That's the call of a barred owl, according to Rayna Berry, who leads the monthly night hikes at Acadiana Park Nature Station. The big woods are filled with nocturnal mammals, birds, insects and reptiles. "We see just about anything," says Berry. Other inhabitants include possums, raccoons, Luna moths (pictured), owls, flying squirrels, snakes and fireflies that twinkle like small stars under the tree canopy. "The purpose of the night hike is to see what the animals who live here see," Berry says.
She leads groups of nature lovers down the trails and boardwalks, using flashlights to look for night creatures. Mid-hike, Berry sometimes stops and tells everyone to turn off their flashlights to let their eyes adjust to the dark. That's when the weirder part of the woods shows itself; a few types of luminescence come from rotting fungus. "Palmetto glows as it decomposes," Berry explains. "At some times of year it lets off a little bit of steam as well."
Smell, sound and touch also come into play. "A lot of kids say the forest smells fresh, some say it smells yucky," Berry says. Currently, the night is fragrant with the intoxicating perfume of honeysuckle and Chinese privet. Once the group falls quiet the dark erupts with sound ' cicadas scrape a scratchy tune, crickets creak, tree frogs sing and the big owls' haunting call shivers through the treetops. And it wouldn't be Louisiana without the whine of mosquitoes.
Berry recommends bringing insect repellent and a flashlight and wearing long pants and hiking shoes on the trail. And don't touch the poison ivy.
The Acadiana Park Nature Station (1205 E. Alexander St.) hosts night hikes from 8-10 p.m. on the last Saturday of each month. Cost is $2; registration is required and must be made by 3 p.m. on the day of the hike. For more info, call 291-8448.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday, December 10, 2013:
For the first time in at least five years, retired teachers, state workers and school system employees could see an increase in their pension checks.
Lawmakers and Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration shared a collective sigh of relief with the news that Louisiana's tax amnesty program brought in the $200 million that they used to help balance this year's budget.
Drew Brees often makes the extraordinary look routine, particularly during night games in the Superdome.
The Cane Fire Film Series will be screening The Savoy King, a feature documentary on Swing-era drummer-bandleader Chick Webb, Ella Fitzgerald, and Harlems Savoy Ballroom.
The teams were extended invitations Sunday for the New Year's Day matchup played at Raymond James Stadium, home of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Outfit Of The Game looks at jewelry
Holiday party with style
Funds will expand Early College Academy from 250 to 1,000 students
Let ’em know and you could win a $250 night out.
Paul’s customer giveaway named
Some of the many events taking place this weekend include The Festival of Light and the Fire & Water Festival.
Appropriate for the season of giving, exhibit features behind-the-scenes images of beloved icon.
Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by 12 this week to 1,775.
The state labor department figures released Friday show the initial claims decreased to 1,850 from the previous week's total of 2,854. For the comparable week a year earlier, there were 4,048.
If all 44 projects are approved, about $300 million would remain in the fund set up as a down payment to help the Gulf.
Last week, the Saints gave up 429 yards to Seattle, second most in a game this season.
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