Category Archives: Womack Creek

How About These Raccoons?

It’s been three times now in 2018, we’ve spotted a family a racoons digging in the mud for food at Womack Creek, Tate’s Hell State Forest.

We have been monitoring this creek since 2012 and except for a pair of mating raccoons (in a tree!), they have been noticeably out of sight.

All three sightings have been in the morning under overcast skies and at low tide.

The first time around — over a month ago, the mother and three kits were first sighted.  Mom gave an alarm call and all three kits and mom got out of sight.  Second time around, mom seemed less alarmed and let the two kits be where they were, foraging in the mud.  She, herself, absented herself into the brush.  Today, the larger, possibly the mother,  ambled into the bush, leaving two kits to dig in the mud.  Of the two kits, one was less intimidated and continued digging as the kayak floated nearer to it.

Below freezing week before — green fly orchids still blooming!

The only tree orchid in north Florida, the green fly orchid, supposedly blooms in the spring and summer.  Not so on Womack Creek.  We’ve seen it blooming all year round.

This one survived the one week of freezing temperatures.  January 13, 2018.

How about them li’l raccoons?

 

Mother raccoon and her two kits were foraging in the mud, probably for crayfish or other small creatures.  Normally nocturnal feeders, they took advantage of unusually low water levels to feast on what lay below the mud.

Paddling upstream on January 13, Saturday, 2018 with temperatures at 37F and winds measured on our portable aeronometer at 10mph (windchill of 27), we saw  little stirring except the birds in the bush and overhead.  One large alligator took advantage of the sunny day to get a few hours of warmth.

These raccoons had the river bank to themselves.

Warm enough for snakes – Womack Creek – March 26, 2017

We are always looking for snakes on the shrubs overhanging the river.  Camp hosts have told us of water mocassins near the landing, but we have never seen them.

On warm days, we look for these snakes, on branches, out for a good day in the sun.  Usually seen after late April, here it was in March — a beautiful banded water snake.

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Spring on Womack Creek – March 15, 2017

A low spring tide exposes the shoreline and prevents paddling up branches.

But, it attracts shoreline birds — like this little blue heron.

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It was cold that day.

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The the spring colors were promising of warmer days to come.

Spring flowers affirmed that.

With the creek beginning to bloom, we will visiting at  least twice a month. A warm or a cold spell can change the array of blooms within days.

 

Early Spring Flowers – February 25, 2017 – Womack Creek

Observing the creek every month or more frequently during the blooming season, change seems the one constant.  While one can generally classify bloom times by season, within each season, there seems to be no certainty.  Certain flowering plants bloom gloriously in one year, only to be hard to find in another.  As we have noted, every paddle on the creek is a new experience.

The morning started without event, but the spring colors were soon noticeable on the creek.

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In north Florida one would not consider late February as the beginning of spring.  But here is a gallery of flowers which were blooming on February 25, 2017.

In order (from top left, clock-wise):  swamp buttercup, Walter’s viburnum, blackberry, pinxter azalea, fringe tree, spatterdock and to left of spatterdock, candy root, yellow star grass, golden club, primrose leaf violet, swap dogwood and to left of dogwood, wax myrtle, and swamp jessamine.

Alligators are more commonly seen now on that creek.

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Tree fungus deserve to be examined more closely.

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Up close – a gallery of forms.

A symbol of renewal — the resurrection fern which lies brown and dormant on overhanging branches and revives in the spring.

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