Okefenokee Alligator Trails

Excerpt from the 1926 History of the Okefenokee Swamp by AS McQueen and Hamp Mizell: “It was in the early winter of 1874 that my father found Chase Prairie. On this trip, and on all others thereafter he always carried a small pole about 8 feet long with an old bayonet on the end which was usedContinue reading “Okefenokee Alligator Trails”

Paddle to Billy’s Island

An excerpt from my Okefenokee Journal on March 11, 2015: Wednesday, 12:17 PM – Grabbing our life vests (but neglecting seat cushions, as we would later regret), we loaded our canoe and headed up the channel toward Billy’s Lake. As we floated by, a beautifully camouflaged American Bittern, Botaurus lentiginosus, popped his head up fromContinue reading “Paddle to Billy’s Island”

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 Journal: Banded Watersnake

An excerpt from my March 10, 2015 Okefenokee Nature Journal: Tuesday, 4:16 PM – The most noticeable, or, I should say, most unavoidable sight on the Trembling Earth Nature Trail was the gnats — great clouds of gnats six feet in diameter, swarming at eye-level on the boardwalk. We pass through one cloud – swattingContinue reading “Okefenokee Journal: Banded Watersnake”

Beautiful Billy’s Lake – Okefenokee NWR

Excerpt from the 1926 History of the Okefenokee Swamp by AS McQueen and Hamp Mizell: “When the Lees followed the Seminole Indians as the first white settlers on Billy’s Island it was as the God of nature made it. Both the Indians and the Lees left the magnificent trees which covered the island; both took so muchContinue reading “Beautiful Billy’s Lake – Okefenokee NWR”

Home Away From Home

In 1851, the American songwriter Stephen C. Foster sang of the Okefenokee’s Suwannee River as “home” in the song, Old Folks at Home. And over 150 years later, my daughter and I are calling the Stephen C. Foster State Park our home-away-from-home! After a full day in the hot sun, and after toiling across Billy’s LakeContinue reading “Home Away From Home”

Okefenokee Brown Water Snake

In the early 1990s, when I should have been sitting in my college classes, I was usually out in the rural areas and swamps of Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas flipping pieces of tin and digging through piles of debris hoping to find snakes. Reptiles became a lasting interest, and much of what drew meContinue reading “Okefenokee Brown Water Snake”

Courage, My Daughter!

An excerpt from my March 11, 2015 Okefenokee nature journal: Wednesday, 9:45 AM – In exploring the swamps of Georgia and Florida in the 1700’s the naturalist William Bartram stated, “the alligators were in such incredible numbers, and so close together from shore to shore, that it would have been easy to have walked acrossContinue reading “Courage, My Daughter!”

Okefenokee Black Bear Tracks

Alligators aren’t the only megafauna of the great Okefenokee Swamp! I’ve made several excursions to the Okefenokee, but have never had the privilege of spotting a bear. I get a bit jealous as I see iNaturalist observations of Black Bears lumbering through the Stephen C Foster campground, or in other places throughout the swamp. ​Continue reading “Okefenokee Black Bear Tracks”

Here Lived and Loved Another Race of Beings

In an 1825 oration, early American poet ​Charles Sprague beautifully laments the  extirpation of the American Indian that once roamed the lands like the Okefenokee: “Not many generations ago, the rank thistle nodded in the wind, and the wild fox dug his hole unscared. Here lived and loved another race of beings. Beneath the sameContinue reading “Here Lived and Loved Another Race of Beings”