Changed in an Instant

New Hatched Monarch Butterfly; Photo by Donna Burrows, May 2013
Newly Hatched Monarch Butterfly; Photo by Donna Burrows, May 2013

“This male Monarch butterly emerged from his chrysalis this morning about 9 AM.  I caught his picture immediately after his first flight.  He is gorgeous!” – quote from Donna Burrows

Please be sure to leave plenty of host plants on your property for this beautiful creature.  One source of information to learn more about “hosting” the Monarch is www.texasbutterflyranch.com.   Thanks to Donna Burrows, ORWMA Habitat Chairperson, for the wonderful picture above.  Another good place to learn about the Monarch is www.monarchwatch.org.  Check it out and have fun!

 

Hawk Nursery at Oakridge

Red-Tailed Hawk babies are growing!  See below for an update from the Petters.  One baby moved down into the nest, but this one remained on the look-out.  Click on the picture below to enlarge it and see more color and detail on the hawk.

Growing Baby Hawks updated  May 17, 2013; Photo by L.Petter
Growing Baby Hawks updated May 17, 2013; Photo by L.Petter

 

Red-Tailed Hawks just born at Oakridge; Photo by Linda Petter, May 2013
Red-Tailed Hawks just born at Oakridge; Photo by Linda Petter, May 2013

The attached pictures were sent in to ORWMA by Larry Petter. Linda Petter was so excited to take these of new hawk babies!  The parents are the Eastern Red-tailed Hawk. This is the 3rd year in a row they have raised little ones here at Oakridge.  Both hawk parents come regularly to feed the chicks.

Red-Tailed Hawks are monogamous and are solitary nesters.  This is the most common hawk in North America.

Red-Tailed Hawks just hatched; Photo by Linda Petter, May 2013
Red-Tailed Hawks just hatched; Photo by Linda Petter, May 2013

 

New Visitor to Oakridge

This Greater Yellowlegs came fishing at our pond late this afternoon; he’s a common sandpiper.  Looks like he still has his winter plumage due to the mild temperatures we’ve had this spring.  These birds like small fish, insects and snails.  What a joy to find a new species on the Ranch!

Greater Yellowlegs; Photo by Brenda LaVergne_May2013
Greater Yellowlegs; Photo by Brenda LaVergne_May2013

 

Hidden Treasure! Update

New fawn hidden by mom; photo by Brenda LaVergne
New fawn hidden by mom; photo by Brenda LaVergne

If you’re planning on spring mowing on your property, be careful to watch out for fawns a doe may have hidden in the tall grass while she eats.  This little guy in the picture was still wet from birth when we happened on him during a hike of our place.  New life!  What a beautiful thing to behold this time of year!  And don’t forget those moms need a little extra protein during this season to help keep them healthy while nursing those little ones.

Please send your pictures and stories to ORWMA at oakridgeranchwma@gmail.com.

Young Fawn, May 8, 2013; Photo by Douglas Mason
Young Fawn, May 8, 2013; Photo by Douglas Mason

This picture of a young fawn was sent in to ORWMA by Douglas Mason.  He/she is estimated to be three to four weeks old.  Such a beautiful time of renewal here at Oakridge Ranch!

Nuisance or Necessary?

The Common Raccoon is listed as a nuisance animal by Texas Parks & Wildlife.  This mainly nocturnal animal is considered to be a carnivore, but will eat anything you offer them.  Their average weight is from 4 to 20 pounds.  They have sharp claws and teeth, are good climbers and strong swimmers and can often be aggressive and dangerous.  Raccoons adapt easily to living around humans and will often find their way into your attic or pantry.  The raccoon can be a frequent carrier of the Distemper virus, as well as Rabies.

Let us know if you have any Raccoon stories here at the Ranch.  Send your comments and pictures to us at oakridgeranchwma@gmail.com.

Common Raccoon at Deer Feeder; Photo by Gary LaVergne_2012
Common Raccoon at Deer Feeder; Photo by Gary LaVergne_2012

 

 

 

Beauty with a Bite!

Texas Bull-Nettle is often called Mala Mujer (“bad woman” in Spanish).  This perennial native wildflower is quite a beauty to behold.  But she holds a powerful bite!  The foliage is covered in tiny hairs that are actually fine needles and are filled with a sap that can cause many painful skin irritations such as rashes, burns, and infections that can last for weeks.  The plant is drought tolerant and quickly spreading.  Bull-Nettle is popular with honeybees & butterflies and many other insects.  Watch out for this wildflower and only “admire” from a distance!

Texas Bull-Nettle at Oakridge Ranch; Photo by Brenda LaVergne_2012
Texas Bull-Nettle at Oakridge Ranch; Photo by Brenda LaVergne_2012

 

Awaiting Flight Plans

Just born here at Oakridge this baby Northern Cardinal is waiting for instructions from mom & dad.  But for now, he’s resting up for his first flight!  Wish you could have seen his little heart beat moving his chest as he slept.  Cardinals make their nests about 3 -5 feel off the ground and will often reuse the same nest year after year.

See what gifts you find on your properties and share it with all of us.  Send it to ORWMA at oakridgeranchwma@gmail.com to be added to our website.

Peacefully sleeping with a sibling yet to be hatched.   Photo by Brenda LaVergne, 5-2-2013
Peacefully sleeping with a sibling yet to be hatched. Photo by Brenda LaVergne, 5-2-2013

 

 

 

President’s Message April 2013

ORWMA has a new website! Visit www.orwma.org to see the new version!  Jean, Grady and Brenda are working to add more pictures and data as quickly as possible. We hope this is something you will enjoy as we evolve! We welcome your ideas as this may help us develop a site that is informative and a pleasure to visit.

