Pay Attention to Your Surroundings

posted in: Nature, Observations | 14

Snake

I had been thinking about a situation like this when we were down in the Okefenokee Swamp recently.

They got out of the car to get a better view of the alligator, but the man unknowingly had stepped on a water moccasin that was on the side of the road.

In Okefenokee, they were quick to point out that for every gator you see, there are 10 you don’t see. I started thinking about how, if you remain completely focused on the one you see, trying to get the best photo of it, those 10 you don’t see might present a bit of a problem, let alone the snakes. The snake in the photo above was actually just underfoot as we walked along a trail. I heard it rustling in the debris before I ever saw it, and I suspect it was actually in the path, scurrying to get away from us when I heard it.

Today, when I saw this story, that was what came to mind. Capturing a photo of wildlife can be pretty exciting, but when you’re out there in their habitat, you probably want to pay attention to what’s going on around you too. You never know what else you might not see.

Then again, this advice goes double when traveling as well. Tourists with cameras who are trying to get the perfect photo are easy targets for criminals as well, because they aren’t paying attention to the other people around them. I’ve seen lots of people at tourist sites being careless with their stuff while getting a photo.

Be careful out there!

A Rainy Morning in Okefenokee

posted in: Landscape, Nature, Travel | 6

The rain that we encountered on Friday afternoon and evening, was predicted to stay for most of Saturday as well, but since it appeared that there might be some breaks between the bands of thunderstorms, we headed to Okefenokee anyway.

I’m glad we did. As our tour guide on Sunday would tell us, this is a National Wildlife Refuge, not to be mistaken with a park. What that means is that it is here for the wildlife, it is their environment and you are just visiting. Now, he told us that as a way to temper down expectations, because he couldn’t guarantee that we’d see anything, though we did.

But, prior to that, by virtue of being in the refuge during rainstorms, we got a really good idea of just how inhospitable and wild the swamp could be. Makes me wonder why anyone decided “yup, this is where we are going to live”, but then again, I am a city kid. This does not scream “let’s go live there” to me.

Forboding

A Little Walk on the BaordwalkThen again, the rain meant we really had much of the area to ourselves, and gave us plenty of opportunities to see wildlife and the beauty of the swamp as well. In fact, as we were walking on that very boardwalk you see above, we could hear the alligators in the distance, making their rumbling vibrations in the water to warn off smaller gators. Then, as we took a pit stop during some heavy rainfall in a covered area, we heard it again, much, much closer.

Oh Hi There!

We also were able to get out of the rain for a bit at the Chesser Homestead, and learn more about the people who made this area home. For instance, we learned that the “yard” of the homestead was kept without any growth for a very good reason. Not only did it look neater, but it made it easier to see creepy crawlies and snakes that might be nearby.

Chesser Homestead Tree

Sitting on the Chesser Homestead porch

We also got very lucky, as we were driving by, we saw a heron on the side of the road, with it’s lunch, and an alligator keeping a very close eye on him hoping for his own lunch, maybe?

Food Chain

Something to Wash it down

Still Life Eyes

Of course, it didn’t rain the entire morning, we did get some views of the landscape and the wildlife without the rain before packing it in and heading to Folkston for lunch. With all the morning rain, we decided to come back in the morning, when it promised to be warm and sunny. More on those stops on future posts.

Mirrors!

Brief Stop on St. Simons Island

posted in: Nature, Travel | 7

With a three day weekend upon us, and after my work having kept me away from home for a couple of weeks straight, the wife and I decided to go on a little adventure. We wanted to grab the camera gear and head down to the Okefenokee Swamp and see what sort of photo adventures we could find. With it being a good six hour drive though, we also made plans to make a detour so we could spend a little bit of Friday afternoon on St. Simons Island.

St. Simons LighthouseThe wife had done a little research, as she always does, and targeted Fort Frederica as an interesting stopping point on the island.

Fort Frederica has some historical importance, as it was the site of a battle between the English and Spanish, that guaranteed Georgia to stay in English hands. It had been a pretty debatable area before that. Now, there are a handful of ruins of the old fort available, but it is also just a lovely landscape, because of the ruins, and of course, the Spanish moss. (Ironic, no?)

Trees and Swampy water

Old Barracks Ruins

Spanish Moss

Dogwoods in Spanish Moss
Fortunately, the rain held off until after we had visited the Fort, and a local church yard and John Wesley Memorial Garden. It started down while we were on the beach, but it was just about time to get in the car and continue on to Waycross, which would be home base for the rest of the weekend.

Storm Coming InYou can see the rest of the photos from this stop over on Flickr!