New Limited Use Permits available for sale. Richland Creek WMA update.

As of August 15th, the new Limited Use Permits are available for sale. These permits are necessary for entry into Texas Parks and Wildlife – Wildlife Management Areas, as an alternative to buying a hunting license. Details on where to purchase these permits including online purchasing is located here. State Park passes do not apply to Wildlife Management areas. The current permits are valid until August 31st. If you purchase the new permits online, the printed receipt is valid until the permit arrives via mail. PublicHuntingLands2016-2017Also you’ll receive the booklet with information on all of the WMA’s in the mail. It’s now available in PDF form. →

As far as Richland Creek WMA goes, it is very dry. The only waters are in the channels encircling the insides of the roads/levees. Last year’s floods damaged all 6 pumps used to fill the cells from the Trinity River. Those may take a little while to be replaced. Meanwhile some of the levees are being repaired by TPW. One of the levees closest to the North Unit entrance which is adjacent to Shoveler Marsh is being repaired first. Once completed, Shoveler Marsh will be filled from Richland-Chambers Reservoir. The other cells are the responsibility of Tarrant Regional Water District and will be repaired and filled once the new pumps are installed. Information on when this will happen is not available. The South Unit is open, though, and can be a good place for fall migrating passerines. Even with the dryness to the North Unit, any rains can fill the dry mud flats of the cells and can be good for shorebirds. Roads on the levees are still in good condition for the most part. Gates to Cells 2 through 4 and Cells 15 through 21 are still locked. We’ll try to keep you informed on when things get back to “normal”

Shorebirds Galore

It was rumored to be said by a well respected birder, upon his first visit to the newly expanded Richland Creek WMA, that this was not good shorebird habitat. I’m curious as to what he would say today. The water levels in most of the cells are set low enough to create many flats. Cell 13 is exceptionally active right now. Continue reading

Richland Creek WMA OPEN

Yes! The gates are open. The main roads are still in tact. The road across the Main Gut to the Navarro County side has been reinforced. Beware there is one more week of waterfowl hunting. Those waterfowl mornings are Monday, and Wednesday and Saturday until noon. The other days are hunt free. The last waterfowl hunt day will be Saturday, January 30th. There is still significant damage to some of the roads behind locked gates and the lower areas are closed off. The gates to the north woods and basins, Cells 2-4, the gates north of cells 5 & 6, and 16-21 are all still locked. We were there briefly, but had many ducks, (still not as many as in the past). But there were more Canvasback than normal, and a few Redhead. Many pelicans, gulls and terns.

Richland Creek CBC Results

The flooded Trinity River tried to wash away our Christmas Bird Count this year. But, thanks to the resilience of the 16 people who participated, we managed to hardly miss a thing. With the North Unit of Richland Creek WMA completely shut down, we lost Region I-the Freestone Co section and Region II-the Navarro Co section. And most of the South Unit was underwater, which cut off almost half of Region III. We scrambled and asked birders to switch locations. Then a last minute illness caused a little more scramble at 4:30-6:00 am count morning. Thanks guys for helping with the quick fixes. We had folks from Athens, Cedar Creek Lake, Athens, Tyler, Palestine, Blooming Grove, Arlington, Austin, and Abilene help out this New Years Eve. Continue reading