East TX gathering! Gus Engeling, Richland Creek, and Neches River NWR! Oct 1 - 3

Hey all,

Been a bit delayed in getting this scheduled (been busy!), but we've got another little gathering planned for East TX! There are three spots that we'll check out on Oct 1 - 3:
Richland Creek WMA
Gus Engeling WMA
Neches River NWR

We've got permission to blacklight in both of the WMA's, but not the NWR. So, here's my general plan:
Explore and blacklight at Richland Creek on Friday, Oct 1
Explore and blacklight at Gus Engeling on Saturday, Oct 2
Explore Neches River NWR on Sunday, Oct 3

Richland Creek WMA -- we can set up blacklights at the north unit, right off of hwy 287. Here:
31°58'14.0"N 96°05'02.6"W
31.970556, -96.084056

Camping is at that location as well.

Gus Engeling WMA -- we can blacklight at this really nice prairie unit here:
31°57'05.4"N 95°53'24.3"W
31.951500, -95.890083

Camping is a little off the beaten path, here:
31°56'29.8"N 95°52'50.5"W
31.941611, -95.880694

Neches River NWR has some closed units for hunting, but we do have access to the "Dead Water Unit." This is south of Hwy 79, here:
31°53'35.4"N 95°25'42.7"W
31.893167, -95.428528

No real itinerary or schedule with any of these -- just exploring some of the areas and then meeting for some blacklighting at night!

Palestine is probably the closest spot for hotels and stuff.

No electricity at any of the blacklighting spots, so bring those portable units!

Let me know if you're planning on coming! Here's my cell as well -- toss it in your contacts: 214 215 5605

Posted by sambiology sambiology, August 08, 2021 13:44


Thanks for organizing this, Sam!

Posted by lovebirder over 1 year ago (Flag)

We've got a very busy late Sept and early October but I've put this on my calendar and would dearly love to see these areas.

Posted by gcwarbler over 1 year ago (Flag)

Thanks for all your hard work, Sam!

Posted by amzapp over 1 year ago (Flag)

This sounds great, and I'm planning on being there for all three days.

Posted by annikaml over 1 year ago (Flag)

Great to hear the details Sam! Thanks. I will be at all locations. @aprilsee

Posted by mikef451 over 1 year ago (Flag)

Thanks for putting this together, Sam. I'll be there, mostly likely for every place.

Posted by jcochran706 over 1 year ago (Flag)

i’m in

Posted by catenatus over 1 year ago (Flag)

I'll be there. So is the goal to get there Thursday night to camp? or are people showing up Friday sometime?

Posted by knightericm over 1 year ago (Flag)

count me in

Posted by pynklynx over 1 year ago (Flag)

See you all there!

Posted by connlindajo over 1 year ago (Flag)

I'll be there!

Posted by cosmiccat over 1 year ago (Flag)

Just FYI, one night several years ago, I car-camped at the Richland Creek WMA site you highlight above, just off the highway. I think it is a designated camping area, but that would need to be rechecked, especially for early October.

Posted by gcwarbler over 1 year ago (Flag)

Robby and Jenny and I are planning to move to North Carolina in October, but since this is at the beginning of the month, we will try to join if possible!

Posted by alisonnorthup over 1 year ago (Flag)

The hotel is booked. I'll be there!

Posted by cmeckerman over 1 year ago (Flag)

Darn, I'll be travelling, or I'd be there for sure

Posted by texslm over 1 year ago (Flag)

I will car camp at Richland Creek and Hotel the last two nights Best Western.

Posted by mikef451 over 1 year ago (Flag)

@sambiology , I plan on joining in day activities with this great group. I plan on hoteling in Palestine at LaQuinta,

aslo @nancynorman will join me, She was a good frined of Greg's but has not been to any of the other Bioblitzs

Posted by gpstewart over 1 year ago (Flag)

Can’t wait!!! Thanks for organizing this :)

Posted by txstack over 1 year ago (Flag)

@royaltyler Want to come?

