Beautiful, Yet Deadly

The Eastern Coral Snake is a beautifully colored creature; yet it is ranked as the second deadliest viper in the world.  We often think the rattle snake is more deadly, but it’s not.  Both the head and tail of the coral snake look much the same; both are small and rounded.  The coral snake chews on it’s victim, or hangs on, allowing for the snake to deposit more venom than snakes that strike.

This snake came out to warm itself in the sunshine as many cold-blooded creatures do after a cold snap followed by mild weather.   Never attempt to touch one of these or pick one up.  The following little poem is the best rule of thumb to know if it’s an actual coral snake or a less venomous look-alike; teach it to your children.
Red on black, venom lack;
Red on yellow, it will kill a fellow.

Enjoy our beautiful fall weather.  But stay aware!   Be watchful and wear boots.   Live life outdoors!

Easter Coral Snake; Photo by B.LaVergne, Nov 19, 2010.
Easter Coral Snake; Photo by B.LaVergne, Nov 19, 2014.


Hummingbird Census – Late Summer 2014

Hungry Hummingbirds sharing ports; Photo by B.LaVergne, Sept 2014.
Hungry Hummingbirds sharing ports; Photo by B.LaVergne, Sept 2014.

The just completed Oakridge Ranch hummingbird census has been attached to the bird group tab.   This has been an outstanding year for hummingbirds at Oakridge!   We’ve included a few pictures here for your enjoyment.  Click on any picture and enlarge it on your screen.  The one above shows more than one hummingbird drinking from the same port at once!   And one picture below is a fantastic shot of an Orchard Oriole invading a hummingbird feeder here at Oakridge. 

As of this posting the majority of hummers appears to have left the Ranch.   Let us know if you still have more than a handful… on “Leave a Reply” and keep us posted.   Keep at least one feeder filled and you may have a few birds that winter here rather than flying south.

Hummingbird feeder invader; Photo by J.D. Ray, Sept 2014.
Hummingbird feeder invaded by Orchard Oriole; Photo by J.D. Ray, Sept 2014.
Hummingbirds at Sunrise, Photo by B.LaVergne, Sept 2014.
Sunrise Hummers; Photo by B.LaVergne, Sept 2014.
Hummingbirds in the Rain; Photo by B.LaVergne, Sept 2014.
Hummingbirds in the Rain; Photo by B.LaVergne, Sept 2014.


Scouting for Food

Beautiful female Coyote, Photo by David Mitchem, Aug 2014.
Beautiful female Coyote, Photo by David Mitchem, Aug 2014.

This healthy female coyote was scouting for food around the Mitchem’s home, including checking out their cats on the porch.   Keep your small pets and children close and be aware.   Most coyote packs send out a scout or two who then call the remainder of the pack in once he/she has found available food.   There are always coyotes following whitetail deer, as well as other small animals such as the plentiful rabbits we have here at Oakridge.  

David asked me to post these pictures and remind everyone to be cautious as these were taken just off their back porch.  It’s a good idea to not leave pet food out overnight that would attract unwanted predators.   Below is another nice picture of the same coyote.    And as always, live life outdoors!

Female Coyote, Photo by David Mitchem, August 2014.
Female Coyote looking for food near the deer feeder; Photo by David Mitchem, August 2014.


Hummingbird Census, Fall 2014


Hummingbird Dinner, Photo by Beverly Olsen.
Hummingbird Dinner, Photo by Beverly Olsen.

Saddle up, folks, it’s roundup time!  Join Oakridge Ranch Wildlife Management Association (ORWMA) in a hummingbird survey.  Your participation will help us to determine more about range, distribution, favored sites and feeding habits of hummingbirds.  The survey is also a way to share information about their natural history. 

Brenda LaVergne, our Birding Chairperson, requests your participation in our  Hummingbird Census September 1 – 15, 2014. Please see the list below and begin your daily count.  This month’s focus will be hummingbirds. 

Thank you,
Larry Petter

Hummingbird Species                                               9/1-15
     (Please use tick marks in count column)


Please send your totals to by September 19th to be included in our census.

Colorado County Burn Ban in Effect

Colorado County has issued a burn ban and it’s in effect until further notice:

  •  No outdoor burning is permitted for 90 days per county ordinance.
  •  No fireworks per county ordinance.
  •  No welding without the presence of OVFD standing by with pressurized hoses for the entire time the welding is taking place per county ordinance.

Please take care of your family, your pets and your animals.   And check on your neighbors, too!

Annual August Deer Survey

COME JOIN the FUN!   ORWMA’s annual deer spotlight survey has begun.   It’s happening most Friday or Saturday nights in August.   Join your neighbors to help count the deer and spend time visiting with your neighbors.   Starting point for the count is at the Trickett’s home.   Contact Jim Trickett for information & times: 979-732-2447 or

Summer Velvet!   Join in the Annual Deer Survey.  Photo by B.LaVergne, Aug 2014.
Summer Velvet! Join in the Annual Deer Survey. Photo by B.LaVergne, Aug 2014.

You can click on any picture in this website to enlarge it for better viewing.

President’s Message, July 2014

Say goodbye to July and welcome August.  We have been very fortunate with our spring rains this year but now for a reality check. It is hot and dry again.

