A Fifty-Year Anniversary

June 7, 2015. This morning I hoof it to Sampson’s Island, a mile and a half, and then on to Horseshoe Lake on the Wateree, another mile and a half, for a six-mile round trip. Before parking, I drive to the US 601 boat landing, aka Bates Bridge Landing, and count thirty-eight cars in the […]

A Great Blue on the Hunt

June 2, 2015.  Early this morning a red-shouldered hawk is hunting in the muck swamp close to the high boardwalk. I first spot him from the corner of my eye, sailing low through the trees, so low as to actually fly under the boardwalk! He perches nearby on a low limb twelve feet off the […]

A Visit to Dead River

May 23, 2015.  It’s almost chilly this morning, 55º, when I leave the house at 6:00 AM. Surprisingly, there are no cars when I arrive at the South Cedar Creek parking, even though it’s the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. It is great walking weather, and I head for one of my favorite spots in […]

Boardwalk Wildlife

May 21, 2015.  I get to the swamp early this morning before daybreak and walk through the visitor center breezeway and patio. At night the lights here attract a variety of beetles, moths, spiders, and other invertebrates, which in turn attract other critters, mainly frogs, which are interested in dining on the invertebrates. This morning […]


May 13, 2015. I park this morning at the South Cedar Creek canoe landing and plan to walk Kingsnake Trail as far as Tear Pond, then cut over to Lost Lake and back to the parking lot. The luminescent lime-green foliage of early spring has now given way to the darker, lusher greens of summer. […]

Frenchman’s Pond

May 7, 2015. I’m off this morning to Frenchman’s Pond, off the Oak Ridge Trail. I remember first hearing the name of this attractive cypress-tupelo pond from former hunt club members years ago, and my imagination assumed there was an interesting tale or two to go with it. But as I far as I can […]

A Pileated Woodpecker Nesting Cavity

May 3, 2015, continued. After a delicious breakfast of shrimp and grits, egg casserole, scones, hot coffee, and juice, catered by the Friends of Congaree Swamp, I make a slow bird walk loop along the Sims Trail and the low boardwalk. The morning is still young and the air cool. Along the trail at the […]

A Tribute to Donna Slyce

May 3, 2015.  Friends of Congaree Swamp is hosting its Annual Dawn Chorus Bird Walk, again led by the capable ears of Donna Slyce. As we huddle in the cool, pre-dawn 05:30 dark at the visitor’s center, we start hearing a few bird stirrings – a barred owl or two (although not an “official” member […]

A Long Walk on the Bluff; Medicinal Plants

April 29, 2015.  Water levels in the swamp have finally returned to normal, after more than a week of flooded or partially-flooded conditions. I decide to return to the north bluffs and walk all the way to Toms Creek on the edge of the bluff line, a distance of about five miles (one way) from […]

Wood Thrush Walk

April 22, 2015.  The swamp is under water, with Cedar Creek being ten feet and rising, while the river is at seventeen feet. So I opt for an early morning walk along the north bluff. After all the rain, a front came through two days ago and brought with it some great Carolina spring weather […]