Posted by cosmiccat over 1 year ago (Flag)

I'm going to have to check on childcare availability/school schedules/work schedule so I won't know until close to time. When do you need a yes/no answer?

Posted by williampaulwhite17 over 1 year ago (Flag)

@sambiology / everyone
I'm wondering if any of you specialise in botany / indigenous flora? I have moved here from Australia and would really like to find something close to Dallas to start familiarizing myself with native flora to the area. Can anyone point me to useful facebook groups, or link in anything that might be of use to me?

Thanks in advance

Posted by dredgy over 1 year ago (Flag)

@dredgy The Facebook group Texas Flora may be of interest.

Posted by annikaml over 1 year ago (Flag)

Check out the Native Plant Society of Texas Dallas Chapter

Posted by pynklynx over 1 year ago (Flag)

Thank you kindly!

Posted by dredgy over 1 year ago (Flag)

And you can of course use iNaturalist to see what has been found in Dallas County.

Posted by annikaml over 1 year ago (Flag)
Posted by jcochran706 over 1 year ago (Flag)

so do we explore on our own during the day or meet up somewhere? And if we're exploring on our own, do we need to have anything to show any wildlife officers?

Posted by williampaulwhite17 over 1 year ago (Flag)

In most of these, it's sort of "free exploration" -- although a few folks do gather to do some observing together. :) Most of the times that we gather together is during the black-lighting in the evenings. However, some folks tend to explore earlier in the day (birders) and some of us sleep in (moth-ers)! The dual birder/moth-ers may take naps in the afternoon. ;)

Since we're doing photo-vouchers and not any official collecting or anything, we don't need any sort of permits at these locations. But, I have told the wildlife biologists that we'll be out there at each spot, so they'll be expecting us. :)

Posted by sambiology over 1 year ago (Flag)

If we car camp are there bathrooms (pit toilets fine) or is it a pack out/bury waste type of set up? That'll determine if I car camp or hotel it up

Posted by williampaulwhite17 over 1 year ago (Flag)

@sambiology - Count me in plus another inatter who is good at finding/seeing snakes and other things!

Posted by melissa_duron about 1 year ago (Flag)

I'm in. Maybe we can find some cool herps. I still haven't seen a timber rattler this year :(

Posted by williampaulwhite17 about 1 year ago (Flag)

Glad to see so many folks that will be coming over to East TX! Let's keep our fingers crossed for... reasonable... weather. :)

I know of several folks that are staying at hotels. I'm going to camp that first night at Richland Creek WMA, and then hotel it up at Palestine on Saturday night (but still stay out laaate at Gus Engeling WMA!). I don't know of any facilities at Richland though, so just FYI -- find a nice bush for potty time.

Again, no real schedule with any of this -- except for some mothing gatherings. And maybe dinner on Saturday somewhere on Gus Engeling???

Again, please toss my contacts in your cells: 214 215 5605 or 817 771 8793 -- one is verizon and the other is AT&T, so hopefully one or the other will get reception! :)

Looking forward to seeing folks!!!

Posted by sambiology about 1 year ago (Flag)

I'm in for all three days. Not camping but I'll be pitching a tent in my room to show solidarity :)

Posted by jwn about 1 year ago (Flag)

Planning on coming to Gus on Saturday afternoon thru night, staying in Palestine. Looking forward to it.

Posted by lorif about 1 year ago (Flag)

Hey Sam and all, I'm planning on coming to Richland late afternoon and mothy. Gus also afternoon and mothytime. Neches River likely for a.m. I'm staying in Palestine both nights. Thanks!

Posted by aprilsee about 1 year ago (Flag)

I can't come Friday because I have to work, but I will be at Gus Engeling Saturday morning. I'm going to focus on aquatic critters, so I'm bringing my fishing poles and dip net.

