April 04, 2021

A Regional Superbioblitz Umbrella Project

I am thinking about continuing the Llano Estacado Spring umbrella bioblitz project again this year, even though now both Amarillo and Lubbock are in the City Nature Challenge. West Texas and Eastern New Mexico bounded by the Pecos and Canadian rivers is a huge area that gets little respect ("there ain't nuttin' out there') and this is a way of presenting what we have and comparing ourselves to other parts of Texas and the Southwest.

If I could I would cut out Amarillo and Lubbock so observers from the Permian Basin, San Angelo, and Eastern New Mexico could avoid being swamped by observations from the bigger cities, but it is difficult to impossible to carve up the iNat "place" map that way.


Posted on April 04, 2021 20:09 by thebark thebark | 0 comments | Leave a comment

February 18, 2021

The Missing Among Us

I haven't been active here lately and was shocked to hear in the Facebook group Tex Birds that Greg Lasley has died. https://www.inaturalist.org/posts/46021-rest-in-peace-greg

How many of us have been lost lately?

So much has happened in just a year.

I have hundreds of observations to post and then the city bioblitzes coming in Spring to get ready for. (Plan to contribute/compete in both the Amarillo and Lubbock city bioblitzes.) Got to get cracking! None knows the day or the hour when that is no longer possible.

Posted on February 18, 2021 21:41 by thebark thebark | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 27, 2020


Amarillo has been a big surprise for me. Such an industrial city, but as much or more than Lubbock there are accessible places where a tract looks minimally disturbed by humans and the plants take you back to 1850 prairie.

Many more parts of Amarillo have fallen into a weedy neglect that is interesting in itself.

Posted on April 27, 2020 16:24 by thebark thebark | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 16, 2020

More Escobaria missouriensis!

Two years ago I was thrilled to find Escobaria missouriensis in Yellowhouse Canyon and to learn to identify it, and am just as excited to have found more in a location I never scouted before. I have started an "Escobaria missouriensis in Lubbock County" project to gather observations on one page: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/missouri-foxtail-cactus-escobaria-missouriensis-in-lubbock-county-texas

The pioneering iNat observation of this species in Lubbock was made by @ellen5 in April, 2015: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/2267183, where the conversation with nathantaylor over identification is preserved. My observations began 3 years later, at a different location. I had encountered one in the early 2000s on the highest point South of Dunbar Lake but did not identify or photograph it.

42 separate cacti were photographed today and I only explored part of the area, which is the most accessible of all the locations where I have encountered this species. Likely there are at least 20 more individuals nearby.

As usual they seem to occur along vertical streaks from a flattish caliche ridge down the slope. It is not clear that the seeds of an older plant proceed downhill by gravity because sometimes smaller individuals lie uphill from a larger presumably older one.

In another month or less E. missouriensis should be in bloom.

This makes six small areas where I have found E. missouriensis on the heights along Yellowhouse Canyon. Where else might they occur? Unexplored places are in the ridges south of Broadway on private or posted property, the northeastern part of Lubbock Lake Landmark, the private lots overlooking Buddy Holly Rec Area on the
east, the central heights South of Dunbar Lake, the east edges of Meadowbrook golf course South of Purina Mills, and the canyon east of Lubbock.

Posted on March 16, 2020 22:38 by thebark thebark | 1 comment | Leave a comment

February 05, 2020

Geographic Ignorance

It is not only a certain head of state who thinks that Baltic = Balkans or a certain wannabe head of state who thought that Africa was a nation that is geographically challenged; many of us are too, and about our own region.

My pet geographic peeve right now concerns the belief that Lubbock is in the Texas Panhandle; it is not. The Panhandle begins where it begins on the map, roughly on a line marked by Tulia. The Panhandle Project on iNat has puzzling outliers in it because of geographic misbelief.

The term Llano Estacado probably does not include the Canadian River Breaks or other canyons cutting into it such as Palo Duro or Tule Canyon and maybe not Yellowhouse Canyon but I and others assume it does.

Sure, Texas is weird. "North Texas" ought to be the Panhandle but isn't. We in Lubbock think we are in West Texas while there is a real West Texas out toward El Paso and neither are to be confused with West, Texas.

Posted on February 05, 2020 15:41 by thebark thebark | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 20, 2019

INat's "Year in Review" Feature

The "year in review" for each participant here on iNaturalist is a neat feature. Love the collage of photos. https://www.inaturalist.org/stats/2019/thebark

Should break 2,000 for the calendar year, insh'allah. Got 100+ observations from June-July still not uploaded and there are a lot of new birds to see here in the bleak of winter, and another Christmas Bird Count comes up in a week at White River Lake. Happy Solstice btw,

Numbers are not the point, but they are a game within the game and motivating in themselves. For over 2 months this year I posted hardly an observation, can't say exactly why, general funk related to health perhaps, accidie or creeping apathy in all things, but I am back in the game slower but steady.

Posted on December 20, 2019 07:33 by thebark thebark | 1 comment | Leave a comment

June 19, 2019

Northeast Edge of Lubbock Lake Landmark

June 12 I was exploring this area with ellen5 and didn't recognize it from our 2018 bioblitz. James' Prairie Clover was not where where I found it a year before and other plants were gone and the cliffside looked different. The REASON, I now think, is erosion. The city has paved a large parking lot adjoining LLL land and with the flat hard surface of the soccer fields, in heavy rain the adjoining edges of Yellowhouse draw surely look like Niagara Falls.

I think this area along the NE cliffside is critical to explore before more is washed away, and regret not figuring this out sooner.

@ellen5 , @kdhopper

Posted on June 19, 2019 16:27 by thebark thebark | 5 comments | Leave a comment

Tahoka Lake Area defined

Just defined a place on iNat called "Tahoka Lake Area," including not only Tahoka Lake Pasture but the entire lake and the rugged land surrounding it on all sides. Many observations from that area! https://www.inaturalist.org/places/tahoka-lake-area Next step, to create a collection project.

Posted on June 19, 2019 15:27 by thebark thebark | 0 comments | Leave a comment

June 10, 2019

Got Game? It's Bioblitz Time

Time to get competitive! The Lubbock Lake Landmark 8-day bioblitz is already here. https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/4th-annual-lubbock-lake-landmark-bioblitz I figure the week is good for 300 observations. Who's game? I'll buy the winner a beer if it ain't me.

Posted on June 10, 2019 00:42 by thebark thebark | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 18, 2019

Excellent Wildflower Preserve

"Preserve" might be too strong a word. Think it is city land. Tax office land maybe. Ought to check and see if LCAD has it for sale. "It" is a 2 square block parcel of overgrown land starting immediately south of the road at south Cesar Chavez Dr and MLJ Jr Blvd. It climbs the canyon wall and continues past the canyon rim. Vegetation hip-high in places. Butterflies galore. I took a walk there today to clear my head and ended up taking 115 photos in under an hour. When I go back I'll wear my knee high chippawa snake boots, not that I saw any snakes today. Too much of the walk I could not see what I was stepping on. Might have caught the merest glimpse of a lizard that was much too fast for me.

Posted on May 18, 2019 03:38 by thebark thebark | 1 comment | Leave a comment