White ibis

White ibis
Ibis

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Okefenokee From the Tour Boat

The second day I was here, I was told to go make arrangements  to join on of the ninety minute guided tours of the swamp, starting from the boat basin, next door to the visitor center. This is part of the orientation for all workers.

Looking out over the boat basin

Leaves are turning but the Spanish moss stays the same

Our guide was a local who who grew up listening to stories about the swamp and who obviously loves it. He added a lot to the entertainment. The day was slightly cool and I didn't expect to see any alligators but we ended up seeing several, including one that let us drift up to within about ten feet of it. It just opened an eye every once in a while to check on us.

Our Guide

There were lots of new-to-me plants and some I've haven't seen for a long time.  A huge flock of little blue herons, with many white, first year juveniles were sitting in trees along the Suwanee Canal and flew down in front of us. We also disturbed a great blue heron as well as snowy and great egrets.

The cypress du jour was all pond cypress - but bald cypress occurs here also


Dahoon Holly was all ready for the holidays


And titi was also getting ready

We put up a huge flock of little blue herons

But only saw one great blue heron

Our path was down the Suwanee Canal to an island where we turned into the Chesser Prairie. The island was a junction of several different canoe trails.  We were only able to go into the prairie for a short distance as it was quite shallow.  But we did get to look at the bladderworts, which float around in huge masses and catch microorganisms in trapdoors in their bladders. I'll have to get some better pictures to show you.


This island is at a junction of several canoe trails. Gotta get in paddling shape.

Our guide and Chesser Prairie


A sunning alligator that let us drift right up next to him

By the time we started back, we started to meet paddlers and saw more gators in the canal.


Sneaky back non-paddler

Most gators looked like this

It was definitely a beautiful experience.  Can't wait until I can get out in my canoe. Definitely another of life's tough jobs.