Mark the calendars -- a TX bioblitz/gathering! 17-20 May 2019! Timberlake Field Station, Mills County, TX

So, what are you doing like 6 months from now? Let's gather for another fun TX bioblitz!

@pfau_tarleton had mentioned a fairly recently acquired piece of land by Tarleton State University in Mills County (central TX) that would be a nice spot for a bioblitz. Most importantly, Mills County has very few observations, so this will be a fun way to fill some gaps and document lots of stuff.

Russell Pfau has put together this document about the bioblitz/gathering:

Just in case, here it is copy and pasted:

Tarleton State University’s Timberlake Biological Field Station is an educational and research facility located on the Colorado River in the heart of Texas--midway between Austin and Abilene. The 790 acre property has approximately 2.88 miles of river frontage. Information about the facility can be found here:

Observations at the Field Station (within the polygon encompassing the property) can be found here:

The facility is correctly located on Google maps. Coordinates are 31.269722,-98.6245465.

Nearest airports: Killeen-Fort Hood Regional (64 miles away) and Austin-Bergstrom International (110 miles away)

For overnight accommodations onsite, there is plenty of room for tents, and restroom facilities with showers are at the camping area. A small bunkhouse is available, but as of now, all the bunkbeds are taken! Goldthwaite is the closest town (16 miles away) and has a couple of small-town motels. San Saba is 30 miles away with more upscale hotel accommodations and B&Bs. Most of this mileage is on gravel roads (to both Goldthwaite and San Saba), so expect the drive to San Saba to take up to an hour depending on road conditions.

Electricity is available near the camping area, which is adjacent to the river bottom.

Drugs and alcohol are strictly prohibited at the field station.

For more information, contact Russell Pfau.
iNaturalist: @pfau_tarleton

Also, in the bioblitzes of the past, we've gone to several locations, and there are some nice other spots nearby: Colorado Bend State Park and Lake Brownwood State Park aren't too too far away. But, I'm planning on staying at Timberlake to document as much as possible. Should be a blast! :)

If you want to see the bioblitz from last year, enjoy what @tiwane put together:

Please let me know if you can make it, or if you have any questions/concerns. :) Oh, and tag other folks that you want to include.

Posted by sambiology sambiology, 21 November, 2018 19:16


YESSSSSSS!!! On my calendar.

Posted by tadamcochran about 4 years ago (Flag)

Sorry to miss this Sam and all, but I will be leaving the country with my wife on the 19th of May and this just would not work for me. I'll try to be at the next one.

Posted by greglasley about 4 years ago (Flag)
Posted by mako252 about 4 years ago (Flag)

I loved my time in Texas and I'm itching to go back! it's still a bit early to be making plans but I am thinking that unlike last time I'd like to drive out there from Tucson (probably breaking it into two 6 hour driving days and staying somewhere in west Texas along the way) so if anyone else from Arizona is thinking about this I've got some free seats

Posted by psyllidhipster about 4 years ago (Flag)

I'm in as much as I can say this far away. So will there be a lottery or something for the beds? :)

Posted by brentano about 4 years ago (Flag)

Sounds great Sam! I plan on being there with family if possible. Have a few others to invite too. Will firm up the sleep stuff with family.

Posted by mikef451 about 4 years ago (Flag)

I am planning on making it. Another part of Texas I have yet to enjoy.

Posted by connlindajo about 4 years ago (Flag)

Woo Hoo! I'm in. Getting back in shape and will be ready for the challenge. Beautiful country down there. I'll be tent-camping.

Posted by mchlfx about 4 years ago (Flag)
Posted by mchlfx about 4 years ago (Flag)

@sambiology Is there electricity out there?

Posted by tadamcochran about 4 years ago (Flag)
Posted by mchlfx about 4 years ago (Flag)

Thanks for inviting me!! I will see if i can make it happen!

Posted by ellen5 about 4 years ago (Flag)

Yes! I'm definitely coming!

Posted by annikaml about 4 years ago (Flag)

As folks ask questions, I'll update the information page that Sam linked to with answers.
Bunkbeds? First come, first serve--claim your bed by making a request here.
Electricity? Yes, adjacent to the river bottom there's lots of electricity. Upland areas, no electricity.

