Environment/conservation

The Okefenokee Swamp NWR And Harris Neck NWR, Traveling in Georgia

 

American alligator

American alligator, Harris Neck NWR

I’m currently on a road trip in southern Georgia. I flew to New York on March 10 (which is why there was no blog post last week)  to attend the Explorers Club Annual Dinner (ECAD) and had a terrific time. The opening of the group exhibition “Wildlife Art: Field to Studio” is the evening of March 31 at the Flinn Gallery in Greenwich, Connecticut. What to do in between? It didn’t really make sense to fly home to California for two weeks and then fly back, so I decided to see what there would be to do on the east coast where it was warmer and in the same time zone. After considering a number of possibilities, some more ambitious than others, including flying to Paris for a week or going to somewhere like Belize or Costa Rica, I took another look at the map, Florida being too expensive and everything pretty much booked, and saw….the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, somewhere I’d wanted to go since I was a kid. Plus there’s the barrier islands of the Georgia coast. Sold! I flew down on Monday to Savannah, picked up a rental car and drove to my first of three Airbnb lodgings, this one near Brunswick. The next day I did quite a long drive over to the western entrance to the swamp. Here’s some of what I saw:

I sat at the end of this boardwalk to sketch and do a watercolor.

I sat at the end of this boardwalk to sketch and do a watercolor.

There was a large flock of white ibis all around

There was a large flock of white ibis all around

Of course everyone wants to see the alligators, but they're a wild animal, so you never know. But this little one swam right across in front of where I was sitting.

Of course everyone wants to see the alligators, but they’re a wild animal, so you never know. But this little one swam right across in front of where I was sitting.

On the way back I spotted this red-shouldered hawk

On the way back I spotted this red-shouldered hawk

I was on another section of boardwalk over water and there was suddenly a loud "galoop" of water. This whitetail doe came out from underneath. I walked right over where she was. But she stopped, had a little chin scratch and then started to browse the leaves on the trees.

I was on another section of boardwalk over water and there was suddenly a loud “galoop” of water. This whitetail doe came out from underneath. I had walked right over where she was. But she stopped, had a little chin scratch and then started to browse the leaves on the trees.

I took a break at a bump-out seating deck and there was this green anole (currently turned brown) who stayed around for me to take quite a few photos

I took a break at a bump-out seating deck and there was this green anole (currently turned brown) who stayed around for me to take quite a few photos

I got up to leave, walked over the balcony. looked down, saw a movement in the water and spotted this water snake (non-poisonous) swimming by

I got up to leave, walked over the balcony. looked down, saw a movement in the water and spotted this water snake (non-poisonous) swimming by

The next day I met up with artist and fellow Explorers Club member Alan Campbell, who took me around Harris Neck NWR.

The refuge is known for it's wood stork rookery.

The refuge is known for it’s wood stork rookery.

Wood stork gathering nesting materials

Wood stork gathering nesting materials

Wood stork carrying twigs back to the rookery. The birds have recently been removed from the endangered species list.

Wood stork carrying twigs back to the rookery. The birds have recently been removed from the endangered species list.

We twice drove the route through the refuge so went a couple of times to a dike bordering the big pond where the storks since things are always changing. The second time we saw this turtle!

River cooter, a local species of turtle

River cooter, a local species of turtle

There were a lot of little gators by the edge of the dike. This one came up onto the grass and Alan got some good close-ups.

There were a lot of little gators by the edge of the dike. This one came up onto the grass and Alan got some good close-ups. A few second later he raised his hind end and we both wondered what he was going to do, but he simply turned and walked back down into the water.

Gator reflection

Gator reflection

Gator yawn

Gator yawn

One of the quintessential trees of the Deep South...a live oak festooned with Spanish moss

One of the quintessential trees of the Deep South…a live oak festooned with Spanish moss

It was a great day! I’m on the road again with trips to the other entrances to the Okefenokee and explorations of the barrier islands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 replies »

  1. Hi Susan:

    Thank you Susan. I really enjoyed this email. Can I reference it or your blog in the March NorCa explorers newsletter so that readers can get to see it also?

    Best.

    Anders

    Like

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