Late August, Okefenokee

August 21, 2013 at 5:30 am (Birds - Georgia, Butterflies, Georgia, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Photography, Wildlife)

Rain in the burnt pines, Okefenokee

Rain in the burnt pines, Okefenokee

August in the Okefenokee is supposed to be the hottest, most oppressive month of the year.  Yet signs of autumn are creeping in.  A few red maples have turned, and the rains bring a bit of cooling.  Walking outside this morning, after a night of thunderstorms, it felt downright pleasant.  Summer mornings tend to fog your glasses when you step outside, such is the heaviness of the humidity.

Cattails and bulrushes

Cattails and bulrushes

I try to drive down Swamp Island Drive in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge at least once a week, generally after work at the visitor center where I’m a refuge ranger.  Thunderstorms are common in late afternoon and early evening here, and the bright overcast that precedes the downpour is a photographer’s dream.  Shadows and highlights don’t compete with each other, and colors pop. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jekyll Island – My Second “Home”

May 23, 2013 at 4:18 am (Birds - Georgia, Georgia, Nature, Photography, Wildlife) (, , , , )

Male Wilson's Plover and newborn chick

Male Wilson’s Plover and newborn chick

I will be spending a lot of time on Jekyll Island the next six months.  I am now a volunteer for the Georgia Sea Turtle Center and will be helping people learn about the sea turtles that nest here.

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Baby Gators and More in Okefenokee

May 17, 2013 at 4:58 am (Birds - Georgia, Dragonflies and Bugs, Georgia, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Photography, Wildlife) (, , , , , , )

Baby gator

Baby gator

The nice thing about working in Okefenokee’s back yard is that I can take a trip along Swamp Island Drive after work.  I had heard about the baby gators in a pond from one of the refuge volunteers, but I had not been able to see them.  Until yesterday.  I counted six babies – all under a foot long.  Although they look like this year’s hatch, I’ve been assured by gator experts that these are about nine months old, and they don’t grow much the first winter. Read the rest of this entry »

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Snowy Owl on the Georgia Coast

February 21, 2013 at 4:50 am (Birds - Georgia, Georgia, Nature, Photography, Wildlife) (, , , , , , )

Snowy Owl atop a beachfront condo in Tybee Island, GA

Snowy Owl atop a beachfront condo in Tybee Island, GA

One thing we crazy birders love is when a rare species shows up.  This Snowy Owl is a couple thousand miles south of its usual haunt in snow country.  It is a common bird of the arctic in summer, and migrates to northern and midwestern US in winter. Read the rest of this entry »

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Okefenokee Swamp at Sunset – Magical…

February 13, 2013 at 7:15 pm (Birds - Georgia, Georgia, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Photography, Wildlife) (, , , , , , , )

I took a sunset boat ride into the Okefenokee Swamp two days ago.

It was magical.

 

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Great Backyard Bird Count – Feb 15-18

February 12, 2013 at 1:07 pm (Birds - Georgia, Georgia, Nature, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Photography, Wildlife) (, , )

Yellow-shafted Flicker

Yellow-shafted Flicker

The Great Backyard Bird Count is the Christmas Bird Count Lite – anybody can spend 15 minutes during the GBBC and count the species of birds in your backyard.  Or go hog wild and spend as much time as you want on all four days.  For info go to http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc and participate in this Citizen Science venture.

In the meantime, I will post photos of some of the birds in my backyard here in southeastern Georgia. Read the rest of this entry »

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Kayak vs Gators – Thoughts on My First Kayak Trip in the Okefenokee Swamp

January 17, 2013 at 5:21 am (Birds - Georgia, Georgia, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Photography, Wildlife) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Alligator, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia

Alligator, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia

If I can do it, anyone can.  Seriously. Gators notwithstanding.

The hardest part of kayaking is getting in and out of the peapod-shaped craft, especially at one of the backcountry shelters in the Okefenokee Swamp.   But once you’re tucked inside, water bottle between your legs and pack stowed at your feet, you are now part of the current.  It takes a little practice to slice the oars so they don’t slap-slap the water.  Even more importantly, how to raise them so water doesn’t slide down the paddle onto your legs.  But if I can do it, so can you. Read the rest of this entry »

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Autumn Sunrise at Georgia’s Highest Point

October 24, 2012 at 5:46 am (Autumn, Birds - Georgia, Georgia, Nature, Photography) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Autumn morning from Brasstown Bald, Georgia

Rising 4,784 feet above sea level, Brasstown Bald is Georgia’s highest point.  You can see the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, as well as South Carolina in this 360 degree view. Read the rest of this entry »

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White Hawk

October 15, 2012 at 7:31 pm (Birds - Georgia, Georgia, Nature, Photography, Wildlife) (, )

Leucistic Red-Tailed Hawk

This red-tailed hawk isn’t dressed out for winter.  And it’s not an albino.  This guy/gal is leucistic – meaning it is missing color pigments other than melanin.  (Albinism is the absence of melanin – the pigment that gives our skin and hair its color.)  Albinos have pink eyes due to absence of pigment in the eyes.  Leucistic animals like this one still have their dark eyes, and often hints of color as you can see in this bird.

This hawk has been at Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Island Ford area for quite awhile, and was photographed last month.

www.CindyMcIntyre.com

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Swallowing a Really Really Really Big Fish

October 3, 2012 at 5:13 am (Birds - Georgia, Georgia, Nature, Photography) (, , , , )

Wood Stork caught an Atlantic needlefish – and swallowed it whole!

I was sitting on the beach at Jekyll Island, Georgia on Monday, and saw a wood stork fishing in the ocean about a quarter mile away.  Not only did I not know the storks fished in saltwater, but I also was amazed that it was quite close to some fellows seining for shrimp.  It wasn’t begging, but was perhaps an opportunist, hoping that the activity would scare up something yummy.  I decided to go for a closer look, and just as I got there this guy/gal caught a fish.  A really really really big fish. Read the rest of this entry »

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