Okefenokee Snake Hunting Competition

An excerpt from my Okefenokee Journal dated March 11, 2015: Wednesday, 11:50 AM Walking further down the swamp boardwalk, my eyes were constantly scanning left and right among the shallow waters and cypress knees. My daughter and I were constantly engaged in a silent competition to spot snakes. I don’t know how, but it seemsContinue reading “Okefenokee Snake Hunting Competition”

Bradford Torrey’s “Water Turkey Contortionist”

An excerpt from naturalist Bradford Torrey’s 1895 book, A Florida Sketch-Book: “At another time, on the same stake, sat some dark, strange-looking object. The opera-glass showed it at once to be a large bird sitting with its back toward me, and holding its wings uplifted in the familiar heraldic, e-pluribus-unum attitude of our American spread-eagle; but evenContinue reading “Bradford Torrey’s “Water Turkey Contortionist””

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”

The Narrows

Between the open skies of Billy’s Lake and the prairie landscape of Mixon’s Hammock lies a twisting, constricted canoe trail called “The Narrows”. The sky overhead is darkened by Black Gum, Cypress, Bay, Red Maple and Dahoon Holly. The eye-level view left and right is overcrowded by Titi, Hurrah Bush and other shrubs. Unless theContinue reading “The Narrows”

Okefenokee’s Prophecy of Preservation

Thankfully, Hamp Mizell’s words in this passage from the 1926 book, History of the Okefenokee Swamp, were prophetic when he wrote of the restoration of the Okefenokee. The entire swamp was stripped of the timber in the early 1900’s but in 1937 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt established the Okefenokee as “a refuge and breeding groundContinue reading “Okefenokee’s Prophecy of Preservation”

When a Little Blue is a lot of white – April Fools!

An early start on a somewhat overcast morning. Grackles and Vultures greet us at the entrance to Billy’s Lake. The Lake is without wave. Although most is still and the stage has not awakened in a dawn-chorus of voices and activity, a cooperative white heron stands upon the floating spatterdock, the gentle breeze muffling hisContinue reading “When a Little Blue is a lot of white – April Fools!”

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”

Long Leaf Pine “Bottle Brush”

Before the industrialist loggers of the early 20th century arrived, the Longleaf Pine dominated the upland areas surrounding the Okefenokee Swamp. Because of its ability to survive wildfires in its fire resistant “grass stage”, the Longleaf is well suited to the fire prone South Georgia landscape. The thick, grassy clump of needles protects the budContinue reading “Long Leaf Pine “Bottle Brush””

The Finest of Embroidery

An excerpt from naturalist Bradford Torrey’s 1895 book, A Florida Sketch-Book: “We were at that moment approaching a bird about which I felt a stronger curiosity,—a snake-bird, or water-turkey, sitting in a willow shrub at the further end of the bay. ‘Pull me as near it as it will let us come,’ I said. ‘I wantContinue reading “The Finest of Embroidery”