Texas Panhandle iNaturalist Gathering -- save dates: 29 May - 1 June, 2020

**********************Update!*********************

Save the dates: 29 May - 1 June, 2020.

Locations:
Matador Wildlife Management Area: 3036 FM 3256, Paducah, TX 79248 -- 28,183 acres
https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/hunt/wma/find_a_wma/list/?id=15
Gene Howe Wildlife Management Area: FM 2266, Canadian, TX 79014 -- 5,886 acres
https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/hunt/wma/find_a_wma/list/?id=8

We'll plan for 29 and 30 May at Matador WMA and then 31 May and 1 June at Gene Howe WMA.

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******* original message follows ******************

Hey friends,

So, iNat gatherings are the best. I really like them. It's fun to get together with fellow iNatters in an area to make loads of observations and enjoy each others' company.

We've had bioblitzes in a few different parts of TX, but not yet the panhandle. Let's change that!

Gene Howe Wildlife Management Area (5,886 acres) is relatively unexplored on iNaturalist:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?nelat=35.957063897871876&nelng=-100.2230700162466&place_id=any&swlat=35.88060303646397&swlng=-100.34990870498524

Only 2 insects (both dragonflies) have been documented there...
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?nelat=35.957063897871876&nelng=-100.2230700162466&place_id=any&swlat=35.88060303646397&swlng=-100.34990870498524&taxon_id=47158

There's bound to be more than that! I've not visited the area, but it does seem pretty interesting:
https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/hunt/wma/find_a_wma/list/?id=8

Also, Lake Meredith is not too too far away from Gene Howe WMA:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=95271
Perhaps few days here and a few days at Gene Howe.

Now, dates... I'm not really familiar with the conditions in the Panhandle... I'd think we'd shoot for a mid May time. A few dates that we should avoid: city nature challenge on 24-27 April through 1-4 May. So many a couple weekends after that 1-4 May (as many of us may be a little worn out!)... What about 15-18 May or 22-25 May???

PLEASE comment -- I need some feedback from folks that might want to attend. :)

*tagging a few folks in the comment -- please tag others that may be interested!

Posted by sambiology sambiology, August 06, 2019 21:49

Comments

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I'm going to the University of Kansas starting this fall (well, starting in a week...) and depending on when this is, I could try to sneak it into my road trip home... way too far in the future to know for sure, but I'd love to try and attend.

Posted by ryanandrews 10 months ago (Flag)
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I would think that later in May would be better. Given the latitude, Springs springs later up there than in mid- and lower latitudes in Texas. Maybe our Lubbockian contingent can offer some guidance.

Posted by gcwarbler 10 months ago (Flag)
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That is a great area, Sam. I have not spent any time on the WMA but Lake Marvin in the national grasslands is just a few miles east of the WMA and it is the site of many interesting odonate and bird records if it is a wet year. This past June the 1st Texas record of Western Red Damsel was found at Lake Marvin. At this time I think I could come up there in late May. For those of us not into camping any more, Canadian has several decent motels and restaurants. In any event, I know the general area very well for both birds and odonates but never stopped at the WMA.

Posted by greglasley 10 months ago (Flag)
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Looking forward to it! The panhandle will be a completely different experience for me.
@birdladymilam @jasmineotto

Posted by connlindajo 10 months ago (Flag)
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Sounds good. Have always meant to make it to Gene Howe, but have yet to make it.

Posted by oddfitz 10 months ago (Flag)
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Great idea, I'm game and the last half of May is good.

Posted by pynklynx 10 months ago (Flag)
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I'm interested.. Let's make sure we have some wildflowers blooming so we have insects :)

Posted by butterflies4fun 10 months ago (Flag)
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Sounds neat! I haven't really been up that way very often, but it looks like things start blooming up there about a half to a full month later than Midland (based on iNat records). If that's the case, I would suggest the later date in May. That will hopefully give a bit more time for the late spring bloomers to get going.
I almost look forward to the drive up more than the time there. A good opportunity to fill in more gaps:

Source: http://bonap.org/2015_SpecialtyMaps/Density%20Gradient%202015/original/County_Saturation.png

Posted by nathantaylor 10 months ago (Flag)
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The Panhandle will surely benefit from all-a-yall's expert attention.
You can expect.........everything to be different from what you expected! Including the weather! With luck, May can bring a few rainstorms, but not always. Some years it hits 100F, other years you're still going around in a jacket. Just choose a weekend and forge ahead full steam, but come prepared for changeability.
Those who are traveling from DFW area will be passing near to Wichita Mtns NWR in OK, which is amazing and worth a visit.
By then i will have moved away to NM (got my sights on Albuquerque, and soon), but i'm leaving with a clear conscience because some of the newer iNatters like Barry Keith (already tagged in), @kayakqueen , @jjmiller, and @jordandcochran are really doing great work here!

Posted by ellen5 10 months ago (Flag)
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Sounds good. I should be able to make it around that time.

gcwarbler, I hear fall falls earlier up that way too. :)

Posted by clay_s 10 months ago (Flag)
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I like either dates you mentioned Sam. Ready to go and I haven't even looked at the WMA yet! Sounds fun, looking forward to it!

