Jim and I hiked about 4 miles through the swampland on lovely manicured plank walkways at a time of year without mosquitos, no leaves on the trees and not much of the storied wildlife this area is famous for. We saw birds and squirrels that darted away with lightening speed. Signs that read: Do not feed the alligators. Places where plant life was crushed as though some awakened critter languished on a spare piece of ground. Wintering cardinals were beautiful in this gray bearded environment of Spanish Moss. The day was crisp and cool, the air clean, and we'd like to come back in the spring or summer to see the same place with a different landscape. What we saw will be covered over and invisible at another time of year: amazing fungi, water reflections, bright red lichen, stark cypress ghosts against a blue, blue sky and changing environments of the fecund swampland asleep.
This beautiful white heron stood and posed for us for several minutes
The bright red wintering cardinal showy in the gray of a winter swamp.
A few flowers and berries overwinter and feed busy squirrels.
Cypress knobs poke up their heads among the roots of young trees. Cypress is a soft wood almost logged to extinction because of its resistance to rot. Few huge slow growing cypress are left. Two in the whole preserve.
Interesting fungi, here are only two of many varieties we saw.
Splashy colored lichens, something unnoticeable in summer or spring.