UPCOMING EVENTS

April 20th  – ORWMA Spring Banquet 2013 “This is the event we have been planning!”  We are having a shrimp boil!  Hot dogs will be available also!  Bring a chair!  Come hear our guest speaker Bill Mitchell, Chief Appraiser of Colorado County discussing AG and Wildlife exemptions. He will have a question and answer session also.

We plan to give away door prizes and have a silent auction. The theme will be “From the Ranch”.  Our wildlife committees will display their themes!  Bring a dessert to share if you can! You may bring your drink of choice. If you are a member of ORWMA or wish to join, then please come!  We will have a table available for sign-in to add new members for 2013. Get your door prize ticket also. The location is the Community Center and the time is 4:00 PM Saturday, April 20, 2013.

Special note: If you have a deer mount that was harvested in Oakridge Ranch please bring to show. We also would like to see any sheds or antlers from here! Have you found a hogs head with tusk? Bring it!

May is open with no events planned at this time.

We are excited about having our first ORWMA member social for 2013!  We can always use the help to set up tables and chairs. If you like to boil shrimp, potatoes and corn then we need you!

The ORWMA executive committee takes great pride in sending you this message. Let us know what you think, share your ideas, with us.

The following message was received by Aubrey Walton in South Korea! – “Thanks for keeping me informed!”   And “Thanks!” to Marilyn Rutledge for writing our first article for the new ORWMA website!

Larry Petter, President-ORWMA

Bobwhite Quail at Oakridge Ranch

Bobwhite Quail

By:  Marilyn Rutledge

“Bobwhite!”  The peaceful call of the Northern Bobwhite, commonly referred to as Bobwhite Quail, is a peaceful sound that echoes through the woods where these moderately-sized birds live.  The bobwhite is a ground dwelling bird with adults standing six to seven inches in height and weigh about six to seven ounces.  The male’s upper parts are reddish-brown, while the belly is pale and streaked.  There is a white stripe above the eye and a white patch framed in black on the throat.  The female looks like the male with the exception of the white patch on the throat being caramel-colored instead.  They travel in coveys of two or more families and once they pair with a mate, they stay with that mate until death.  Both parents will incubate a brood for about 24 days with the young leaving the nest shortly after hatching.  Both parents then lead the young birds to feed and care for them for about two weeks until their first flight.  They raise 1 to 2 broods of 12 to 16 eggs per year.

The bobwhite is a non-migratory, year-round resident found mostly in the eastern and mid-western United States from southern Ontario and Maine, west to southern Minnesota, South Dakota, and southeastern Wyoming, and south to the Gulf coast and eastern Mexico.  Their habitat includes active and fallow crop fields, pastures, grasslands, woodlands, and brushy areas.  The bobwhite’s diet consists of grass seeds such as ragweed, panic grass, Johnson grass, spurges, crotons, chittamwood, dayflowers, black locust, sweetgum, sunflowers, crabgrass, foxtail, bull grasses, beggar’s-tick, smartweed, oaks, pines, and ash.  In addition to grass seed, they consume legumes such as partridge pea and mild pea.  The bobwhite also enjoy eating cultivated grains such as soybeans, wheat, millet, corn, tick trefoil, grain sorghum, buckwheat, rye, cowpeas, prairie clovers, and peanuts.   Added to their diet is wild fruits such as mulberries, blackberries, bayberries, Muscadine, hackberry, plums, pokeberries, raspberries, strawberries, huckleberries, wax myrtle, grapes, rose hips, persimmons as well as berries of dogwood, sumac, poison ivy, and greenbrier.  Finally the bobwhite eat insects and arthropods such as grasshoppers, flies, aphids, spiders, ants, leafhoppers, mosquitoes, potato beetles, snails, and others.  They require daily easy access to water as well.

Since the bobwhite are ground dwelling birds, their nesting cover is normally native grasses or dense vegetation communities with open passable alleyways on or near the ground.  They avoid areas that encourage rodent populations, fire ants, and snakes as these are major predators of bobwhite nests.  The nest is a shallow depression lined with dry grasses located in grass clumps that range from 6 to 18 inches in height.  Once hatched, the brood-rearing cover differs from the nesting cover to enable movement of quail chicks.  As much as 70 percent of this area can be open with overhead concealment and a diversity of low-growing green foliage and abundant insects.  During the winter months, a woody cover where snow is abundant is preferred by the bobwhite.  Tangled thickets, dense grasses, shrubs, and other vegetation that conceal quail from predators are used as escape cover when located close to travel lanes, nesting, brood-rearing and loafing areas.

The bobwhite, once very popular and numerous, initially provided a subsistence food for settlers.  During the early 1900’s however, hunting and trapping of quail became popular as markets developed to sell them.  This practice, along with the reduction of food sources, nesting and protective covering has reduced the quail population by as much as 70 to 90 percent.  Although these birds are not typical backyard birds, in the appropriate habitat they will visit ground feeders for seeds or cracked corn as well as ground-level bird baths.  To encourage bobwhites to visit your area, one should avoid insecticide sprays and choose low shrubs for landscaping to make them feel secure.  For more information, visit the internet and search either Northern Bobwhite or Bobwhite Quail.

Bobwhite Quail_Rutledge_Mar2013