As the temperatures get cooler, there is less food available in the swamp. Some animals migrate to areas with more food, some become inactive or less active (many snakes find a den, alligator will hide on the lake bottom or along the shallow edges), and some cache food for later. The Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) on the boardwalk handrail has a hickory nut that it is gnawing open, while another chattered nearby as it searched for the perfect burial spot in which to hide its hickory nut.
A Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) swooped onto a low perch nearby and intently studied the forest floor. From our office windows, we have seen these birds catch various species of lizards and quickly consume the prey. However, our proximity was a distraction and the hawk flew to a much higher perch atop a snag. From there, the bird exchanged calls with another of its species...possibly commenting on the lack of reptilian activity.
Stirred to action by a raucous flock of Ruby-crowned Kinglets (Regulus calendula) in the understory, a Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) easily sang over the noise generated by the diminutive kinglets. Unfortunately, the wren did not sing loud enough to mask the call beckoning us to return inside.