A Place of Memories

A passage from my Okefenokee journal on Mixon’s Hammock, March 5, 2017: After tensely navigating through over a mile of the Narrows, the scene expanded forth into a beautiful prairie. A juvenile alligator and a pair of Ibises welcomed us into the opened, bright sky. Yet again, I missed a photo of a colorful maleContinue reading “A Place of Memories”

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”

Trees So Lofty

Excerpt from William Bartram’s Travels, published in 1791: “On the West side it was bordered round with low marshes, and invested with a swamp of Cypress, the trees so lofty, as to preclude the sight of the high-land forests, beyond them; and these trees, having flat tops, and all of equal height, seemed to be aContinue reading “Trees So Lofty”

Cypress Knee Bend

Passing north beyond Minnie’s Lake along the Suwannee River Middle Fork trail, the kayak channel constricts through a more mature Cypress forest. Here the dense, towering trees cast their shadows and darken the swamp below. One gets a feel for what it was like throughout the entire Okefenokee before the saws and lumber mills ofContinue reading “Cypress Knee Bend”

“Gentlemen” Plume Hunters

“Plume hunting” for sport and fashion was common in the years before laws were enacted to protect our birds. The following is an excerpt from A Florida Sketch-Book by naturalist Bradford Torrey in 1895, mocking those who engaged in such activity: “Happily, the lawmakers of the State have done something of recent years for the protectionContinue reading ““Gentlemen” Plume Hunters”

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”

Song of the Okefenokee

An excerpt from Suwannee River, Strange Green Land by Cecile Hulse Matschat, 1938.  “In the evening, or after a warm rain, the frog orchestra turns out in full force. Each species has its own peculiar song and pitch; and much of the really primitive folk music of Okefenokee is borrowed from its frogs and toads. The swampersContinue reading “Song of the Okefenokee”

Okefenokee Wood Duck Pursuit

By day three of our 2017 trip, several of the birds I had hoped to see were checked off the list… except the Wood Duck. The Wood Ducks eluded my camera in 2015, but I would get one this time! …or would I? Monday, March 6, 2017. 10:33 AM. – Far in the distance IContinue reading “Okefenokee Wood Duck Pursuit”