Okefenokee Watersnake Fight

I was paddling up the beautiful Suwannee, a blackwater river that is born within, and meanders throughout, the Okefenokee Swamp. Being overcast and cool, it was slow day for reptiles… as slow as the current that carried my canoe along. But on a sudden, I had that feeling. Birders know that feeling… a sense thatContinue reading “Okefenokee Watersnake Fight”

The Long Moss

An excerpt from William Bartram’s Travels, Part II, Chapter III: “The long moss, so called, is a singular and surprising vegetable production: it grows from the limbs and twigs of all trees in these southern regions, from N. lat. 35 down as far as 28, and I believe every where within the tropics. Wherever it fixes itself,Continue reading “The Long Moss”

New Hope from a Young Cypress

There is hope in seeing a young Okefenokee Cypress taking root and reaching toward the sky. The naturalists of old write of towering cypress – some as high as 120 feet – standing guard for centuries in the Okefenokee. But all that changed in the early 20th century. All were laid low. The height, girth,Continue reading “New Hope from a Young Cypress”

Okefenokee Primeval Prairies

An excerpt from Francis Harper’s 1913 paper “A Biological Reconnaissance of the Okefinokee Swamp”, published in The Auk, the official publication of the American Ornithological Society: “In the eastern United States few, if any, areas of equal extent afford such exceptional opportunities for the study of animal life in a primeval state as does Okefinokee Swamp.  The ‘prairies’Continue reading “Okefenokee Primeval Prairies”

Okefenokee Beauty and Charm

From the broad, sweeping bird’s-eye-view, down to the smallest detail of living organism, the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is full of beauty and charm. Perhaps alligators and snakes are the first thing conjured in the mind upon hearing the word “swamp”, but peace, solitude and fascination come to my thoughts. My first visits to theContinue reading “Okefenokee Beauty and Charm”

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!”

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”

Outside the Okefenokee: Greenfield Lake Park

When I visit the Okefenokee Swamp, I expect to see alligators. So when I find alligators in a small, local park, it is a special treat… I recently went on a short trip to attend a pioneer pastor’s conference in North Carolina. Even though we spent most of our weekend driving, my wife and IContinue reading “Outside the Okefenokee: Greenfield Lake Park”

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…”

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”