Neches doesn't allow fishing, so I'll focus on bugs that day. :-)

Posted by cosmiccat about 1 year ago (Flag)

If we have a fishing license is dip netting allowed? I've got one I wouldn't mind bringing.

Plan to mostly try to herp some. Never been to any of these locations so we'll see how it goes

Posted by williampaulwhite17 about 1 year ago (Flag)

@sambiology Could you check the coordinates listed above for the Neches WMA we will be visiting? Thanks.

Posted by connlindajo about 1 year ago (Flag)

My older kid is 8; he's requesting to come to look for cool bugs. Is it OK to bring him along?

Posted by williampaulwhite17 about 1 year ago (Flag)

I personally would love to help your child find some cool bugs!

Posted by amzapp about 1 year ago (Flag)

I think it's great that they want to engage with nature that young! Bring them on!

Posted by annikaml about 1 year ago (Flag)
Posted by connlindajo about 1 year ago (Flag)

camping night one, have a room at the best western for Saturday. Looking forward to it

Posted by williampaulwhite17 about 1 year ago (Flag)

I’m going to have to take a raincheck unfortunately something came up :(

Posted by catenatus about 1 year ago (Flag)

Hey all!

Just wanting to toss the update with my schedule for the weekend. Don't let it dictate what you do -- there's not really a schedule or anything, and it's a pretty easy going gathering, but here's what I'll be doing:

I'll come to Richland Creek WMA at around 2 PM on Friday -- I'll explore a bit around the WMA during the daylight, and then we'll set up the blacklights at the camping area (GPS coords at top).

On Saturday, I'll explore a little bit more of Richland Creek, and then head over to Gus Engeling at like 10 AM. I'll do a few hours there, and then go grab some lunch in Palestine at noon and check into the Best Western. I'll likely rest it up a bit at the hotel until around 3 or so... I'll jump by the grocery store to grab some hot dog stuff to grill at Gus Engeling (not yet sure where there are grills... but I'll find them!). I'll grill these up at like 5:30 or so.

Then, for the evening, we'll see up blacklights at a pretty good sandy prairie spot (GPS coords above) at like 7. I'll plan on staying out until midnight or so, depending on how the blacklighting goes. Hotel it up for the night.

On Sunday, I'll head over to Neches River NWR (GPS above - just the south "Dead Water Unit" is open to us -- the rest is closed for hunting, I think) at like... 9 or 10. I'll stay out there for a while until maybe 2 or 3. Then head back home after that!

PLEASE save my cells: 214 215 5605 and 817 771 8793. Let me know if you've got any questions or concerns! Hope to see some of ya'll out in the field! :)

OH! It's also totally open to whomever wants to come -- any ages! :) Again, there's not really any 'scheduled programs' or anything -- it's just a gathering of iNatters! :)

Posted by sambiology about 1 year ago (Flag)

Sounds like y'all are going to have an awesome time! I've got too many things going on and won't be able to make this one :(

Posted by bosqueaaron about 1 year ago (Flag)
Posted by alisonnorthup about 1 year ago (Flag)

I work on Friday but may try to come down for mothing that night. If now will meet up at Gus on Saturday. And probably drive home after mothing that night. Then may or may not try to make to Neches on Sunday. Will have to play that one by ear. Looking forward to it.

Posted by brentano about 1 year ago (Flag)

I'll catch up with y'all Saturday afternoon. Have two UV lights and a battery source should run them most of the night.

Posted by mchlfx about 1 year ago (Flag)

Oh, I have a black light and a battery that I can bring for Saturday night.

Posted by cosmiccat about 1 year ago (Flag)

I've got some other stuff going this week but may try to make it up there Saturday.

Posted by rymcdaniel about 1 year ago (Flag)

We may get a touch of rain! It could prevent a little bit of the black-lighting, but we'll see. :)

Posted by sambiology about 1 year ago (Flag)

I'll be there! With rain gear, apparently. :)

Posted by lorimalloy about 1 year ago (Flag)

My weekend freed up, so I'll be car-camping Friday evening, driving back to Dallas Saturday morning, then driving back again to blacklight Saturday night with a Palestine hotel room. Bringing a small mothing setup, my camera, and rain gear.

