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Kayaking the Suwannee River, exploring springs and nature downriver...

Welcome to the Paul Rebmann Nature Photography Newsletter March 2023 edition.

Last December I kayaked the Suwannee River from Suwannee River State Park near the confluence of the Withlacoochee River(the northern one) to the Santa Fe River. My friend Daniel joined me and we took advantage of the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail river camps, staying in the screened in platforms on four nights of the trip.

This section of the river was mostly new to me, having done all of my previous overnight trips, and nearly all of my Suwannee River paddling upriver of the Withlacoochee. The low water levels at the time discouraged us from my original idea to paddle from the river source at the sill in southern Georgia. The low river level had the benefit of providing many little shoals that broke up the flatwater paddling along much of this lazy river. Before the trip I had not fully comprehended the number of springs along this 'middle' section of the Suwannee.

As in most of my outdoor adventures, I was on the lookout for new and interesting subjects to photograph. I was not disapointed. Near one of the unnamed springs we passed there were a couple of small plants, one a swamp twinflower and the other was a pineland pimpernel. I found it interesting that both the Samolus species that I have photographed were near springs.
 Pineland pimpernel

While at Lafayette Blue Springs State Park there was a Southern toad in the leaf litter along the sink trail.
 Southern toad

Another critter that we did not see but was in evidence by the river was beaver.
 Buttonbush limb gnawed off by beaver

At our last of the river camps - Adams Tract - we went exploring in the nearby longleaf pineland and there found a number of interesting subjects including this small frosted wave moth on a pine cone.
 Small Frosted Wave Moth on pine cone

There was also a nice example of tailed bracken, a native fern.
 Tailed bracken

Adams tract was also the site of a species of pawpaw that I had no photographs of until now, the slimleaf pawpaw. In Florida Asimina angustifolia is only found in the counties along the Suwannee River, west to the Big Bend and east into Putnam County. December was not the blooming season, but I am hoping to get back later this spring for some flower photos.
 Slimleaf pawpaw

Around the river camp I found a sparkleberry tree with fruit. One of the characteristics of this species is the remnants of the dried up sepals persisting at the apex of the fruit.
 Sparkleberry fruit, some showing remnant sepals

We came across a distinctive tree - Hercules-club - that is more common near the coast so I was a bit surprised to find it here so far inland.

At Troy Springs there was a scuba-diving class in the spring and at the bottom of the spring run the remains of the steamboat Madison could be seen. The Madison was scuttled by its owner during the Civil War to prevent it from falling into Union hands. Plants that I saw there included a pretty little calico aster, called that because the center disks turn from yellow to purple as the flowers age.
 Calico aster showing fruit(seed head) and both yellow and purple disks

Another distinctive tree - river birch - this one not found in my part of Florida but does range from the north peninsula and through the panhandle.
 River birch showing peeling bark

Our last night on the river was at Suwannee Cove where we rented one of their little cabins. On the riverbank was a more mature example of a plant that we saw a little sprout of earlier during this trip. A native member of the mustard family, the plant was Southern marsh yellowcress.
 Southern marsh yellowcress

Note that clicking on any of the images in the newsletter above will take you to the Wild Florida Photo website page for that subject.

Read more about and see some of the scenic and historic sights along the middle Suwannee River at the Paul Rebmann Nature Photography Middle Suwannee River blog post .

Upcoming Events

Paul Rebmann Nature Photography/Wild Florida Photo will be at the Florida Wildflower and Garden Festival this Saturday in downtown DeLand, Florida.
A forum to promote environmentally-friendly and sustainable gardening practices featuring an array of vendors and presentations by wildflower and gardening experts. The festival is organized by the MainStreet DeLand Association, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, in cooperation with the Florida Wildflower Foundation, Florida Wildflower & Seed Growers Association, University of Florida IFAS, and Quality Green Specialists. In addition to wildflower & gardening education, the festival features vendors who provide information, wildflower and gardening-themed products, plants, and arts and crafts related to general gardening, native plant gardening, gardening for birds, butterflies and wildlife, habitat creation, environmental conservation, recycling and related arts and crafts. Wild Florida Photo will be one of the vendors at this event. Items available will include note cards, note card gift boxes and various format prints featuring Paul Rebmann Nature Photography. The event happens on West Indiana Ave near the Volusia County Courthouse from 9am-3pm March 25.
For more information on this event, visit the MainStreet DeLand website.

And in April Wild Florida Photo will be on the east side of the county, at the Native Plant Expo hosted by the Pawpaw Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society. This event will be held Saturday, April 15 at the Piggotte Community Center, 504 Big Tree Road, South Daytona from 9am-2pm.
A wide variety of native plants will be available for purchase. Both Southeast Volusia and Halifax River Audubon Society will be on hand to share information about birds. In addition there will be educational presentations about plants for birds, hydric container gardening, alternatives to fertilizer and the Ophryocystis elektroscirrha parasite that infects monarch butterflies, including microscopic examinations. A variety of plant-related merchandise will be for sale, including Wild Florida Photo featuring Paul Rebmann Nature Photography.
F0r more information visit the Pawpaw Chapter website.

For details on these and other events, visit the Wild Florida Photo events page.

Purchase online

Just a few of the new images available for purchase printed on various items.

 Suwannee Riverbend canvas print

 Waves in Wood carry-all pouch

Thank you, and I hope that you enjoy my photography.
Paul Rebmann
Wild Florida Photo
Twitter @WildFlPhoto

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