04 February, 2023

Powderhorn WMA Bioblitz: May 19-21

Powderhorn Wildlife Management Area is on the coast between Port O'Connor and Indianola. Access to Powderhorn WMA is limited, so in order to attend, folks will need to contact me by email to reserve your spot (pfau@tarleton.edu).

View an iNaturalist map here.

Overnight, primitive camping is available on the WMA. More details will be provided as we learn more and the date approaches.

There are some locations near the WMA that folks may be interested in visiting on their way to or from the WMA. The location of Powderhorn and these other points of interest are shown in this map.

TPWD webpage

Posted on 04 February, 2023 22:30 <span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en-gb.by">by</span> pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton | 8 comments | Leave a comment

29 January, 2023

Southwestern Great Plains anemone wildflowers

The anemones are an early blooming wildflower which goes dormant after setting fruit. Their peak bloom time is March, and typically extends from February to April. Some species have been seen blooming in December this winter--perhaps because of the unusually warm winter. In winter, before blooming, they produce their characteristic tripartite leaves.

Anemones on the southwestern Great Plains and northern Chihuahuan desert (western Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas and eastern New Mexico and northern Coahuila) are rarely documented, and very little is known about their distribution and habits. There may even be an undescribed species in this area (a focus of my research). Within this area, I have found that some species seem to prefer gentle, north-facing slopes.

This journal post is to encourage folks to keep an eye out for anemones in this geographical region. All parts of the plant need to be photographed to help ensure an identification (the more pictures, the better).

Tagging folks that have made several recent plant observations in this area:
@currenfrasch, @ck2az, @jesusnc25, @debm, @empid, @nolandmartin, @s_pi_ky, @mako252, @austinrkelly, @codystricker, @derrell_d, @jotol, @christopherrustay, @joshua_tx, @calebhelsel, @shaunmichael, @lyrae, @rlseman, @willjaremkowright, @briancriter, @alegatocamarena, @carloscarrera, @g_vladimir_hr, @myriada, @roberto999, @pepepaulin, @floresdecoahuilasma, @prairiehagrid, @mlc629, @bobhoard, @nickvarvel, @kvotx, @brooksy , @cbeasley3, @prairiehagrid, @tim-springer, @dwverser, @gtsalmon, @charley, @dpacheco, @jarrellk, @wildcarrot, @liraley, @ianshelburne, @bobnieman

Posted on 29 January, 2023 14:43 <span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en-gb.by">by</span> pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton | 2 comments | Leave a comment

26 December, 2022

Anemone season...yes, already!

Anemone season peaks in March, but this year it started in November! What I mean is that one species of Anemone has been seen blooming this year starting November 28th, A. edwardsiana, spotted by @bachusrock. The previous "record" for early bloom in this species was January 20th, 2019.

Soooo, be on the lookout!

Here's my Anemone guide (focused on Texas).

These graphs show phenology of Anemones in Texas.

Posted on 26 December, 2022 18:07 <span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en-gb.by">by</span> pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton | 5 comments | Leave a comment

13 December, 2022

2023 Bioblitz planning

We have lots of really amazing Texas (and Oklahoma) locations in the planning stages for 2023 and on into 2024.

This Google map documents location of past, planned, and potential bioblitz gatherings:

Date(s) to avoid:

  • Apr 28-May 1: City Nature Challenge
  • Oct 12-15: Master Naturalist conference in McAllen

2023 event locations in the planning stages:

  • May 19-21: Powderhorn WMA
  • May 27-28: Robert Walker Ranch, near Glen Rose (hosted by Rio Brazos Master Naturalists)
  • Roger Fawcett WMA - TPWD is planning an event for spring (west of Fort Worth, between I-20 and Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir), but date is still TBD.

Other potential 2023/2024 event locations up for consideration:

@alisonnorthup, @amzapp, @annikaml, @bacchusrock, @baxter-slye, @bosqueaaron, @brentano, @catenatus, @cmeckerman, @connlindajo, @currenfrasch, @elytrid, @gcwarbler, @jcochran706, @kimberlietx, @k8thegr8, @knightericm, @lorimalloy, @lovebirder. @mikef451, @sambiology, @tadamcochran

Posted on 13 December, 2022 23:00 <span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en-gb.by">by</span> pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton | 51 comments | Leave a comment

05 November, 2022

Great public access lake for iNatting near Hamilton, TX

Just east of Hamilton on hwy 22. I'll be returning here. How has this place been hiding from me all of these years?


A 4x4 road allows one to, on foot, circumnavigate the lake (2.3 miles). I'd classify this as limestone prairie. Lots of possumhaw holly and Carolina buckthorn. Some stands of Maximilian sunflower, asters, and Pluchea camphorata would attract fall pollinators.