Posted by mikef451 10 months ago (Flag)
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Hmm. Depending on my financial situation next year, I may be interested

Posted by daniel112 10 months ago (Flag)
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@sandboa
Funny, weren't we just having this discussion? LOL!

Posted by wild-about-texas 10 months ago (Flag)
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@sambiology I will try to work that end, sounds like a great time to explore the pandhandle

Galen

Posted by gpstewart 10 months ago (Flag)
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Oooh, the panhandle! I've always wanted to go out there! I think the end of may would be best! @wwrauscher @royaltyler

Posted by cosmiccat 10 months ago (Flag)
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Agreed. Mid to late May should be best. I went in April once for a week & it took me three days to thaw out! As soon as you figure out a date I’ll put it in my calendar. Lake Meredith is an interesting place... although I never saw any actual water 😆

Posted by catenatus 10 months ago (Flag)
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@ellen5 and @amzapp have been great models and mentors in the South Plains Chapter of Texas Master Naturalists; many thanks to them; Ellen will be missed but will have new places to explore in the shadows of the mountains.

I expect to be here on the South Plains in 2020; got no where else to go; hope to encounter y'all in the field.

There is a new crop of Panhandle Chapter TMNs just qualified for 2019 in the Amarillo area and at least one -- @starrgirl -- is busy on iNat. Plant specialist @jotol is in the Panhandle. @jordandcochran and @rowdius are quite expert and have been active on the South Plains and elsewhere.

Posted by thebark 10 months ago (Flag)
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I may be able to make it and would look forward to it as I have spent almost no time in the Panhandle.

Posted by scottbuckel 10 months ago (Flag)
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Sounds like a great idea. May would be good, particularly if there has been some rain. I've been to Dalhart in January and it wasn't productive. LOL
Santa Rita National Grasslands are also worth a visit. Maybe set the boundaries in the "square counties" from Yoakam to Stonewall County and then north?

Posted by sandboa 10 months ago (Flag)
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I don't have any plans for those dates, sounds fun!

Posted by k8thegr8 10 months ago (Flag)
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Count me in for sure! It seems like the consensus is late May, so I'm going to preemptively throw those dates in my calendar :D
@eminoid

Posted by wildcarrot 10 months ago (Flag)
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This is some great feedback -- thanks everyone!

I'm great with the later dates in May. I'm going to reach out to the WMA staff and to Lake Meredith staff too just to make sure that the dates would work for them. I know it's turkey season, but I'm not sure how much of the WMA will be devoted to that.

Although we'll focus on those two areas, I think anywhere and everywhere around there should be super interesting! :)

Lots more details later on, but as you're looking at next year's calendar, please toss on a late May iNat gathering!

Posted by sambiology 10 months ago (Flag)
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Sam brought up a good point on access with potential hunting, so I checked the Public Draw Hunt's site for TPWD. . Gene Howe will be closed to Public Access on the following dates for the Spring Turkey Hunt's on the following dates:
Apr 03, 2020 – Apr 05, 2020
Apr 10, 2020 – Apr 12, 2020
Apr 17, 2020 – Apr 19, 2020

So the May dates will not overlap any of the Spring Hunt closures....

Posted by oddfitz 10 months ago (Flag)
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Sam,

I loved visiting some sites in that area last summer. Lots of interesting things should be there.

For me, it would need to be the last weekend in May or first weekend of June. The middle and latter third of May are finals/finals grading/grades-submissions/end of semester, and then a research trip.

I'll make it if I can! There are a bunch of unsampled snail habitats up in that area...

Benjamin

Posted by beschwar 10 months ago (Flag)
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Posted by beschwar 10 months ago (Flag)
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I might be interested depending on when it is in May. @mchlfx keeps telling me I need to get out more.

Posted by jblinde 10 months ago (Flag)
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This sounds amazing! Unfortunately, I'm unlikely to be able to join y'all. :( I for sure can't make the earlier date, and I may have a conflict with the later date (but perhaps not). I will have to play it by ear. Please keep me in the loop: I'll make it if I can!

Sam, thanks for organizing this! :)

Posted by laurenjansensimpson 10 months ago (Flag)
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Keep me in the loop. I am extremely busy in spring but will consider it. I am looking for somewhere to go this winter, maybe the week after Christmas. I might close my business for a week and drive south for migratory birds, butterflies, and dragonflies. Is it worth the long drive to the Rio Grande Valley? or stick to the upper gulf coast? anyone else go there in winter?

Posted by royaltyler 10 months ago (Flag)
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Border counties (Starr, Cameron, etc) are great for winter birding, bugging herping etc. Everywhere else in TX not so much in my experience

Posted by catenatus 10 months ago (Flag)
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Sounds great. I'll definitely plan on going. May 22 usually ends up being the last day of school for my kids, so I wouldn't be mad if it turned into the first weekend of June ;)
@tommybarwig @lovebirder
Might be interested

Posted by bosqueaaron 10 months ago (Flag)
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Either 15-18 May or 22-25 May could work. Sounds interesting. Will pencil it in and wait for the final date.

Posted by lovebirder 10 months ago (Flag)
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I would love to attend this both to see what's out there and meet some other iNatters in person. This far out it's hard for me to know what dates will or won't work, but I would like to be kept up to date and will come if I can!

@greglasley, you mentioned tent camping. Where would be the closest place to do that?

