Journal archives for June 2022

June 26, 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 June 26, 2022 02:17 AM by pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton | 74 comments | Leave a comment