View of Centennial Mountains at Red Rock Lake NWR

View of Centennial Mountains at Red Rock Lake NWR
View of Centennial Mountains at Red Rock Lake NWR

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Last Look at Okefenokee NWR

Spring was racing across the swamp and  the upland longleaf pine ecosystem, spurring new growth, sending off some birds and bringing in others. I had to hit the brakes a lot to document the first of the year arrival of wildflowers, and birds and the more active snakes, turtles and frogs.  Even the alligators look prettier in the colorful reflections. I was excited about all the new arrivals and changes, but sad to know I would be gone before all changes of spring happened. I did miss many of the migrants, but enjoyed seeing some of them arrive. I also got to enjoy a few of the earliest spring wildflowers. And I made lots of visitors happy by telling them where to find blooming plants, including several species of carnivorous plants,  and the best places to look for migrating and nesting birds.

This is a bull alligator that was probably visiting the female that lives in this pond


One of three non-migrating sandhill cranes that  are often seen or heard from the Cane Pole Trail


A Carolina wren singing his heart out

Love those bulgy green eyes of the pig frog - reddish leg color due to color of tannic water


Displaying anole


Friendly rat snake at the tower - it could climb the open fence


The prothonotary warblers started coming in two days before I left


One of many great crested flycatchers that arrived at the refuge just before I left


Got to see blooming hooded pitcher plants


Along with parrot pitcher plants



And blue-eyed grass
On one of my earlier roving days I found a little family admiring a softshell turtle that was sitting in the road - probably a female looking for a good place to lay her eggs. The mother gave me permission to use the picture in the blog. This is the main reason for roving - sharing special plants and animals with visitors while helping them understand the purposes and management practices of the refuges.


Florida softshell turtle admirers

On the personal front, I made it to Galveston after stops for a last playdate with my  new friend, Julie, who took me on a lovely paddle, and  a short visit with one of my oldest friends, Hulin.  I got to Galveston just in time to do an exploratory paddle on the upper reaches of Cypress Creek, a lovely creek that winds through a heavily populated part of Houston, with several friends. Then I attended Tracy's marvelous welcome home party where I got to see many more of my friends.

This past weekend I went with friend Natalie, my hostess, to a tracking dog trial and then to a tour at Peckerwood Gardens, a fabulous place dedicated to finding plants from all over the world that will grow well in Houston. Now I'm getting doctor visits done and hoping to do some birding and visit with other friends.


My car in moving mode