Posted by zdufran 10 months ago (Flag)
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I'll make another vote for late May!

Posted by mikaelb 10 months ago (Flag)
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I currently don't have any plans for May, so keep me posted.

Posted by kucycads 10 months ago (Flag)
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Seems late May is preferred. I have nothing going on that I know of and would love to attend.

Posted by salticidude 10 months ago (Flag)
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You should post a link to this in the forums as well!

Posted by clay_s 10 months ago (Flag)
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Funny this should come up, Sam. We've had a request for precisely this type of bioblitz out on the Matador WMA, no dates or plans solid yet, though. Bringing @craighensley into the loop...

Posted by taniahomayoun 10 months ago (Flag)
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It's on the 2020 !!!!! calendar. From looking at the website, primitive camping is available. You must bring your own water.

Posted by itmndeborah 10 months ago (Flag)
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@taniahomayoun I've been pushing for a Matador WMA bioblitz for a while, I roam it any chance I get, the other day as a matter of fact. Would love to have a moth night there one day eventually. Keep me in the loop if anything comes to fruition.

Posted by oddfitz 10 months ago (Flag)
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Thanks for tagging me! I have no idea whether I'll be able to attend or not, I'd love to but I have to see what my college schedule looks like for spring semester first.

Posted by rynaturalist 10 months ago (Flag)
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Over 400 species have been reported from Matador WMA. https://www.inaturalist.org/places/matador-wma Been hankering to go for months.

Posted by thebark 10 months ago (Flag)
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Visited Matador spring of 2018 amazing place!

Posted by catenatus 10 months ago (Flag)
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Hey @sambiology this is Zachary. I won't be out of school til about June or so. Maybe may but who knows. I may try to make the weekend of that. I will have to see and make some arrangments before hand. Thanks for the update. I wills see what I can do. That maybe doable.

Posted by galactic_bug_man 10 months ago (Flag)
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Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Count me in also. Any date. Just say when. JBLinde is going for sure, though she doesn't know it yet. LOL. Kidnapping!

Posted by mchlfx 10 months ago (Flag)
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Yesssss! Count me in, and voting for end of May!

Posted by amzapp 10 months ago (Flag)
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Is there a nature center or something where we could plug in lights for moths after dark?

Posted by zdufran 10 months ago (Flag)
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They have a registration building that's open 24hrs. Don't know if they'll let you use the electricity.

Posted by clay_s 10 months ago (Flag)
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I'm all in with this. Most people down state don't fully realize that the Panhandle can be quite beautiful in the spring. This past May was spectacular! I agree with the timing. except considering the distances involved and the areas to be covered, 2 weekends iwould give more coverage and allow more people to participate. Either way, i welcome the attention to this area and look forward to sharing the Panhandle's hidden treasures.

Posted by jotol 10 months ago (Flag)
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Fear not. Several of us have portable batteries for mothing.

Posted by amzapp 10 months ago (Flag)
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@amzapp, my fears have abated :)

Posted by zdufran 10 months ago (Flag)
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Surely there will be an outlet or two there somewhere! I know Sam will let us know the details beforehand.

Posted by mikef451 10 months ago (Flag)
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If I can make it, I have powered many moth lights off my Tacoma, which has a 110 AC outlet in the bed. It is quite handy!

Posted by beschwar 10 months ago (Flag)
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@sambiology will be so charged up for this bioblitz that we can just plug into his...er..., sockets.

Posted by gcwarbler 10 months ago (Flag)
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Ok but im not volunteering for that one!

Posted by catenatus 10 months ago (Flag)
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Ooh! This sounds like a lot of fun! Unfortunately, I'm unable to participate - hope you all have a bunch of fun and observe like crazy!

Posted by annikaml 10 months ago (Flag)
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I'll try to bring a generator. Will know more as we approach the dates.

Posted by mchlfx 10 months ago (Flag)
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Good lord I hope I have a job by next May. If I do, I'm there. If I don't, I'll be living in my car anyway, so... uh... I guess I may as well come? *nervous laughter*

Posted by nanofishology 10 months ago (Flag)
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I would like to participate, just depends on what I'm doing a year from now... If it lands at the end of May, I suppose I could make a birthday road trip

Posted by madisong 9 months ago (Flag)
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I could do May 22-25! My school is out by then.

Posted by justjenny 9 months ago (Flag)
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I just got back from a trip to Lake Meredith. It wasn't really the best time to go, but still saw a lot of neat stuff, including two Euphorbias that are pretty rarely observed. One is really rare and only known from Palo Duro Canyon and the floodplains of the Canadian River of NM and TX. Should be an opportunity to get some lifer plants for a lot of folks.

Posted by nathantaylor 9 months ago (Flag)
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Sounds like fun! Hope I can make it.

Posted by txstack 9 months ago (Flag)
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UPDATE!!!

We've got dates! 29 May - 1 June, 2020. And official locations: Matador Wildlife Management Area and Gene Howe Wildlife Management Area. Should be a blast!

We'll plan for 29 and 30 May at Matador WMA and then 31 May and 1 June at Gene Howe WMA.

Even if you're a 'maybe,' go ahead and jot it down in your calendar. :)

Posted by sambiology 9 months ago (Flag)
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Ok! Glad the dates are set.

