nature

Reformation

Feb 25, 2019
Ouchley
K. Ouchley

On the morning of December 20, 1987, I was working near the mainline Mississippi River levee in Tensas Parish. Waterfowl hunting season was ongoing, and I was prowling about in search of those who might violate federal laws that protect the long-term well-being of migratory ducks and geese. Before daylight, I walked a mile into a swampy, forested area that consisted of oak flats and meandering cypress sloughs. Palmetto blanketed the subtle ridges and drapes of Spanish moss hung motionless in the still, pre-dawn darkness.

Frog Poetry

Feb 18, 2019
Ouchley
K. Ouchley

There was a poetry slam going down at the pond this warm, winter morning. It was discernable when I first stepped out the front door of my house on the edge of the swamp. Since there are plenty of other water bodies nearby including a bayou and rising backwater, this venue seems to have been chosen expressly for the acoustics. Cajun chorus frogs, a dozen, a hundred or maybe a thousand of them had pulled out their combs and were dragging their amphibious thumbs across the teeth. The theme of the performance was obscure.

Falling Tree

Jan 8, 2019
Ouchley
K. Ouchley

The days of this tree are numbered and she won't likely last the winter.  This prognosis is not arboreal soothsaying but rather the physics involved in supporting upright tons of wood fiber.  Already she cants thirty degrees northwest and half her root system is embarrassingly exposed to all.  Erosion, that hissing wave of gravity-fueled fluid that drags the main channel of the Mississippi River dozens of lateral miles across its floodplain like a writhing cottonmouth, works 24/7 on Bayou D'Arbonne also.  It broke the anchor chains of this overcup oak.

Ouchley
K. Ouchley

Alligators did not welcome the recent spate of cold weather. The least-known aspect of alligator life history involves their behavior during the winter, especially in inland swamp habitat. In general, they retreat to dens in cold weather; but they do not hibernate. Instead, they brumate, a condition when the core temperature and other physiological processes decrease, but not to the extent that occurs in true hibernation.

Raw Land

Sep 25, 2018
Ouchley
K. Ouchley

No doubt landscapes tug on our psyche. Whether a snow-capped Colorado mountain or a shimmering gulf coast beach, our brains react to certain topographies in peculiar ways. We are all different in our feelings toward distinctive terrains – some attract, some are foreboding. For me there is a landscape in northeastern Louisiana that never fails to stir something below the surface of my consciousness.

 

Fences

Sep 11, 2018
Ouchley
K. Ouchley

About a hundred yards north of my house in the dense woods, the remnants of an old fence can be seen running north-south over a sandy-clay hill on the edge of D'Arbonne Swamp. The forest looks the same on both sides of the rusty wire now, but it once enclosed a ten-acre field where my father chopped cotton as  a teenager. When boll weevils, armyworms, and worn out soil forced Union Parish hill-country cotton farmers to seek work in paper mills, chemical plants, and on pipelines, the field reverted to forest through natural plant succession.

 

September

Aug 30, 2018
Ouchley
K. Ouchley

In Louisiana, September is the season of winding down, of transition to better times. It is as if all things in the natural world are fed up with the necessary struggles to carry on in the heat and humidity of our subtropical summers. Within the trunks of white oaks and black hickories, the growth rings of summer wood form a defined edge. The trees stop growing. Buckeyes have long since lost their leaves and those of black gum flame scarlet in protest.

Leoniods and Leave No Trace

Nov 16, 2017
https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Black_Bayou_Lake/multimedia/Black_Bayou_Lake_Photo_Gallery.html

Subaru's Leave No Trace Traveling Trainings have made their way to Louisiana to help promote outdoor ethics and safe interactions with wildlife. The trainers, Amanda Jameson and Junaid Dawad, will be at the Black Bayou Wildlife Refuge on Friday, November 17, at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, November 18, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Celebrating 20 Years with Black Bayou

Jun 7, 2017
Black Bayou Wildlife Refuge / https://www.facebook.com/groups/55588469461/

Saturday June 17th, the Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge is celebrating its 20th anniversary at the refuge. The celebration will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. with interactive activities for children and adults.

Black Bayou became a refuge in 1997 and has been serving the community by providing a scenic place for families to enjoy the wildlife and learn about Louisiana's biodiversity. The refuge has 5,000 acres of wildlife including 2,500 acres of lake. Visitors can walk the trails, go hunting or fishing, and admire the wildflower fields at the refuge.

Fighting the Invaders

Feb 22, 2017
Christopher Foster / Black Bayou

Thursday, February 23rd Black Bayou National Wildlife Refuge's forester, Chris Foster, will be giving a talk on local invasive species. The talk will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Black Bayou education center.

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