Posted by pfau_tarleton about 4 years ago (Flag)

It sounds great. I will try to make it. Thanks for the 411 good buddy. I am getting a new camera soon so this will be a good spot to warm up on.

Posted by galactic_bug_man about 4 years ago (Flag)

It's on my calendar, I'll try to make at least one of the days.

Posted by cgritz about 4 years ago (Flag)

@pfau_tarleton I need a place to sleep... i.e. bunk bed.

Posted by connlindajo about 4 years ago (Flag)

Elizabeth and I are going to camp — but hopefully use the showers in the cabin. :)

I hope we can do some mothing at the various habitats on the property — one evening close the river, one evening ‘upland’ (we can use some of the external batteries — or maybe I can get the generator I’m asking Santa for!), and then another spot some other evening.

Looking on google satellite, it looks like there are some pretty wild spots — I’m looking forward to seeing what’s there! :)

Posted by sambiology about 4 years ago (Flag)
Posted by annikaml about 4 years ago (Flag)

I'll take a bunk :) Can't wait!
@tommybarwig you might be interested in this.

Posted by bosqueaaron about 4 years ago (Flag)

Booo hiss on the full moon that weekend, but otherwise it sounds great! I'll probably tent camp.

Posted by kimberlietx about 4 years ago (Flag)

I'll tent camp too.

Posted by annikaml about 4 years ago (Flag)

I want a bunk personally. Need to plug in to sleep.

Posted by brentano about 4 years ago (Flag)

This one I might be able to make, at least for a day or two since it is not too far from Austin.

Posted by rymcdaniel about 4 years ago (Flag)

I'd love to go, but I don't think I'll be able to make it. I've scheduled a week in Little Rock to document a new park, Rattlesnake Ridge, in mid-May.

Posted by cosmiccat about 4 years ago (Flag)

Whoo hoo! Adding it to the calendar.

Posted by amzapp about 4 years ago (Flag)

I've got it on my calendar. Sounds like a lot of fun!

Posted by nathantaylor about 4 years ago (Flag)

I'll do my best, but Mid-May is always tricky between field work and final exams. I do love BioBlitzing! :-)

Posted by beschwar about 4 years ago (Flag)

We're in and will be camping with our mobile bunks :)

Posted by itmndeborah about 4 years ago (Flag)

On my calendar, no idea what the future holds for me in May but a long weekend shouldn’t be a problem. I’ve got a tent! (Somewhere...)

Posted by nanofishology about 4 years ago (Flag)

I'm going to try to make it!

Posted by jbroadhead about 4 years ago (Flag)

I will definitely try to make it. It'll probably have to be a last minute decision for me, but I just sleep in the back of my truck. How about beer? Allowed at night or no?

Posted by eric_keith about 4 years ago (Flag)

Mary Kay and I are ALL IN! We'll probably be tent camping (??)--I haven't asked her yet!

Posted by gcwarbler about 4 years ago (Flag)

@kimberlietx Would you please re-orient the moon so that it doesn't shine on us that night?

Posted by gcwarbler about 4 years ago (Flag)

@gcwarbler I've put in a request to have that part of Texas blocked from all celestial lights on those evenings. Don't see why we can't be accommodated.

Posted by kimberlietx about 4 years ago (Flag)


Posted by annikaml about 4 years ago (Flag)

I plan on camping. My family will arrive later probably Saturday and may camp, or may hotel? Not sure. Only 2 hours away from home.

I will bring a moth light. Will look at generators/ power inverters.

@rangercasey @hstave @mammelton50 @tonja @rangerrow

@alflinn329 @aprilsee

Posted by mikef451 about 4 years ago (Flag)

I'm not sure what the time constraints look like, but we won't be far from Mason Mountain WMA, where they are reintroducing horned lizards. Maybe @sambiology can get some of us permission for a short side-trip on one of those days? :)

Posted by bosqueaaron about 4 years ago (Flag)

@bosqueaaron Google Maps suggests it would be about 2 hrs each way to get to Mason Mtn from the ranch in Mills County. I'd love to cover Mason Mtn with it's own targeted BioBlitz. @sambiology, put that one on your list!