Posted by lovebirder 9 months ago (Flag)
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I’m supposed to be in Arizona the week before but hopefully I can swing through Matador &/or Gene Howe on my way back home if I’m not completely beat! Sounds like a blast!

Posted by catenatus 9 months ago (Flag)
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Good news! Should be good dates for both locations. Portions of Matadors 28K acres should be manageable for most vehicles, but keep in mind that when you see a "4X4 only" sign (there are many), that it means it. Lots of rough terrain and/or deep sand can ruin a day quickly. But lots of good locations for iNat-ing. For those not wanting to camp at Matador, Childress is 25 minutes away with many hotels. For those adventurous types, Paducah is 10 minutes away with a hotel converted from an old funeral parlor.

Posted by oddfitz 9 months ago (Flag)
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@bugsbatsandbugs An iNat community gathering.
@sambiology Hey Sam, I met a mutual admirer of yours at the entomology training in Georgetown last week.

Posted by connlindajo 9 months ago (Flag)
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@connlindajo I did not know you were there, I would have said hi. I was in the same building on Tuesday and I borrowed some chairs from the room with Wizzie's permission. Our Fall Training class meets downstairs.

Posted by mikef451 9 months ago (Flag)
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Yay! Those dates means I can participate the last couple of days. So happy! This sounds like an awesome BioBlitz in new territory for me.

Posted by annikaml 9 months ago (Flag)
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Posted by annikaml 9 months ago (Flag)
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I'm putting this on the calendar. @mchlfx keeps telling me I need to go to these but I've always had some offspring-related event like college orientation or graduation that conflicted. I'm intrigued by the funeral home hotel and the opportunity to find some new (at least to me) observations.

Posted by jblinde 9 months ago (Flag)
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Just a heads up (if it hasn't been mentioned before?) - to legally access the WMAs at both locations you are required to hold either a Texas Annual Public Hunting Permit ($48) or a Limited Use Permit ($12).
You can buy either online here - https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/hunt/public/annual_public_hunting/

I think it would be responsible for all participants to make sure they had at least the Limited Use Permit. If you buy it now, it is good until next August 31st I believe (so you can iNat on other WMAs in the interim!).

Posted by sandboa 9 months ago (Flag)
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@royaltyler @wwrauscher Sam set a date and location

Posted by cosmiccat 9 months ago (Flag)
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@mayfly1963 Perhaps you can join us!

Posted by connlindajo 8 months ago (Flag)
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@sambiology @annikaml - I really hope I can make it to this and I'll try really hard to make any of those dates work!

Posted by melissa_duron 8 months ago (Flag)
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@melissa_duron You probably didn't see Sam's update to the dates, which is in one of the many comments to this post:
"UPDATE!!!

We've got dates! 29 May - 1 June, 2020. And official locations: Matador Wildlife Management Area and Gene Howe Wildlife Management Area. Should be a blast!

We'll plan for 29 and 30 May at Matador WMA and then 31 May and 1 June at Gene Howe WMA."

Posted by annikaml 8 months ago (Flag)
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Just an FYI, in response to Chris @sandboa -- so we've got some special permission for this bioblitz, and we'll be with the TPWD staff on these biosurveys, so the limited use permit isn't a requirement. Everyone will be under our permit.

Nonetheless, if folks DO want to buy the hunting permit or the limited use permit, there are lots of WMA's throughout TX to explore! And hey, the funds go to a good cause. ;) You just don't have to have one for this gathering. :)

Posted by sambiology 8 months ago (Flag)
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Those four days are good dates at our end because we will have ended another school year. Putting it on the calendar to make a go of it. It's been a long time since I've driven past that area of the state/country. Will be great to stop and take a view at the land and what it offers. Not a hunter so the latter comment doesn't apply.

Posted by aguilita 8 months ago (Flag)
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Do you think since there's a group of us going, maybe we could get group rates at a hotel? :-)

Posted by justjenny 8 months ago (Flag)
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As an FYI, if anyone would like to get an early "peek" at Matador WMA, they will be having their Christmas Bird Count on Friday December the 20th this year. I'm sure they would appreciate any extra sets of eyes. I was able to assist last year and we had a total of five of us to cover the WMA's 28K acres... But it was a good day. I'll update with any other information as I hear about it.

Posted by oddfitz 7 months ago (Flag)
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Aye aye aye I hope I can make it! Havne't been able to herp Gene Howe seriously (just strike out on deer hunting there).

Posted by williampaulwhite17 7 months ago (Flag)
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Just a note to those participants considering "hoteling it" in Canadian. A few years ago I was up there in May and couldn't get a room anywhere near the WMA (oilfield workers had all the rooms and they were very pricey!). Had to drive to Perryton. Maybe book early if that's your plan.

Posted by sandboa 7 months ago (Flag)
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So looking forward to this outing! Thanks to Sam for smoothing things over for the group with WMA staff! None the less I got my LPU in pocket cause I like hunting and gathering data anyway! Well worth $12 one year statewide. @sambiology , @oddfitz Hopefully you guys can inform us on electricity options available for mothing. @annikaml do I need to bring you a camera stand yet?

I will be camping. Cheers!

Posted by mikef451 7 months ago (Flag)
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@jwn !!!! ;)

Posted by sambiology 7 months ago (Flag)
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@mikef451 I'm sure I'll have a need for a camera stand by then, if not earlier.

