Cold Camping

November 21, 2014. It’s a beautiful fall day this early afternoon, and I’m off on a short backpack overnight camp. The muck swamp is now nearly completely denuded of its foliage, except for the bald cypress which still has some persistent needles not quite ready to fall. Almost overnight the bottomland hardwood community has taken […]

Camping in the East End, Conclusion

November 13, 2014.  At 4 AM it’s about 50 degrees, and the cricket chorus is still going, although noticeably reduced from last night when it was fifteen degrees warmer. Also reduced is the number of wolf spider eye reflections. A few insects are crawling about, as are some harvestmen, and even a hardy mosquito that […]

Camping in the East End

November 12, 2014.  It’s been a while since I’ve camped in the park, and with nice weather in the forecast, I’ve decided to take advantage of it and spend time in the old growth at the park’s east end, near the original 1976 boundary. It is one of the most isolated parts of the park. […]

Essay: The All-Aged Forest

On occasion I hear that some first-time visitors are disappointed after seeing the park. They’ve heard about the big trees, the champion trees, the so-called “redwoods of the east,” a term that came into use during the citizens campaign to save the swamp in the 1970s. They have come expecting to see solid stands of […]

Winter Woodpeckers

October 28, 2014.  We’ve experienced some beautiful fall weather this last part of October. A recent warming trend has bumped temperatures up so that it feels more like mid-September in the swamp this morning. As with last week, there is a good deal of woodpecker activity around the low boardwalk.  I observe three flickers consuming […]

A Change of Scenery

October 23, 2014.  I had a change of scenery for the past week-and-a-half, trading the big trees and swamp life of Congaree for the wide open spaces and canyon lands of southern Utah. I saw some spectacular scenery, so different from the Congaree that I might as well have been on another planet. It reminds […]

Aquatic Critters

October 11, 2014.  Friends of Congaree Swamp is hosting an “aquatic critters appreciation hike” this morning. Department of Natural Resource fisheries biologist Jim Bulak and his assistants are providing a hands-on demonstration about the aquatic fauna of the park, a fauna that is mostly unseen and under-appreciated by the general public. We are surveying two […]

Tupelo Leaves

October 9, 2014. Birdlife is slow this morning, but I do get good looks at a handsome male black-throated blue warbler foraging nearby in an ironwood. I wish all warblers were as deliberate and orderly in their movements as this species. He provides ample views as he methodically inspects leaves for caterpillars. I see him […]

Dead River

October 3, 2014.  I depart at daybreak on a walk from the South Cedar Creek Landing to Old Dead River. The flickers are starting to move into the swamp for the winter, and I hear a few calling along the Kingsnake Trail. Their numbers will continue to build up over the fall. By the time […]

First Day of Fall

September 23, 2014.  It’s appropriate weather for the first day of fall in the swamp – cool, overcast, and a light-to-moderate northeast wind. I don’t think it made it to 70º the entire day. I’m looking for fall bird migrants this morning on the Kingsnake Trail south of Cedar Creek Bridge. It doesn’t take long […]