Posted by gcwarbler about 4 years ago (Flag)

I've put it on my calendar. I plan on camping. May only be able to make it Friday night through late Sunday. @hunteryarbrough

Posted by tonja about 4 years ago (Flag)

I'm in.

Posted by hunteryarbrough about 4 years ago (Flag)

@gcwarbler Ahh, I just did a quick trip check from San Saba, didn't take into account the extra drive time to the ranch. But yes, I'll definitely be there if (when) we do one.

Posted by bosqueaaron about 4 years ago (Flag)

We have put it on the calendar and checked the temperature from last year (Lampasas in May). I melt so we may be in a motel. Woohoo!

Posted by alflinn329 about 4 years ago (Flag)

Sam, I will put this on my May calendar, and look forward to joining all

Posted by gpstewart about 4 years ago (Flag)

Yes, please, I'd like to attend and tent camp. The video from previous is wonderful and new location is enticing! And thanks to all of you who have been helping identify my observations. See you soon.

Posted by aprilsee about 4 years ago (Flag)

Love @tiwane's video!

Posted by annikaml about 4 years ago (Flag)

I have it in my calendar.

Posted by centratex about 4 years ago (Flag)

Vacation approved. I'll be there. Tent camping. Can't wait to meet new iNatr's

Posted by mchlfx about 4 years ago (Flag)

Hi Sam! My family would love to join this bioblitz (husband and 14 yr old son). We are in the Goodwater MN chapter with Mike Farley. New to blitzing but would love to learn more and it looks like you guys are experts. Sign us up!

Posted by hstave almost 4 years ago (Flag)

I'm going to try to make this one.

Posted by birdbug62 almost 4 years ago (Flag)

What's the attendee list looking at right now? I'm not much of a camping person anymore.

And if anyone can offer a lift to and from the airport, please let me know!

Posted by silversea_starsong almost 4 years ago (Flag)

@silversea_starsong, the "bunk house" filled up quickly (not many bunks). So other than tent camping, the options are motels within a 30-45 minute drive down gravel roads.

Posted by pfau_tarleton almost 4 years ago (Flag)

@silversea_starsong We are planning to stay in one of the motels and commute....hoping that will work out best for us. I am not sure how long I can manage the heat.

Posted by alflinn329 almost 4 years ago (Flag)

Pinging @entomike - Here's the next Texas iNat gathering!

Posted by nanofishology almost 4 years ago (Flag)

@silversea_starsong....Heat? In May?? It doesn't get hot in TX until June! 🤣

Posted by pfau_tarleton almost 4 years ago (Flag)

@thebark, are you up for this?

Posted by ellen5 almost 4 years ago (Flag)

@pfau_tarleton I've been out in 90-100 degrees just fine so that won't be my problem...!

Posted by silversea_starsong almost 4 years ago (Flag)

Am interested. Thanks, @ellen5 . My 2-3 man pup tent has about 20 stakes and 2 poles and is a pain to put up, which I've not bothered to do for 7 yrs. Want something small for backpacking, shake out and crawl in. Ebay, here I come.

Posted by thebark almost 4 years ago (Flag)

For you none campers, I am booked at the Red Bud Inn in Goldwaite, it seems to be a best rated small motel in the area

Posted by gpstewart almost 4 years ago (Flag)

What's the best way to get there? Austin is the nearest airport I'm guessing? I won't have a car, so if I can put out another call for carpool, that will be my own way of attending.

Posted by silversea_starsong almost 4 years ago (Flag)

There is an airport in Killeen @silversea_starsong. That's the closest one. My husband and I will be driving past the Killeen Airport on our way so we could pick you up depending on when you arrive. I'm not really sure when we are supposed to show up on Friday. We have some time to plan.

Posted by alflinn329 almost 4 years ago (Flag)

We have our tent! Hunter and I will be there camping! Looking forward to this!