Posted by annikaml 7 months ago (Flag)
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I was at Matador last week assisting with management activities. I did check both camping areas and while there are mercury vapor lights close to each vault bathroom, I did not see electrical outlets. As I will be out there again soon, I will check with the staff to make sure I didn't miss anything.

If anyone has any interest in getting an early look at Matador and assisting with the Christmas Bird Count on Friday 12/20 (and maybe getting a little winter iNating in) please send me a note and I will loop you into information as we get closer to the date.

@lovebirder not sure if you were aware of these 2020 iNat Bioblitzes.

Posted by oddfitz 7 months ago (Flag)
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As one of the few you meant to mention but didn’t, @sambiology, I’m a definite maybe. I have longtime friends in Amarillo, so it would give me an extra incentive to visit them.

If you go near Lake Meredith, think about scheduling a stop at the Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument. I learned a lot about the prehistory of the Americas on that tour. (And yes, I know that chert is not directly relevant to iNat, but it’s still a site not to be missed.)

Posted by baldeagle 6 months ago (Flag)
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FWIW, Alibates is absolutely great for wildlife anyway; I've seen porcupine, pronghorn, badgers, coyotes, a solid assortment of herps (it's great for night snakes, and lined snakes, has a variety of amphibians, etc).

Posted by williampaulwhite17 6 months ago (Flag)
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Howdy all,

I've been reviewing iNat observations (mostly for the Herps of Texas project) and noticed most, if not all, of y'all tagged in this comment are fairly active iNatters in the Texas Panhandle so I wanted to make y'all aware/invite y'all to join the BioBlitz's scheduled for late May at both of the Matador and Gene Howe WMAs.

I tried to cross reference anyone previously tagged in this thread, but I may have missed some so my apologies if you've already been tagged or were aware of the event.

Save the dates: 29 May - 1 June, 2020.

Locations:
Matador Wildlife Management Area: 3036 FM 3256, Paducah, TX 79248 -- 28,183 acres
https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/hunt/wma/find_a_wma/list/?id=15
Gene Howe Wildlife Management Area: FM 2266, Canadian, TX 79014 -- 5,886 acres
https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/hunt/wma/find_a_wma/list/?id=8

We'll plan for 29 and 30 May at Matador WMA and then 31 May and 1 June at Gene Howe WMA.

@badger8181 @paul_crump @djwright68 @jameshoskins @jcm4626 @toddmontandon @brads @travisdimler @atrox77 @toby @dkwalkup @ashleytubbs @drew_harvey @fundad @croelke @kcampbell @jacobk @corey01 @rowdius @catherine_g @jordandcochran @dare2bloom @matttex26 @jbroadhead @brooksy

Posted by russellm08 6 months ago (Flag)
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Thanks for the invite! I'll plan on being there! Haven't ever ventured out to those management areas!

Posted by jacobk 6 months ago (Flag)
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We are publishing about 20 county records of herps from the eastern panhandle counties of Texas. All caught in a week in late May this year.

Posted by toby 6 months ago (Flag)
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The new Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine (December 2019) has an article about the WMAs in Texas called "Roughing It". It's a good read :)

Posted by jwn 6 months ago (Flag)
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@hannahdee33

Posted by jwn 6 months ago (Flag)
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Adding to my calendar, though don't know if I'll be able to make it.

Posted by rymcdaniel 4 months ago (Flag)
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If we're booking accommodations, do you think we'd start early on the 29th (as in, need to be there the night before)?

Posted by justjenny 4 months ago (Flag)
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Suggestions as to available motels? My pocketbook prefers the two-star type of lodging.

Posted by connlindajo 4 months ago (Flag)
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These are great questions -- I need to find out some more info and update everyone on these gatherings! Stay tuned...

Posted by sambiology 4 months ago (Flag)
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@connlindajo I can't speak to the accommodations around Gene Howe. But when I'm at Matador WMA I generally stay in Childress, 25 miles north, there are a plethora of your standard 2-star type hotels in town since 287 runs right thru town. The prices usually run between $45 to $110 a night depending on the property. As I mentioned much earlier in this thread, Paducah is 10 miles south of the WMA, but it only has the one small Hotel "The Hunters Lodge". It is a neat older building that was once a Funeral parlor, it is usually no more than $70 a night.

Posted by oddfitz 4 months ago (Flag)
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I was planning on camping, but is there a primitive campsite at Gene Howe? The website doesn't say.

Posted by kucycads 4 months ago (Flag)
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Regarding accommodations near Gene Howe. Last time I was up there (May 2011) hotel rooms were at a premium. Prices were high and availability was low presumably due to oil field exploration and the high per diem those people get. Most rooms were $100+ and there were none available in Canadian. I had to drive to Perryton to find a room in a hotel that I might have had to be generous to give two stars.
I don't know if those conditions still exist, but it might be worth anticipating and booking in advance?

Posted by sandboa 4 months ago (Flag)
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I call dibs on the dumpster behind the hotel!

