thrown into an ecstasy of delight, for birds ranging from the majestic whooping crane to the lowly wren, inhabit this swamp, and too, there are many rare species almost extinct in other sections of the country to be found here. And to those who like to observe and study the wild inContinue reading “Okefenokee – Ornithologist’s Delight”

Like an Umbrella

– Excerpt from William Bartram’s Travels; Part II, Chapter III “From the buttress, the Cypress, as it were, takes another beginning, forming a grand strait column eighty or ninety feet high, when it divides every way around into an extensive flat horizontal top, like an umbrella, where eagles have their secure nests, and cranes and storksContinue reading “Like an Umbrella”

The Heron is at Home

In 1895, naturalist Bradford Torrey wrote of the Green Heron being at home in watery woods such as the Okefenokee Swamp: “The day was before me, and the place was lively with birds. Pine-wood sparrows, pine warblers, and red-winged blackbirds were in song; two red-shouldered hawks were screaming, a flicker was shouting, a red-bellied woodpeckerContinue reading “The Heron is at Home”