Guest Post: Birding Graham Creek on the Apalachicola River


Friends, Andy Wraithmell is back with another tale from the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail! For more information about the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail, you can reach Andy at 850-488-9453, or send an email to

I noticed a shadow passing by as it reflected off the cold grey cypress trunks on either side of the creek, and looking up, I wasn’t surprised to see a Black Vulture circling overhead. I checked my pulse and shifted in my seat to make sure this soaring denizen of death knew I was alive! For a brief moment, I imagined I was Frodo Baggins on my way to Mount Doom. Fortunately, Graham Creek is not Mordor, but during winter, it sure does look like a scene from Lord of the Rings

Graham Creek is part of the Apalachicola River Paddling Trail System and winds through beautiful stands of cypress and tupelo trees. In spring, look for prothonotary warblers feeding low among the cypress knees, its brilliant, gold, egg-yolk plumage reflecting off the dark tannic water. Paddling the creek is like going back in time, and as you drift slowly between the trees, one can’t help imagining ivory-billed woodpeckers double-tapping on giant cypress trunks. After wandering through this wilderness lost and snake-bit, Cebe Tate thought he had visited hell, which is where the name Tate’s Hell State Forest came from. Graham Creek and the surrounding forest is an incredibly stunning place with an abundance of wildlife, dramatic scenery, and peaceful serenity. For the adventurous, it represents a chance to explore one of Florida’s few remaining wild areas. I for one can’t wait for my next visit. I’ll try not to forget to take a good supply of Lembas bread with me next time!
Visit FWC Paddling Trails to learn more about the Apalachicola River Paddling Trail System and other paddling trails. For tips on how to plan a paddling trip, visit the hits and tips page on the Florida Professional Paddlesports Association's website.

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