Posted by catenatus 4 months ago (Flag)
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btw yes there are primitive campsites at matador (or at least there were 2 years ago)

Posted by catenatus 4 months ago (Flag)
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There is a primitive campground at Gene Howe. I can't remember if there is water there, but there is a pit toilet. Feral hogs like to visit at night, so be aware. There are motels in Canadian, but depending upon the oil and gas activity they may or may not be available or very expensive.

Posted by jotol 4 months ago (Flag)
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I just booked 5 nights in Childress at the Days Inn. very reasonable priced, averaged about $65 a night before taxes.

Posted by royaltyler 4 months ago (Flag)
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@royaltyler that's great.. But did you book this stay for these events? Matador being 25 minutes away is easy but Gene Howe is roughly 2 hours north. Canadian and Perryton are much closer options for the Gene Howe leg of this particular adventure.

Posted by oddfitz 4 months ago (Flag)
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@oddfitz Thanks. The more I look at it, the less I want to go. Those locations are difficult for out-of-towners. No decent hotels anywhere near there.

Posted by royaltyler 4 months ago (Flag)
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@emrys_fergus This is the iNaturalist gathering scheduled in the Panhandle. Hope it happens. I have been looking forward to it since last August.
So good to meet you and Carrie this morning and thanks bunches for the help.
Another reason to go is to meet Sam Kieschnick aka sambiology. He is an iNat (and TMN) powerhouse.
And ....just to meet face to face all those other great iNat folks!

Posted by connlindajo 2 months ago (Flag)
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I'm still hoping this happens as well! As I find out anything, I'll let all know. :)

Posted by sambiology 2 months ago (Flag)
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I had plans to go, but I lost my home to fire on 2/29 and now with this pandemic, I'm out. I was going to book my hotel stays that weekend, too.

Posted by daniel112 2 months ago (Flag)
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@daniel112, That's horrible that you lost your home. Hope you get everything sorted out, but I guess being in the middle of the pandemic makes everything more complicated. Really sorry!

Posted by annikaml 2 months ago (Flag)
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Not to worry if we can't go this year. Given Sam's penchant for early notification, he should be posting details of the 2026 trip any day now :)

Posted by jwn 2 months ago (Flag)
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So sorry to hear that!
I've also got my heart set on going, so unless the National Guard stops me or the WMAs shut down, I'll be there.

Posted by bosqueaaron 2 months ago (Flag)
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I share @bosqueaaron sentiments and am happy to explore alone. Daniel112, I'm truly sorry about your home and wish you the very best.

Posted by amzapp 2 months ago (Flag)
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Barring a shelter at home order, I plan on being there. That said, tomorrow at 9:00am Tarrant County has an announcement and I figure they're going to follow Dallas County's lead. That said, it does allow for walks outdoors and doesn't specify how close said outdoors must be.

Posted by clay_s 2 months ago (Flag)
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Hi All,
We just got word that, in addition to State Parks being temporarily closed to the public, camping at WMAs is now closed to everyone with the exception of permitted hunters scheduled for a hunt this spring. As of latest updates, WMAs are still open for day use and will be monitored by management staff. These bioblitzes are still some weeks away, so stay tuned for further updates... hopefully some good news.

Posted by taniahomayoun about 2 months ago (Flag)
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They've refunded my reservations for late April so it looks like they're planning on at least the rest of April.

Posted by williampaulwhite17 about 2 months ago (Flag)
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Good luck everyone.. May 29th is my birthday so if we no longer have to be quarantined, I plan on having a party. Hope you all have fun for those that go.

Posted by madisong about 2 months ago (Flag)
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@madisong mine is May 30th! We can party together!! I so hope this event will happen :)

Posted by txstack about 2 months ago (Flag)
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Just checking in to see if this might still be a go. I've taken days off from work to be able to participate and I'd like to save that time off if this is canceled. Let's hope it isn't!

Posted by tadamcochran about 2 months ago (Flag)
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I've still got it on my calendar -- REALLY hoping it still happens...

Unfortunately, I think it's one of those things that we won't know until like May if it's going to be able to happen or not. Again, I've still got it planned and my vacation day are already chiseled in stone for that weekend. I WILL be out in nature that weekend...I just hope it's a little further than my own backyard... :-/

As soon as I know anything, I'll update all.

Posted by sambiology about 2 months ago (Flag)
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Regarding what @taniahomayoun mentioned above: By late May, I'm hoping camping will be re-opened at the WMA for us commoners. I'm either car camping...or skipping the event.

Posted by gcwarbler about 2 months ago (Flag)
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Ditto on the camping! I will not be able to go if no camping is available. Still Hoping to make it all happen!

Posted by mikef451 about 2 months ago (Flag)
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Same here, camping or a no-go. :-(

Posted by annikaml about 2 months ago (Flag)
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I’ll camp or sleep in my truck or stay up all night black lighting (default button)

Posted by catenatus about 2 months ago (Flag)
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I do not have the usual camping equipment and lack any camping experience, so I have been googling "Car Camping" on the internet. I may not be the one with the proper or stylish gear, but I will be there if this event happens. Looking forward to it.
I missed the Del Rio get together and still regret it. I do not want to miss another!

Posted by connlindajo about 2 months ago (Flag)
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@eaneubauer - if this event happens (see discussion above), this is something you might be interested in.

@sambiology - I 'met' Eric on iNat recently over discussions about Baskettail IDs. He mentioned that he met @connlindajo on iNat and she introduced him to the TMN. He's been posting a bunch of neat things from Milam County (a 'hole' in iNat observations).

