Okefenokee Anticipation

Whenever an Okefenokee excursion comes to an end, I am immediately antsy about another trip. Typically I have to wait another year, but sometimes two! During the wait, the anticipation builds. I frequently gaze at the large fold-out National Geographic topographic map I purchased at the Stephen C Foster State Park trading post in 2015Continue reading “Okefenokee Anticipation”

Great Egret, The Handsomest Heron

​In 1894, naturalist and ornithologist Bradford Torrey wrote of the Great Egret in his book, A Florida Sketch-Book. “Incomparably the handsomest member of the heron family (I speak of such as I saw) was the great white egret. In truth, the epithet ‘handsome’ seems almost a vulgarism as applied to a creature so superb, so utterlyContinue reading “Great Egret, The Handsomest Heron”

Graceful Genius

​An excerpt from A Florida Sketch-Book, by naturalist Bradford Torrey, written in 1895: “​I look up from my paper to see a turkey buzzard sailing majestically northward. I watch him till he fades in the distance. Not once does he flap his wings, but sails and sails, going with the wind, yet turning again and againContinue reading “Graceful Genius”

Okefenokee El Legarto

Internet rumor has it that the alligator received its name from the Spanish explorers that claimed Florida in the 1500’s. If true, I’m sure that el legarto didn’t simply mean a lizard, but THE Lizard! For the impressive alligator is no mere squamate, but on the order of a greater magnitude:  Crocodilia! The order Crocodilia are large, predatory reptiles. They are primarily carnivorousContinue reading “Okefenokee El Legarto”

Six Foot Ratsnake

Although ratsnakes (Pantherophis sp.) can be found in the Okefenokee, this is a bonus post of a snake I recently wrangled further north in the Georgia Piedmont area of Oglethorpe County: A frantic friend called me with a “giant rattlesnake” in his yard. Knowing it probably wasn’t a rattlesnake, I kept making excuses to avoidContinue reading “Six Foot Ratsnake”

Sophie’s Suitor

Any visitor to the Stephen C Foster Georgia State Park campground in the heart of the Okefenokee Swamp has met “Sophie”. She is the resident gator that lives, patrols and fills the boat launch area with babies every year. Sophie can often be seen laying in the grass near the canoes, or occasionally up onContinue reading “Sophie’s Suitor”

Okefenokee Hooded Pitcher Plants

Multiple trips to the Okefenokee and I hadn’t seen a Pitcher Plant since 1997. So on this May 2020 trip I was going to find and photograph that signature swamp Sarracenia! From what I had read, some of the largest Hooded Pitchers – up to three or four feet – grow in the Okefenokee Swamp.Continue reading “Okefenokee Hooded Pitcher Plants”

The Chance of Meeting an Alligator

Excerpt from the 1912 Okefenokee journal of Dr. W.D. Funkhouser: “We five started in alone, carrying 50 pound packs, with a compass as our guide. The water was from waist to shoulder deep, full of giant cypress trees, and so closely overgrown with underbrush and entangling vines that we literally had to cut our wayContinue reading “The Chance of Meeting an Alligator”

Okefenokee Floating Islands

“These floating islands present a very entertaining prospect; for although we behold an assemblage of the primary productions of nature only, yet the imagination seems to remain in suspence and doubt; as in order to enliven the delusion and form a most picturesque appearance, we see not only flowery plants, clumps of shrubs, old weather-beatenContinue reading “Okefenokee Floating Islands”

Okefenokee Social Distancing

“Every cloud has a silver lining.” While I’m typically not one to use happy little inspirational poster quotes, this one held true for me in May 2020. The coronavirus shutdown of the entire world gave many of us weeks of free time as we isolated at home. I chose to take isolation to the extremeContinue reading “Okefenokee Social Distancing”