Okefenokee Reflections

Stephen C. Foster State Park in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

Here I am at the campground, typing away on my computer looking at cabins and trees. My campground is located at the entrance of Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge outside of FolkstonGeorgia. 

I hear birds. A red bellied woodpecker and a fish crow.  The only reason I know is that I have BirdNet, this great ornithology website/app from Cornell University that records and analyzes bird songs.

I also hear children (BirdNet identfies them as “humans”. (I didn’t need an app to tell me what the cry of a 4-year-old sounds like.)

Anyway my coffee is on my right and I just finished my new favorite breakfast:  strawberries, almonds, a few plain cheerios and kefir (more on that another time.)  This is a departure from my recent morning routine. 

Usually I hang in bed, do wordle and read the NYTimes.  Then at 9 or so I do yoga and by then Keith is up and we are ready to talk about the day. Today Keith is still sleeping and I have some quiet time to myself.

This isn’t my preferred type of camping.  The RVs are lined up in a row. We are next to a noisy road. The wifi is sporadic.  My xfinity mobile sucks. Luckily Keith’s T-Mobile has enough juice that I can tether to it.

Yesterday we took a boat trip into the swamp.  There wasn’t a ripple. I am not used to being in water with no tide, current or other movement.  That means that everything in sight is reflected on the water.  The sky, the Cyprus trees, the birds, the flowers (I only saw one flower –Golden Gloves).

Golden Glove

The alligators lazed on the side of the channel looking like rubber models for the tourists. They are completely still since they just came out of hibernation.

American Alligator, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

Overhead we saw sandhill cranes flying north. Perhaps they were starting their migration. Some cranes stay south year round.  But the smart ones take off for Minnesota and Wisconsin in the spring.   The most common bird in the swamp is the garbage collector– the turkey vulture.  Hot weather or cold, vultures can be counted on to be sailing through the sky hunting for food.

A Bale of Turtles or a Creep of Tortoises.  See important footnote below.

Keith and I both got some terrific pictures.  Mine were with my phone camera.  Beautiful landscapes, one alligator and a trio of tortoises.  Keith captured the sandhill cranes.  

I covet a nature camera where you can see every feather of a bird feeding her young in the nest.  Regrettably that isn’t in the cards.  A cheap lens is $1500 for a camera I don’t own. And I hate carrying heavy things around my neck.  I already have my binoculars.  Come to think of it, a better strategy is to support Keith in his photography efforts so he can contribute to this blog.  I’ll carry the tripod.

IMPORTANT FOOTNOTE. Thank you google for providing the words for a group of tortoises and a group of turtles.

MORE OF THE IMPORTANT FOOTNOTE: Keith and I couldn’t decide whether I saw turtles or tortoises. Keith is on Team Turtle. I am on Team Tortoise. Any insights?  Here is the difference:

Tortoises have more rounded and domed shells where turtles have thinner, more water-dynamic shells. Turtle shells are more streamlined to aid in swimming. One major key difference is that tortoises spend most of their time on land and turtles are adapted for life spent in water.

SOURCE: Nashville Zoo

Any one out there able to tell whether they are turtles or tortoises?


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