Posted by beschwar about 2 months ago (Flag)
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Hey all,

Just FYI -- I did get a message from the WMA folks, and it's still ok for us to come. Obviously, this is going to be a lot smaller than originally planned, but that's ok. Camping is allowed on the WMA, but of course, we need to observe the social distancing. I'll bring a cattle prod to enforce it. :)

Important: let me know as soon as you can that you're able to come. I need to have a list of names to give to the WMA folks. Also, let me know if you're planning on camping or if you'll be staying at a hotel 'nearby.' I don't plan for us to 'go out to eat' like we've done at other gatherings either, so it'll be a little more 'roughing it' than in the past.

If you aren't able to come, no worries! We'll work on another gathering soon. :)

Posted by sambiology 24 days ago (Flag)
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I still have it on my calendar, Sam.

Posted by gcwarbler 24 days ago (Flag)
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I'll have to send my regrets. Another time, I hope.

Posted by baldeagle 24 days ago (Flag)
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Yes! And I will be there for the whole time. Camping for me.

Posted by annikaml 24 days ago (Flag)
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I'm still in!! Just put me down for camping in both locations. I did get a room for the night of the 30th, but camping the night of the 29th and 31st. Looking forward to it!

Posted by tadamcochran 24 days ago (Flag)
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Unfortunately I won't be able to make it, maybe next time. Good luck everyone.

Posted by kucycads 24 days ago (Flag)
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YES! I'm in! Hotel, most likely.

Posted by amzapp 24 days ago (Flag)
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I’ll be there & camping

Posted by catenatus 24 days ago (Flag)
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I'm staying in @annikaml 's tent but she doesn't know it yet :) Assuming that doesn't work out I have hotel reservations. Looking forward to it!

Posted by jwn 24 days ago (Flag)
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@jwn 🤣

Posted by annikaml 24 days ago (Flag)
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@jwn @amzapp What hotels are you using?

Posted by connlindajo 24 days ago (Flag)
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Hi Linda Jo! Holiday Inn Express Childress and Best Western Oasis Canadian.

Posted by jwn 24 days ago (Flag)
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@sambiology I'm pending approval from my CoC. I'll probably camp.

Posted by russellm08 24 days ago (Flag)
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My husband and I will be there 5/29-5/31!! So glad it’s still a go. I have a VRBO south of Childress. Can’t wait!!

Posted by txstack 24 days ago (Flag)
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I'm so disappointed that I won't be able to make it. I was looking forward to seeing cool moths, beetles, and snakes as well as hanging out with other iNatters. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's observations though!

Posted by melissa_duron 24 days ago (Flag)
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@Sam Will see you there. Staying at hotels. Thanks for suggestions @jwn!

Posted by connlindajo 24 days ago (Flag)
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Still a go for me. Hotel for both locations.

Posted by oddfitz 23 days ago (Flag)
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I will be there Sam, camping both locations.

Posted by mikef451 23 days ago (Flag)
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@sambiology Will there be a generator? Should I bring the big mothing gear or will we just be going with UV lights?

Posted by tadamcochran 22 days ago (Flag)
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Still awaiting work schedules for that time. Hopefully I can make a couple of days!

Posted by k8thegr8 22 days ago (Flag)
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I will not be able to make it, I'm on call for work that weekend so I'm not allowed to leave Lubbock city limits. Hopefully next time though I can go!

Posted by jacobk 22 days ago (Flag)
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Looks like I won't be able to make it this time around; I'm still in Delaware keeping close to my mom who's a nurse in a high risk setting. I look forward to being back in Texas for the next get together! Find some cool spiders for me! :)

Posted by wildcarrot 22 days ago (Flag)
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@tadamcochran I will have my MV light with me and plenty of extension cord.

Posted by mikef451 22 days ago (Flag)
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Not going to be able to make it.

Posted by williampaulwhite17 22 days ago (Flag)
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If I make it I'll be camping the whole time. Still about 50/50 odds...

Posted by beschwar 22 days ago (Flag)
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@sambiology I will n ot be able to make this outing hopefully the next

Posted by gpstewart 22 days ago (Flag)
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@sambiology Sorry, but I don't feel safe coming during the pandemic. Hopefully I can make the next one.

Posted by cosmiccat 21 days ago (Flag)
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Out of an abundance of caution for myself and others, I'm not going to be coming up there. I'm disappointed, but I'd rather be safe (and keep any germs I may be carrying to myself) and wait for the situation to improve. Happy iNatting to all those who are going!

Posted by taniahomayoun 21 days ago (Flag)
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I was really hoping to come, but just too many things going on to prevent me from traveling.

Posted by scottbuckel 21 days ago (Flag)
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I out as well. Stay safe y'all

Posted by mchlfx 21 days ago (Flag)
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Chili's officially rescinded my vacation time, so I'm out :(

Posted by bosqueaaron 18 days ago (Flag)
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not going to happen for me, not entirely comfortable with traveling away from the home base yet.

Posted by jblinde 18 days ago (Flag)
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I am still hoping to come if I can pull strings to borrow capming gear from a friend or two. And get final approval from family. Are premits needed for both locations? I looked and I believe Howe does. I have mine already but just asking for others who may not?