Posted by tonja almost 4 years ago (Flag)

To help with folks planning their trip to Timberlake Ranch, I've added some details to the bioblitz information page. The link is at the top of this journal entry, and also here:

Please arrive around noon Friday or anytime thereafter. You can come and go all weekend. The donors of the property still reside on the property. If they're out and about, they'll welcome you with a friendly smile. The entire property is open for exploration, and you can drive along the ranch roads to the far reaches of the property. Just close any gates behind you and leave any open that are open.

Posted by pfau_tarleton almost 4 years ago (Flag)

This is killing me, but I have to miss this one. Both of my kids have out-of-town soccer tournaments (in different cities) this same weekend and hubby can't be in two places at once. Looking forward to seeing all the cool things you all find!

Posted by amzapp almost 4 years ago (Flag)

Assuming well behaved dogs are not welcome? Have not heard any policy about that, and it sure changes the extent to which i can participate

Posted by ellen5 almost 4 years ago (Flag)

@sambiology I've been tagged to do some other work that weekend so Mike and I will opt out this time. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Posted by alflinn329 almost 4 years ago (Flag)

@alflinn329 No problem Amy, Thanks!

Posted by mikef451 almost 4 years ago (Flag)

@ellen5, I'm sorry, but the director of the field station said that it's best not to bring pets.

Posted by pfau_tarleton almost 4 years ago (Flag)

Thanks for the clarification! I would have assumed this to be the case, it being a research site.
@itmndeborah , heads up!

Posted by ellen5 almost 4 years ago (Flag)

I'm still planning to go. Tent camping and should be there at noon Friday.

Posted by mchlfx almost 4 years ago (Flag)

I’ll be there and I’ll be bringing @eminoid with me! :) I can’t wait for this!

Posted by wildcarrot almost 4 years ago (Flag)

Still recovering from city nature challenge but starting to look forward to this event now. Anyone from DFW want to carpool or in other words let me ride with them?

Posted by brentano almost 4 years ago (Flag)

7 days till the Timberlake Field Station bioblitz! Spring events that I plan usually get rained out, so we'll see how this one goes. Long-term weather forecasts (aka, guesses) show a mixed bag. Unless things get severe, the show will go on. Stay tuned in here as the date approaches.

A couple of updates. There are refrigerators/freezers on site. I hope the showers will be hot (depends on our amateur plumbing skills next week when we install the tankless water heater).

Posted by pfau_tarleton almost 4 years ago (Flag)

Had a few questions:

For those of us that are planning on camping, is there room in the bunkhouses for sleeping bags on the floor? Is there any cover (pavilion or some area with a roof) that we can put some tents if it starts to pour?

What about the roads -- if they are wet, can any vehicle still manage them? Would they be too muddy for smaller town-cars?

It's great to get rain, but come on -- not when we have stuff planned! ;)

Posted by sambiology almost 4 years ago (Flag)

@sambiology Sam, I regret, that need to cancel out of next weekend's activity, Will miss seeing you (and everyone) again and will look forward to the next time.

Hope to see some extensive results!!!

Galen Stewart

Posted by gpstewart over 3 years ago (Flag)

Hello Lucky Bio Blitzers! I was so looking forward to joining this fun event but alas, my job is requiring my presence in sunny California so we cant make it! Maybe next year..
Have a great time
Holly Stave

Posted by hstave over 3 years ago (Flag)

I really hate to say this, but I'm not going to be able to make this. I look forward to seeing all the wonderful observations I'll be missing out on. Hopefully, people will find some good spurges.

Posted by nathantaylor over 3 years ago (Flag)

Looking at the forecast--50% chance of thunderstorms Sat (or Sat and Sun, depending on which forecast you look at). We're guessing that the bunkhouse can hold 14 people in sleeping bags on the floor if the weather gets rough. I don't think a tent will fit under the pavilion.

If you're planning on attending, please fill out this quick survey so I know what to expect. Thanks!

Posted by pfau_tarleton over 3 years ago (Flag)

Can someone send me the links or documents re: location, etc.... My company blocks Google docs and my personal laptop is down.

Posted by mchlfx over 3 years ago (Flag)

also, the form above is blocked. I have a tent and an SUV should things get bad. I know the area well and will be ok no matter what kind of weather happens through.