Posted on 05 November, 2022 23:43 <span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en-gb.by">by</span> pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton | 5 comments | Leave a comment

28 August, 2022

Two upcoming bioblitzes

  • Sept 16-18: Riverby Ranch Mitigation Area and Bois D'Arc Unit of Caddo Nat'l Grasslands near Telephone, TX (NE of DFW on the Red River)
  • Oct 7-9: Hidden Springs Preserve near Florence, TX (north of Austin)


  • Posted on 28 August, 2022 22:13 <span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en-gb.by">by</span> pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton | 3 comments | Leave a comment

    04 July, 2022

    Rugged flash diffuser

    Wanting to reduce the harsh shadows caused by the flash, and needing something rugged to withstand dragging against branches in the field or being blown by wind, I found a solution in my pantry. A vinegar bottle flash diffuser. Pics here:

    The template (printable PDF here) was inspired by a design that someone had made (but I can't remember who or where--perhaps here). I experimented with the size of the diffuser, with the goal of being as compact as possible (for field work) while still reducing harsh shadows. The size is small enough to easily fit into my camera bag (and rugged enough to not be damaged by being stuffed into the camera bag).

    It requires a step-up ring on the lens to keep it from falling off. It's held on with an elastic pony tail holder. Also, it can be rotated out of the way when not needed for a particular shot (when the subject is over a foot or two away).

    For lens of different diameters, the template would need to be adjusted to fit using trial and error with paper templates. My lens diameter is just under 2 inches. Note also that I'm using the compact flash that came with the camera. If your flash is one of those really tall ones, the diffuser might need to be taller. I hate bulky equipment for field photography--but I'm also annoyed by the slow recharge time--6 seconds in some cases--of my little compact flash). Everything is a tradeoff.

    Posted on 04 July, 2022 13:12 <span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en-gb.by">by</span> pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton | 2 comments | Leave a comment

    26 June, 2022

    September 16-18 bioblitz at Riverby Ranch

    A Fall bioblitz is planned for September 16-18 at the Riverby Ranch Mitigation Area (iNat project page), 95 miles NE of DFW. Brandon Hall, on-site restoration ecologist (@bhall002), will be hosting us. Facilities at Riverby Ranch include a restored cowboy bunkhouse sleeping 17, two restrooms with showers, and a kitchen. There's also plenty of room for car or tent camping. Electricity is available for moth lights, but bring battery powered lights also in the event that they may be useful. For comparative purposes, folks can also visit the nearby Bois D'Arc Unit of Caddo Nat'l Grasslands 5 miles to the south of Riverby Ranch (a wooded upland area with a couple of ponds). As we leave Riverby Sunday morning, we can spend some time at the Bois D'Arc Unit.

    Bunkhouse reservation list (message @pfau_tarleton to be added). Bring your own bedding (there are some twins and some full beds.)

    Here's a Google Map and a downloadable KML file for your phone. Riverby Ranch property boundaries are in black with the yellow pin showing location of the bunkhouse (which will serve as our headquarters; 33.837521, -95.883909). Blue lines are roads. Green, orange, and red pins are locations accessible by personal vehicle (color coded for ease of walking about--green easiest, red more challenging). When out and about, please use the buddy system rather than going out alone. The portion of the Bois D'Arc Unit of Caddo Nat'l Grasslands that some folks may wish to explore after leaving Riverby are outlined in purple.


    The updated map shows pins of locations of interest that include description of the type of habitat, likelihood of aquatic habitats, and are color coded by ease of movement through the habitat (red = thick brush or mud vs green = open understory or lack of brush). These areas alone could keep everyone well occupied for days but, whenever people are ready, Mick and Brandon will be available to take groups further back into areas represented by pins or to some more unique areas of interest.

    People can show up any time on Friday, but our preference is after lunch time. There are still on-going maintenance activities and personnel on-site but on Fridays folks usually take off early and I’d like to avoid overlap as much as possible.

    A few important notes on liability/safety things:
    • Before anyone can do anything on-site, Mick or Brandon need to have a signed release form in hand that will be available at the bunkhouse (aka Motel). So please stop here first and sign the form.
    • People are free to roam the main roads, but Mick or Brandon need to have an idea of where people are in case of emergency. If there’s a way that everyone can be a part of a group message to be able to reach out to Mick or me should the need arise, that would be great. Brandon's cell is 254-592-5688.
    • To the extent possible no one should go to an area alone, especially if they have Verizon as a cell phone provider.
    • There’s also potential that people’s navigation apps won’t work. Do not assume that can rely on your phone for anything. In the past, people have been misdirected or had to walk a good distance to be able to call for help in the early hours of the morning.

    The kitchen has a fridge/freezer, basic electric coil range, pots and pans, silverware/cutlery, utensils, plates, cups, coffee maker, microwave, toaster, and basic spices. A charcoal grill is also available.

    The beds in the bunkhouse (aka Motel) are a mix of regular twin and full size.
    Bring your own bedding.