Posted by brentano 17 days ago (Flag)
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I looked a little closer and it does state on Matador WMA site that the Limited Public Use permit is required.

Posted by brentano 17 days ago (Flag)
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I think this has already been said way up above somewhere, but you can print out the receipt for a LPU permit in the event that you don't have it in-hand by then. Here is the website.

https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/hunt/public/annual_public_hunting/

Posted by beschwar 17 days ago (Flag)
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Hey all,

First of all, totally ok if you're not able to make this gathering. It's going to be much smaller, and it will have a way different feel than all of the other gatherings we've done. The camaraderie will have to be at a distance, and that's gonna be different. No frets though -- hopefully our next gathering will be much like the ones of the past -- lots of close gatherings at the moth sheets and all.

Also, no need for any permits at this event -- everyone will be under the TPWD permit that I'll have for this gathering. Now, if you do want to purchase one, feel free to, but it's not needed for this gathering.

I'm still checking to see if there will be electricity/outlet at either location -- I've not been to either spot, so hopefully I'll get word back soonish. I'll have a couple of my own blacklights with their own power source, so hopefully we'll still be able to do some sort of black-lighting.

I'll update everyone that's planning on coming on where we can meet up and some more info as I get it. :)

Posted by sambiology 17 days ago (Flag)
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Directions to each location would be nice. ;-)

Posted by gcwarbler 17 days ago (Flag)
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I know generally where each of these WMA's is. I should have been more specific: I am asking about campground locations, rendezvous locations, times, etc.

Posted by gcwarbler 17 days ago (Flag)
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Sorry Chuck, good point. I'm very familiar with Matador and a little with Gene Howe. Sam will have to speak about meeting times, etc.

Matador WMA is easy as FM 3256 dead ends into the WMA. The headquarters is on the southside of the road leading in, and shows as the "destination" in Google and Apple maps. Just beyond the headquarters on the left (southside) is the campground that allows generator use. The main campground is at the "end" of FM 3256 as it turns into a dirt road on the northside of the road. Both locations have a basic vault composting bathroom facility (no running water)., as well as covered picnic areas.

Gene Howe is bisected by FM 2266, the headquarters is on the south side of the road approx. 5 miles east of Canadian. The campground is about 1/2 mile further east on FM 2266 on the north side of the road, it also has a basic vault composting bathroom facility.

Posted by oddfitz 17 days ago (Flag)
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I've car-camped at Lake Marvin, a few miles east of the Gene Howe WMA. That was my intention this trip but if there's a campground at the WMA, I'll be there instead.

Posted by gcwarbler 17 days ago (Flag)
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Here is some useful information on campgrounds:
https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/hunt/wma/find_a_wma/list/?id=15&activity=camping
https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/hunt/wma/find_a_wma/list/?id=8&activity=camping

They sound pretty rudimentary. I have a moth setup and a portable battery. Happy to let folks charge cell phone, camera batteries during the day (I can recharge the battery at night - hotel).

Posted by amzapp 17 days ago (Flag)
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Is anyone interested in sharing a hotel room? Primitive camping not an option for me. I need electricity.

Posted by brentano 17 days ago (Flag)
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I'm not going to be able to make it. My daughter who has been in Hawaii since January is finally coming home next week so I want to be here for that. She ended up staying 2 months longer at an eco lodge due to quarantine from her internship. https://hawaiiansanctuary.com/ . I'm sure you guys will have a great time!!!

Posted by butterflies4fun 14 days ago (Flag)
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My son and I are definitely coming. We are planning to spend several days camping and observing in the region, and will almost certainly be visiting a number of remote places across the northernmost panhandle for a day or two before this distanced shindig starts.

I will have a truck with a power inverter, and will also plan to bring a moth sheet.

Looking forward to seeing some of you and waving and speaking loudly! :-)

Benjamin

Posted by beschwar 14 days ago (Flag)
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I plan on coming and camping. Looking forward to seeing everyone!

Posted by nathantaylor 13 days ago (Flag)
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I won't be attending this bioblitz. I was looking forward to it, but its just not going to work out this time. Please, keep me advised of similar opportunities in the future! Sending my best iNat vibes to those who can attend. Find some good stuff! I'll look forward to seeing and helping identify all of the obserations.

Posted by lovebirder 12 days ago (Flag)
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Sadly, I have to be on call for the hospital. =(((((

Posted by k8thegr8 12 days ago (Flag)
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Updated journal entry with a few more details:
https://www.inaturalist.org/posts/36340-tx-panhandle-bioblitz-socially-distant-gathering-is-that-an-oxymoron

So bummed that many of you, my dear friends, can't join us. Please don't fret though -- there will be gatherings in the future, I PROMISE! :)

Everyone stay safe, healthy, and happy.

Posted by sambiology 9 days ago (Flag)
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Sadly, I am unable to attend. I was really hoping to look for some Hedeomas up in that part of the state. If you see any, don't forget to note the smell and get a good pic of the calyx! ;) Hopefully things will be back to normal the next time one of these things rolls around. Hope you guys have fun.

Posted by rymcdaniel 9 days ago (Flag)
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count me in (and I'll be camping) so please add me to your list

Posted by pynklynx 8 days ago (Flag)

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