I’ve just learned via a jolly email that the Allen family are inviting folks to their private nature reserve and B&B to visit and enjoy their gardens and butterflies during the day and count fireflies and see hummingbird moths in the moon/moth garden around dusk.
If you’re tired of being cooped up and want to get out into the countryside for some fresh air and awesome flower and insect photography, consider a sojourn at Allen Acres B&B near Pitkin, Louisiana! If you are planning a Louisiana ecotour, this place should be on the itinerary!
The extensive grounds, planted for wildlife and patrolled by chickens and Guinea fowl, plus the adjacent bottomland hardwood forest would be a fantastic place to maintain some social distancing during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Charles Allen, the Botanist and Entomologist who runs Allen Acres private nature reserve and bed & breakfast operation near Pitkin , Louisiana has planted food plants for the huge range of butterflies and moths that have been recorded there. I think this place is a macro-photographer’s dream come true!
Every evening at around 9 pm or so, Dr. Allen goes ‘sheeting’, this means checking out the 13 sheets with mercury vapor lights that attract a great diversity of moths, beetles, mantids and crickets. Over 840 moth species have been recorded at Allen Acres so far and more than 350 other kinds of insect species including click beetles, may flies, owl flies and leaf hoppers have been seen. The highlight is the early morning 5.00 -5.30 am sheet observation round, when the sheets are covered with moths and other insects from the entire night.
One of my favourite features is the long porch with rocking chairs and all the hummingbirds that come to their feeders.
Charles Allen and his wife are super-friendly and offer a slap-up breakfast including fresh eggs from their hens and coffee brewed in their sweet well water! They welcome children on their property, and have hosted several grandparents and their grandchildren and parents with their children to learn about nature.
Check out the website (www.allenacresbandb.com) for housing arrangements and also links to the local eco-tours and classes.
Dr. Allen says that you might want to avoid the full moon nights as there are fewer moths on those occasions, and just before and right after full moons (July 5, Aug 3, Sept 2, and Oct 1), but of course the butterflies and birds will be there during daylight hours then anyhow, so I wouldn’t let that put you off if your schedule would place you there on a full moon.
The Allens plan to participate again in the National Moth Week Events (July 18-26) and details on that schedule will be on their website soon.