Where are the Birds?

An excerpt from my March 11, 2015 Okefenokee nature journal: Wednesday, 9:20 AM – At the onset of the pontoon boat tour, our guide had asked us if there was anything in particular we wished to see. Of course, one lady ejected, “A BIG GATOR!” I more quietly let it be known that we wantedContinue reading “Where are the Birds?”

A Change of Plans – Okefenokee Journal, March 2015

Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 8:30 AM – Faith in the forecasters completely changed our plans. Because of a predicted 80% chance of precipitation, instead of heading north to the mountains, we decided at the last minute to head south to the dryer and warmer swamp. I had done a good bit of planning and packingContinue reading “A Change of Plans – Okefenokee Journal, March 2015”

His Rival Champion

A passage from William Bartram’s Travels, published in 1791. “​THE verges and islets of the lagoon were elegantly embellished with flowering plants and shrubs; the laughing coots with wings half spread were tripping over the little coves and hiding themselves in the tufts of grass; young broods of the painted summer teal, skimming the still surfaceContinue reading “His Rival Champion”

Okefenokee Farewell

Today my daughter Amanda turns eighteen. Each trip with her to the Okefenokee has been a special time that I will always cherish. The following is an excerpt from my journal on the last day of our 2017 excursion… As if signaling our departure from the swamp, a group of Ibises flew overhead, heading offContinue reading “Okefenokee Farewell”

Birthplace of the Suwannee

AN EXCERPT FROM SUWANNEE RIVER, STRANGE GREEN LAND BY CECILE HULSE MATSCHAT, 1938. ​“The birthplace of the Suwannee is in Georgia, deep in the somber heart of the Okefenokee Swamp. Grotesque, bottle-shaped cypress trees, sixty to ninety feet in height, with wide-spreading tops, reach upward from the wine-colored water and form a canopy so dense that onlyContinue reading “Birthplace of the Suwannee”

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”

Beautiful Leaf-Green Lizard

An excerpt from A Florida Sketch-Book, by naturalist Bradford Torrey, written in 1895: “The morning is cloudless and warm, till suddenly, as if a door had been opened eastward, the sea breeze strikes me. Henceforth the temperature is perfect as I sit in the shadow. I think neither of heat nor of cold. I catch aContinue reading “Beautiful Leaf-Green Lizard”

Navigating The Narrows

A passage from my Okefenokee nature journal dated March 5, 2017: Sunday, 9:37 AM – By advantage of the trolling motor, we quickly traveled to the western end of Billy’s Lake. As the lake tapered, the trees and shrubs on the shore greatly increased. We soon passed a sign pointing toward “The Narrows/The Sill.” EvenContinue reading “Navigating The Narrows”