Posted by mchlfx over 3 years ago (Flag)

Mary Kay and I have only the option of tent camping and if the precip forecast is 50% or better, we may bow out or make a day trip only (e.g. Saturday).

Posted by gcwarbler over 3 years ago (Flag)

I realized that I didn't answer @sambiology 's question about the roads. Roads to the property should be well-graveled, so I don't anticipate a problem. There are two low-water crossings on CR 143 and CR 2400 coming in from the east and south, so be aware of those. They should present no problem unless there's a flash flood:
31.296715, -98.524138
31.260446, -98.500710

The water heater was installed, so there should be hot showers.

We'll park in the grassy area across from the pavilion. I'll have maps of the property at the pavilion, and I have the property divided into zones so we can keep track of where we've all been. I expect mosquitoes to be abundant--so bring repellent. Nights will be cool, so bring a jacket (and warm sleeping bags). As always, be snake aware.

Posted by pfau_tarleton over 3 years ago (Flag)

Is there any collecting at events like this? If not, I can leave my plant press stuff at home. Thanks.

Posted by rymcdaniel over 3 years ago (Flag)

@rymcdaniel, feel free to collect specimens if you'd like.

Posted by pfau_tarleton over 3 years ago (Flag)

@pfau_tarleton Any issues with me planting a trail camera for the duration of the stay. Cable locked to a tree and either separate ground stand or auger wood screw type mount into tree. Like the wooded area just north east of the pond located 1.3 km east-southeast of the pavilion.

Posted by mikef451 over 3 years ago (Flag)

@pfau_tarleton perchance is there a coffee maker on site? Maybe an outdoor grill? Just getting ducks in a row for fuel intake.

I haven't seen anything in regards to observations on our aquatic friends in the Colorado. I'm a TPWD fishing license holder, so maybe a rod and reel catch and release? Cast net? Seine net? Just a thought.

Posted by oddfitz over 3 years ago (Flag)

I plan on bringing a small hotplate for my most important coffee. Hope to boil water and french press. Will boil soups too.

Posted by mikef451 over 3 years ago (Flag)

@oddfitz I plan on bringing rod and reel and seine net.

Posted by bosqueaaron over 3 years ago (Flag)

I've updated the document linked at the very top of the post here with a few items. Trail cameras are great as is sampling the river. There's electricity at the pavilion and bunkhouse, so coffee makers and hot plates are fine. There's supposed to be a stove in the bunkhouse. And there's a propane grill.

Posted by pfau_tarleton over 3 years ago (Flag)

How early may we arrive? I was thinking I might arrive before or around noon on Friday.

Posted by tadamcochran over 3 years ago (Flag)

I'm going to try to be there by 11 am. I'd like to be there before TOO many folks show up.

Posted by pfau_tarleton over 3 years ago (Flag)

@bosqueaaron I'll bring a rod or two as well and a cast/bait net.

@pfau_tarleton thanks for the follow up info!

Posted by oddfitz over 3 years ago (Flag)

I realize that some signs or flagging would have been nice...but if you follow the google map directions you're sure to find your way. The last 3 miles or so will seem like your driving on private property. But it's not. I have to say...its amazing out here. So any critters and plants! The place is abuzz with life. The cattle guard when you enter the property has the name Johanson on a small sign.

Posted by pfau_tarleton over 3 years ago (Flag)

Have a safe and wonder filled time everyone!

Posted by aprilsee over 3 years ago (Flag)

I had a wonderful time exploring Timberlake Biological Field Station with everyone. Thanks to all for putting in so much time and effort in documenting the biological diversity of this facility and region as a whole. These observations will be a huge help towards research, education, and outreach.

Link to Timberlake Ranch in Identify mode:
Link to Timberlake Ranch in Observations mode:
Link to Timberlake Ranch in Places mode:

Posted by pfau_tarleton over 3 years ago (Flag)

Sounded fun. The only thing stopping me from coming was not finding transport to and from the airport. Sorry to all the people I pestered. Maybe the next one will be closer to civilization, and/or a bus/train route :)

Posted by silversea_starsong over 3 years ago (Flag)

Had a great time, added some new species and pointed and laughed at many.... Including myself..... Oh and also hit 10K observations.... Thanks for that!

