Gulf Fritilary butterflies vie in beauty with the flowers that nourish them in Black Bayou's lovely new Pollinators' Garden.

Gulf Fritillary butterflies (Agraulis vanillae) vie in beauty with the flowers that nourish them, and that they in turn pollinate, in Black Bayou’s lovely new Pollinators’ Garden. It can be found to the left of the Education Centre. Look for their young in the form of caterpillars and for the ones that are transforming into adults in their chrysalis.

If you’re looking for some family-friendly fun in the outdoors this Saturday, Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge is the place to be! There’s a 5K trail run at 9 a.m. through the cool forest, thank the Lord for this ideal weather!

Runner and walker participants should arrive at the fishing parking lot at BBLNWR by 8:30 am Saturday. There’s a $30 fee for the trail run to cover Tshirts and other swag. It’s the only part of the Fall Celebration that involves a fee.

While shedding those pounds you’ll pass through fresh air with healthy negatively charged ions and be ‘bathed’ in phytoncides that help to boost your immunity for up to a month!

Other events will begin at 10 a.m and are free of charge.

Check out the exhibitions at the Visitors’ Center and Education Center!

You can also take the trails at a more leisurely pace of course with frequent stops to admire life in the prairie habitat, leaf litter, forest trees and swamp water.

At this time of year there are a profusion of fungi. Look out for the fairy-land flush of hundreds of purple mushrooms, many of them right beside the boardwalk!

These remarkable creatures are neither animals nor plants, but constitute their own Kingdom and serve as decomposers and recyclers of nutrients in the ecosystem. There are also seasonal wild flowers visible where sufficient light allows their growth.

The impressive fruit of the Osage orange!

The impressive fruit of the Osage orange!

The trees themselves are very diverse. Note the varying textures and appearance of their bark and leaves! If you see  baseball-sized green fruit, it is an Osage orange. Native Americans used the tough wood of this tree to make hunting bows. See if you can find a tree that produces sugary seed pods and developed huge spikes to protect itself against large extinct elephants – the Gomphotheres.

Note the other life that the trees support: squirrels, birds, fungi, reptiles, insects and plants. Look out for the many Resurection ferns that grow along some of their branches! Recent rains have refreshed them and they’re looking fine!

Keep quiet with your eyes and ears open and alert for rustling in the leaf litter. There are many blue and green dragonflies flitting about and settling in their own territories among the forest trees. You might also see birds, frogs, snakes, beetles, ants and stick insects if you are observant.

Please remember that the wildlife is protected within the refuge, this is their natural home and we are the visitors, we should be good visitors and give them their space to live their lives.

  • Beetles, frogs, toads, snakes, turtles and lizards are cool critters but we can’t take them home. Take a photo instead?
  • You can and should take your trash home or put it in one of the bins.

Louisiana Master Naturalists – Northeast will have a table in the Visitor Center alongside Ouachita Green, so please stop by, say “Hi!”

We’ll be there with some of our fellows to talk about our group and the sort of activities that we enjoy together on a regular basis. We’re a fellowship of naturalists who enjoy learning about this remarkable environment in northeast Louisiana.