The Green Swamp




Sigh. Okay. I’ll try it. The ingredient list does seem to contain naturally occurring stuff. It then follows, that stuff shouldn’t harm the environment. Effectiveness … it didn’t actually spell out exactly what that means, although the main part of the label did say “Mosquito Repellant”. Shame on me for assuming. It performed the exact opposite task of what I had hoped and our local mosquito population wishes to profusely thank the manufacturer.

I seldom need mosquito goop as, over the years, I have developed an effective method of keeping the biting monsters away from my delicate skin. My Gorgeous Insect and Nuisance Interface (I call her “GINI”) contains a unique combination of pheromones and sweetness which is irresistible to irritating critters small and large. Indispensible for my forays into the outdoors, GINI is also quite capable of disarming boorish creatures of the social persuasion. My overall health and well-being are better as a result.

So it was, with my GINI safely by my side providing vital defense duty, we entered the vastness of The Green Swamp. Mention “swamp” and images of dark water, green ooze, quicksand, eerie sounds and dangerous creatures are conjured in the minds of most people. And they would be correct. A swamp is so much more, though!

In the case of The Green Swamp in central Florida, we’re talking about 870 square miles of territory, second in size (swamply speaking) only to the massive Everglades, covering over 4,300 square miles in south Florida. We can be in the Green Swamp within fifteen minutes of leaving the house. Underneath this massive area is a large plateau of limestone which forms the Florida aquifer. A multitude of springs flows from the aquifer and provides a base for five of the state’s major rivers:  the Hillsborough, Kissimmee, Oklawaha, Peace and Withlacoochee.

The Withlacoochee is where we visited most recently. As it begins its journey out of the Green Swamp, it is quite unique in that it flows from south to north, one of relatively few rivers in the world to do so. After a 140 mile journey, it empties into the Gulf of Mexico at the community of Yankeetown. The many cypress trees along its banks cause the waters of this scenic river to be stained with tannin and in shallow spots it resembles tea.

There are many places to access the Green Swamp, some easy and others requiring an arduous hike. The swamp is actually many very diverse habitats interspersed throughout its range. One can find pine flatwoods, hardwood forests, prairies, sandhills and, of course, dense cypress swamps. Such a myriad of environments provides shelter for a huge range of animal and plant life. That is why we like visiting The Green Swamp.

A few of the residents of the Green Swamp we have been fortunate enough to encounter were nice enough to pose for today’s installment.


Barred Owl

Colt Creek State Park


American Alligator

Viera Wetlands


Pileated Woodpecker

Lake Rosalie Park


White-eyed Vireo

Banana Lake Park


Wild TurkeyRock Ridge Road


Feral Pig

Hardee Lakes Park


Black-and-White Warbler

Green Swamp - Hampton Tract


Carolina Chickadee

Green Swamp - Hampton Tract


Tufted Titmouse

CBC Lake Wales


Prothonotary Warbler

Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive


White-tailed Deer

Gator Creek Reserve


Bonus Feature! Today Only!

Below please find a short slide show of our most recent visit to the Withlacoochee River not too far from its source within The Green Swamp. (There is music which you may want to mute – or, if you wish, sing along!)



If you are lucky enough to have a beautiful swamp or wetland in your area, we hope you’ll pay it a visit and see what wonders may call it home. As for us, we will return again and again to The Green Swamp.

Enjoy your search for a natural place and come back for a visit!

Categories: Birds, Florida, Photography, Travel, Wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “The Green Swamp

  1. Jeanne

    Dang, Wally! You continue to amaze me with your photos. Love that barred owl. Let’s get technical: camera, lens, photo editing program, please?

    • Thank you, Jeanne. I keep meaning to include camera data with photos. Thanks for the reminder!

      Most photos are taken with either a Nikon D750 or D7000. The owl was with the D750 with a Tamron 150-600 mm telephoto. (f 11, 1/1600, ISO 2000, @320 mm)

      Adobe Lightroom used for post processing. Image cropped a bit to get rid of some branches but was fairly close to the bird, maybe 15 yards.

      Again, thank you for visiting!

  2. I have my own Mosquito Deterrent. It’s acronym is STAB (Sue Takes All the Bites). Yes, she comes out in huge balloons whenever we are in Europe while I never ever get bitten by such gruesome creatures, even when I offer up my wonderful youthful body for their enjoyment.

    I’m a fan of your pictures today as well as a fan of Alison Krauss. Great shot of the owl and of course the Pileated, my nemesis bird. Take care Wally.

    • “… wonderful youthful body …”

      Those creatures may be more discerning than you think.

      Thank you for the kind remarks. Gini sends her empathy to Sue and has one word for her: Benadryl.

      In my annual correspondence to Santa I will ask he consider bringing you your very own Dryocopus pileatus for Christmas. You HAVE been a good boy have you not?

  3. Richard Pegler

    You might be able to imagine my reaction, Wally, as I read through your preamble and, as I scrolled down, a wonderful Barred Owl came into view! The delight didn’t fade, however, as I worked through the rest of your images. A beautiful post – thank you.

    Enjoyed the music – who is performing it, please?

    At last I’m managing to connect with owls again – every day for the past four days! I’m having to take today off however, as I’m giving a talk tonight – at least I can include a slide taken as recently as yesterday!

    My very best wishes to you and Gini – Take good care – – – Richard

    • Thank you very much, Richard! That owl was obviously not in the least concerned with me right under her tree. Happy to hear you have had four days with “your” owls.

      The singer is Alison Krauss.

      Cool weather here so we’re headed for a new (to us) coastal swamp.

      You and Lindsay have a great weekend!

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