Posted by oddfitz over 3 years ago (Flag)

It was a spectacular bioblitz! To be quite honest, it far surpassed what I was expecting -- great habitat, loads of wildflowers, and a good turnout of iNatters! I've got a whole slew of observations to edit and go through -- looking forward to seeing what everyone saw.

In the meantime, sooner before later, I'm going to put together a google poll of where and when the next Texas iNat gathering will be. Stay tuned!

Posted by sambiology over 3 years ago (Flag)

@sambiology , Sam is there a project for the Mill Co Bioblitz so that all observations show one place

Posted by gpstewart over 3 years ago (Flag)

@gpsteward, we don't have a Project but we have a Place:
Link to Timberlake Ranch in Identify mode:
Link to Timberlake Ranch in Observations mode:
Link to Timberlake Ranch in Places mode:

Posted by pfau_tarleton over 3 years ago (Flag)

A huge thank you to Russell and Sam. Such a beautiful place! If you ever consider another BB count me in.

Posted by mchlfx over 3 years ago (Flag)

What a fabulous meet-up! The place is wonderful, and hanging with all you knowledgeable nature people is pure joy. Thanks, Russell, and I hope we weren't too much trouble. :-)
I have now cropped and posted observations from 2.5 hours of my 56 hour stay. I realize that it will take some time to get them all up. :-/

Posted by annikaml over 3 years ago (Flag)

Good to see some awesome observations! As Russell mentions, be sure to look at the place:

You can look at the species that folks have already ID'ed, but as always, do double check what's been ID'ed so far. I've already goofed on MANY observations, so I'm super grateful for those that correct me.

You can filter the species too... Here are some of the plants that folks have uploaded and ID'ed so far:

Here are the moths:,47654



Posted by sambiology over 3 years ago (Flag)

I would like to thank Russell and Sam for a wonderful time. Meeting new people and some older acquaintances was fabulous. I haven't camped for probably 16-18 years. Like riding a bike, all good!

As with the city nature challenge, I found myself afterwords in a euphoric glaze of tired happiness. Not a thought of the real world turmoil among the amazing wildlife. The company was so good! We weren't ready to leave, even though all of us, were all packed up to go. We spent another hour enjoying the visit.
I can't wait to come back again!

Posted by mikef451 over 3 years ago (Flag)

Hey, Sam. That's a cute trick to get only the moths out of all Lepidoptera. I didn't know about the "without_taxon_id" feature. Pretty cool.


Posted by gcwarbler over 3 years ago (Flag)

I had a really great time seeing everyone and seeing everything out there! Thanks to Russell and Sam for making this possible. Can't wait to meet up again!
P.S. If anyone isn't tired of IDing moths yet, I still need a lot for my project:

Posted by bosqueaaron over 3 years ago (Flag)

Here are pics that I took of iNatters:

If anyone else has pics of people or landscapes that you'd like to submit, please send them my way!
via Google Drive, Dropbox, etc, or email (

Posted by pfau_tarleton over 3 years ago (Flag)

We have exceeded 4000 observations and are pushing up against 1000 different kinds of things documented. I'm working on a press release for the university. If you would like to be quoted saying something about the field station, the event, or a particular observation that you made that was exciting or unusual, please feel free to contribute. Also, look through your favorite group of organisms and see if any particular species that we documented is unusual enough to warrant mention in the article. I'm still going through and identifying things and some are still posting observations, so we may hit 1000 "species" yet. Here are the observations still needing ID (of course, not all can get to species level, but some still can be ID'd further). If you know an expert in a particular group, feel free to tag them for assistance.

Posted by pfau_tarleton over 3 years ago (Flag)

That is awesome. I will "hopefully" finish uploading the last two days of observations tonight. Life has been crazy but I am trying to get them in.

Posted by brentano over 3 years ago (Flag)

Oh man, that is incredible! Great job, everyone!!! And big thank you to Russell and Sam!

I still have 3 days worth of photos to upload... should have them up by the end of the weekend :D

Posted by wildcarrot over 3 years ago (Flag)

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