little ‘gator on a log
A little alligator maybe a year old finds a spot of sunlight penetrating the cypress canopy in a swamp.
pair of owls
Dusk settles over a cypress swamp as a pair of barred owls prepare for an evening hunt.
An otter takes a moment to rest while diving for crayfish in the depths of a cypress swamp in Southwest Florida. Not only is it hard work poking around cypress knees in the murky waters, but otters need to be on constant alert for alligators.
Raccoon in Holly tree
A raccoon kit tries to figure its way out of a holly tree after a meal of berries. She won’t stray far from the rest of the family.
Mama Raccoon and her three kits on a boardwalk adventure through a swamp in SW Florida.
Screech owl hideaway
A Screech Owl finds refuge in a hollow tree, napping by day while waiting for dusk to return to this corner of cypress swamp.
Aka Blue Peter, Mud Hen, Pond Chicken, Bonnet-walker…. A Purple Gallinule climbs among stalks of Alligator Flag searching for berries. A year-round resident of swamps in SW Florida.
A Wood stork alights on a pine snag at the edge of a swamp. A big bird with a 60-inch wingspan, it is hard to miss as it glides above the trees.
Fisheating Creek, Florida
A pair of sunning alligators wake from their slumber as we paddle by. For every alligator seen, many more remain submerged as we meander down the creek. Flash floods and constant stream currents have eroded the banks of Fisheating Creek, exposing elaborate cypress knees surrounding ancient trees.
Panther Walk Preserve, in Collier County, Florida, is part of Collier Conservation Lands, a public program that buys natural lands to protect water quality, water resources, flood protection, and wildlife habitat.