    Current conditions really good considering the hot dry summer. We’ve had a good two weeks of rain and cooler temperatures which have allowed things to really green up. It hasn’t been enough to refill surface water in major wetland areas though. There’s no rain forecasted in the next two weeks with temperatures in the low 90’s and sunny so I expect things to start to dry out again. Even if we do get rain, I don’t anticipate it to impact access to most of the points of interest on the map.

    Brandon describes the conditions at Riverby Ranch: “Much of the site, particularly forested and grassland restoration areas, are still in early successional stages, but are progressing well. Those areas that were able to remain resilient through past agricultural activities such as the mature forests and wetland areas are nearly fully recovered and are the real backbones of biodiversity on the site. Many of the wetlands have permanent groundwater influence that offer unique (and very muddy) habitats. The site is certainly lush, and both the quantity and quality of wildlife here has surprised everyone – I’ve found a number of what I think are state first or rare plant species, aquatic areas are rife with every swimming and crawling thing you would hope for, and the higher tropic levels are responding better than hoped. There has been an explosion of beaver, otter, bobcats, raptors, snakes, and even a black bear sighting. Over the past few years we’ve encountered a number of species of note including a western burrowing owl, LeConte’s sparrow, grasshopper sparrow, quail, upland sandpipers, and large numbers of breeding ducks, shore birds, and innumerable dickcissel.”

    More information about the Riverby Ranch Mitigation Area:

    Tag others that you'd like to invite:
    @alisonnorthup, @aguilita, @amzapp, @annikaml, @aprilsee, @ashwinvn2, @bacchusrock, @baxter-slye, @benjamindurrington, @birdsandbugs27, @bosqueaaron, @brentano, @butterflies4fun, @catenatus, @centratex, @charley, @clairesorenson, @cmeckerman, @connlindajo, @cosmiccat, @currenfrasch, @elytrid, @gcwarbler, @gusbarksdale, @gwaithir, @henrya, @inhat83, @jcochran706, @jwn, @jwwalker, @karen762, @k_mccormack, @k8thegr8, @kimberlietx, @knightericm, @lorimalloy, @lovebirder, @megachile, @melissa_duron, @mikef451, @nanofishology, @oddfitz, @pynklynx, @rick57, @rlhardin, @rymcdaniel, @sambiology, @sam_moore_, @squaylei2000, @tadamcochran, @wildcarrot, @williampaulwhite17

    Posted on 26 June, 2022 02:17 <span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en-gb.by">by</span> pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton | 74 comments | Leave a comment

    28 May, 2022

    View specific life stages of a taxon

    I added this to the list of iNat tips & tricks on my profile page.

    Larvae: Go to the observations of the species of interest and paste this code at the end of the URL: &term_id=1&term_value_id=6.

    Monarch larvae for example: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?verifiable=true&taxon_id=48662&term_id=1&term_value_id=6

    Pupae: &term_id=1&term_value_id=4

    Eggs: &term_id=1&term_value_id=7

    You can get these sorts of URL add-ons by going to the Identify modal first and filtering for the parameters of interest.

    Posted on 28 May, 2022 15:01 <span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en-gb.by">by</span> pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton | 2 comments | Leave a comment

    09 May, 2022

    June 4-5: Paluxy River, Stephenville, Erath County mini-bioblitz



    Lance, Prairie Oaks Master Naturalist, will host a 2nd event at his homesite property just north of Stephenville on the North Paluxy River (overnight tent or car camping).

    Here's the post for the 1st event held at his place last July (with links to the 433 species that 5 people documented in one afternoon/evening).

    Lance's property is about 30 acres on the headwaters of the South Paluxy River and includes both limestone upland and heavily wooded bottomland areas along the river (which, at this location, is a small, but deep, channel). Lance has been allowing the land to restore itself from it's former state for the past 20 years, and it's looking pretty spectacular.

    The turnoff onto the gravel road from the highway isn't well marked and is easy to drive past (best to let your GPS map assistant tell you when to turn). Down the gravel road a bit, the gate to the property is recognizable by being constructed of black pipe--first gate on the right just after making a hard (right-angle) left turn. The narrow driveway winds downhill through the property to the rock house. Find a place to park in the mowed grass near the house or barn (Google map pinpointing house).

    Here are photographs, one looking down on the house from the log cabin (taken in 2021) and others taken end of May this year.

    There will be electricity for lights, but you should bring extension cords if you have your own light setup.

    Folks can start arriving anytime around noon-ish Saturday and stay until around noon-ish Sunday.

    Just tagging some usual suspects--focusing on folks in the general area (but not intentionally omitting anyone!)
    @amzapp, @annikaml, @aprilsee, @baxter-slye, @bosqueaaron, @brentano, @butterflies4fun, @connlindajo, @cosmiccat, @currenfrasch, @elytrid, @gcwarbler, @gwaithir, @k8thegr8, @kimberlietx, @knightericm, @lovebirder, @mikef451, @oddfitz, @pynklynx, @sambiology, @wildcarrot
    Posted on 09 May, 2022 23:29 <span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en-gb.by">by</span> pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton | 17 comments | Leave a comment