Skip to main content

Into the Okefenokee

I'm just returned from an immersion into one of our country's most iconic wetlands, the sprawling 400,000+ acre Okefenokee Swamp of southern Georgia and northern Florida. An in-depth look into the Okefenokee had long been on my list, and after spending three days exploring its fabulous habitats, I have a much better understanding of this incredible place. As always, many photos were made, and plenty of interesting creatures were found.

The still black waters of the Suwanee Canal are often described as "mysterious". I suppose that's an understandable thought, as one can't see more than a few inches below the surface. As gators, moccasins, and other potentially scary critters lurk in the depths, the Okefenokee waters are indeed mysterious to most.

I was able to penetrate a fair ways into the swamp on a skiff, and see lots of interesting terrain. The Okefenokee is a place of great beauty, its tannin-stained waters refecting the images of golden-needled cypress and blue skies. Excepting the occasional boatload of touristos traveling down the canal, there are no people and the swamp is far from the hubbub of highways and towns.

Alligators aplenty roam the Okefonokee. An estimated 10,000+ of the massive reptiles swim in the swamp, and if the temperatures crest 60 degrees, you're sure to see some.

Your blogger far out in one of the Okefenokee's "prairies". It was a real treat to have the chance to wander far off the beaten path and into some of the massive wet meadows of the Okefenokee. I am standing in a sea of horned beakrush, Rhynchospora inundata, and other wetland sedges.

Okefenokee is a Choctaw word meaning "quivering earth", and it isn't hard to see why it's called that when walking across the soggy quaking peat. I saw some great plants out in the prairies, including a fabulous botanical carnivore.

I'll be back soon with some closer views of some of the Okefenokee's extraordinary flora and fauna.

Comments

Guy said…
Hi Jim

Nice shot of the Alligator I am looking forward to the rest of your post.

Guy

Popular posts from this blog

The Pinching Beetle, a rather brutish looking bug

The world is awash in beetles, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Few of them can match the intimidation factor of a Pinching Beetle, Lucanus capreolus, though. Those formidable looking mandibles look like they could slice off a finger.

Today was one of those coolly diverse days. I started off down in Fayette County, visiting the farm of a friend. He has restored about 25 acres of wetlands, and the response by the animal community has been nothing short of phenomenal. Blizzards of dragonflies of many species, amphibians galore, and nesting Blue-winged Teal, Pied-billed Grebe, and Sora. Among MANY other things. And all in a short two years. Add water and they will come.

Then, working my way home, I ducked into a Madison County cemetery that has a thriving population of Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrels, and shot images of our native prairie dog. Then, I stopped at a spot along Little Darby Creek, waded on in, and procured some pretty nice shots of various stream bluets and dancers. …

Calliope Hummingbird in central Ohio!

A hatch-year male Calliope Hummingbird strikes a pose. Small but tough, the hummingbird was feeding actively yesterday in 39 F temperatures. It frequents feeders and gardens at a home in Delaware County, Ohio, about a half-hour north of Columbus.

Fortunately, the wayward hummer appeared at the home of Tania and Corey Perry. Tania is a birder, and knew right away that the hummingbird was something special. For a while, the identification was up in the air, which isn't surprising. The Calliope Hummingbird used to be placed in its own genus, Stellula, but has recently been submerged into the genus Selasphorus, which includes Allen's, Broad-tailed, and Rufous hummingbirds. The latter two, especially, are quite similar to the Calliope in subadult plumage. Rufous is the default "vagrant" hummingbird here, with dozens of records and birds turning up annually. There is but one Ohio record of Allen's Hummingbird, from late fall/early winter 2009. Ditto the Calliope Hummi…

Ballooning spiders

Fear not, ye arachnophobes. The subject of this entry is indeed about spiders, but the star of the show is about as cute as a spider can get. And you'll want to know what we're about to learn...

On my recent West Virginia foray, we were strolling down a seldom-used lane, when a bright yellow object caught our eye. It was a goldenrod crab spider, Misumena vatia, on top of a post! Not only that, she - it is a girl - was acting extraordinarily goofy. The spider would stilt up as high as she could go on her legs, weave back and forth, jig side to side, and otherwise engage in what appeared to be spider break-dancing.

Click the pic for expansion, and you can see two columns of silk issuing from her spinnerets. This is an important point, as we set about determining what this non-web-making spider is doing.


So fixated was our spider on her task that she even rejected what would seem to me to be a perfectly scrumptious meal. This little caterpillar climbed rapidly up the post and dire…