Posted by inhat83 about 1 year ago (Flag)

I willl not be able to make the weekend, just too much rain/clouds in the forecast for today and Sat
Have a great Bioblitz

Galen Stewart

Posted by gpstewart about 1 year ago (Flag)

I decided to do the hotel both nights but we'll still be down. Leaving from Dallas around 3:30pm so...

Posted by williampaulwhite17 about 1 year ago (Flag)

I know we’ll regret it, but we decided to opt due to rain. I’m bummed I’ll miss seeing all the wonderful discoveries!!!

Posted by txstack about 1 year ago (Flag)

Been good snake hunting. No lifers but decent diversity and abundance

Posted by williampaulwhite17 about 1 year ago (Flag)

Whew -- I'm pretty tired after an observation-filled weekend! Loads and loads of observations will be coming in the next few weeks (no doubt), so any help on ID's would be super appreciated. :) The weather looked crazy scary with rain/storms, but it actually turned out really nice -- high humidity, low winds, and loads of crickets.

If you did come, do try to get observations up in the next couple weeks -- this way, I can send the info to the WMA land managers (and their bosses!) to show that the areas are being used by us naturalists but also a whole ton of biodiversity. It's another measure of success in the land management. :)

Also, a tiny personal note -- I'm taking a touch of a hiatus of organizing these gatherings, so if you're willing/wanting to put one (or more) together for next year (Spring, summer, fall?!?), be sure to tag folks. There are several places that are left 'unexplored' or at least, fun to explore as we gather together -- the Lower Rio Grande Valley, lots of areas out west, hill country, Texarkana, Corpus, whew -- everywhere! :) I'm definitely hoping to come to the next gathering(s), but I'll take a bit of a break on organizing them.

Posted by sambiology about 1 year ago (Flag)

Thank you so much, Sam, for this bioblitz and all the others you have organized. You deserve a little break. I had a lot of fun, saw a lot of neat things. Thanks to all that pointed out critters that I would have missed otherwise.

Posted by annikaml about 1 year ago (Flag)

Thank you Sam for this gathering. It was another great time together.

Posted by connlindajo about 1 year ago (Flag)

Thanks for the event! I didn't get to do a ton of the blacklighting but still had fun

Posted by williampaulwhite17 about 1 year ago (Flag)

@sambiology Thanks Sam for organizing these. Even though I wasn't able to make it, I know everyone appreciates it. Hopefully you have been training an apprentice to pick up the slack while you're on hiatus. :)

Posted by rymcdaniel about 1 year ago (Flag)

Thank you Sam and everyone for this outstanding gathering. The many mothing stations were impressive! I enjoyed meeting you kind motherfinders. Looking forward to learning more and seeing you again.

Posted by aprilsee about 1 year ago (Flag)

I was there in spirit! Hopefully people sensed my presence.

Following up on Sam's organizational hiatus, I though it would be a good idea to make a map of potential future bioblitz locations. If folks want to suggest specific locations, I'll add them. I can also include past locations so we know where past events were held.


Posted by pfau_tarleton about 1 year ago (Flag)

@pfau_tarleton Can you please start a new/different iNat blog post for the upcoming/future/past bioblitz discussion and mapping? I think that will be really helpful. If you do so, please post a link here as a footnote.

Posted by gcwarbler about 1 year ago (Flag)

Oh, sure...good idea. I edited my post to include a link to the journal post.

Posted by pfau_tarleton about 1 year ago (Flag)

@sambiology Finally finished uploading all my observations for this iNat gathering. That area is a place I certainly need to revisit!
Thanks again for planning this gathering. Really enjoyed the weekend and seeing the folks and meeting new ones!

Posted by connlindajo about 1 year ago (Flag)

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