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?”

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”

Okefenokee Bird Roost – Quite a Stir

Excerpt from the 1926 Okefenokee Swamp journal of Hamp Mizell: “We ​arose early the next morning, before daylight, and before the sun began to rise (and a clear sunrise in the Okefenokee swamp is a most beautiful site) the birds began to twitter and call for their mates. When daylight comes at a large bird roostContinue reading “Okefenokee Bird Roost – Quite a Stir”

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”

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”

Rock Star Alligator Paparazzi

Huge, intimidating, armored beasts all decked out in bony spikes and dark leather – they are the rock stars of the reptile world! And I’m the paparazzi that follows them. What exhilarating photo subjects (sure beats baby photography!). Most of the time the gators lay there or slowly slide into the swamp water as youContinue reading “Rock Star Alligator Paparazzi”

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”

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”

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”

Alligator Right-of-Way

Excerpt from my March 12, 2015 Okefenokee nature journal. As one leaves the more open waters of Billy’s or Minnie’s Lakes in the Okefenokee and enters the cypress forests and hammocks, the channels become considerably narrower. While there aren’t as many alligators in these tighter areas, occasionally a large specimen might be patrolling the water.Continue reading “Alligator Right-of-Way”