Many thanks to Jean Herring.  On Saturday, July 5th, ORWMA held its annual Ice Cream Social.  There were about 45 people in attendance.  Many of them were grandchildren of the land owners.  The idea of the social on the July fourth weekend hoped to bring in family members of the landowners.  It did do that, but may have left some landowners out due to out of town trips.  We welcomed two new families to the ranch at the social: the Leavesly and the Prasatik families helped us judge the ice creams in several categories.  Winners in the “Best Presentation” and “All Around Favorite” were Preston and Nelda Callendar for their fabulous strawberry.  Winners in the “Most Interesting” and “Oddest or Most Unique” categories were R.C and Ruth Lumpkin for their jalapeño/strawberry served with peanut butter cookies.

We had a great speaker in Dr. Charles Cole.  He brought in several displays of insects from this area.  Many of the adults and most of the children gathered around the displays and asked questions.  Later Dr. Cole talked about the advantages & disadvantages of insects in our area.  One interesting fact came out when Dr. Cole was asked about the green worms that fall from the trees during the spring.  It seems these worms actually make the trees lusher by forming a nodule at the site from which they hatch.  This node actually produces more areas for the leaves to sprout, so the tree has a fuller leaf coat.  The green worm eventually becomes a little white moth that birds feast on.  Although the worm is a nuisance, it actually serves a good purpose.

Along with the ice cream, we had some very tasty desserts and toppings. So remember, you do not need to prepare ice cream to come to the social and visit with your neighbors.  Hope to see you next year.

August, 2014 Deer Census Survey
Tentative dates are August 9th, 16th, 23rd, and 30th
Contact Jim Trickett 979-7312-2447 or

ORWMA annual meeting
September 20th, 4: PM at the Oakridge Community Center.
Annual dues will be collected and doe permits issued.

CHL Class sponsored by ORWMA  
Planned date is September 13th
Four hour classroom at Community Center;  Cost between $70-$75 depending how many sign up;  Range qualification here on the ranch.
We must know by August 25th to get a head count
Reply to Vernon Wallace for additional details at

Larry Petter, President-ORWMA

Preparing for the Cold

Tufted Titmouse & Chipping Sparrow at Feeder; Photo courtesy of B & D Mitchem, Jan 2014. Tufted Titmouse and Carolina Chickadee; Photo by B & D Mitchem, Jan 2014.

Red-bellied Woodpecker at Feeder; Photo by Barbara & David Mitchem, Jan 2013. Over the last few hours and into later this evening, you may see all our wildlife here at Oakridge Ranch, including the birds in these pictures, preparing for the colder weather that’s coming.  Thanks to the Mitchems for providing the above pictures.   The birds have been extremely active today and are still even now as our precipitation begins here at the South end of the ranch.  Stay warm and keep food out for your animals.   Don’t forget to check on your pipes, pets, plants and your neighbors!   And as always, live life outdoors!

President’s Message, January 2014

January 2014!   What a way to start the year!   We received 30 to 45 mph wind gusts, consecutive days of below freezing temperatures, 3 to 3.75 inches rain throughout the ranch, several stuck trucks and tractors, and now temperatures in the middle 70’s, foggy in the morning, warm in the afternoon.   So what is ahead for the New Year?

The ORWMA Committee is supporting the following events:

  • March 1-2, Wild Hog Round-Up, Hallettsville TX, Promoted by Texas Dog Hunters Association
  • March 15, Colorado County Wildlife Management Association Banquet, KC Hall, Columbus TX.
  • April 12, Oakridge Ranch WMA Spring Shrimp Boil, Community Center
  • July 5, Ice Cream Social

Details of the events above are being prepared by committee so watch your emails, the ORWMA website or mail box for more information.

Did you know Douglas Mason caught or trapped 567 hogs last year?  Add that to 50 hogs trapped by Jerry Rogers, several harvested by various landowners; that’s a lot of hogs!

David Mitchem reported that 141 deer were “checked in” this past season.

Many of us football fans probably are preparing for Super Bowl Sunday, February 2.  But did you know it is also ground hog day?   Will Punxsutawney Phil pick the winner?  Groundhog Day marks the midway point between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox.  It is a derivative from the early Christian holiday of Candlemas Day.  The holiday is commemorated when a famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, emerges from his burrow and looks for his shadow.  The tradition goes that this day is used to help determine how many weeks of winter might be left.  It is observed every year on February 2nd and was established in 1887.

If you have not kept up with our website you are certainly missing a lot———-check out our website—

Larry Petter, President-ORWMA
January, 2014

Any Albino Birds at Oakridge?

Albino Northern Cardinal; Photo provided by cousin of D.Mitchem, Dec 2013.
Albino Northern Cardinal; Photo provided by cousin of D.Mitchem, Dec 2013.

Albinos occur in all species of life.  Most are due to some mutated chromosome or gene that tells the body to produce melanin.  Usually most albino animals, birds or humans also have different colored eyes.  The lack of melanin may cause difficulty with focusing and depth perception.   Above is a picture of an albino Northern Cardinal taken near Cedar Creek Reservoir, Texas.  This bird has been coming to the feeder for around 3 months.  Has anyone seen any albino birds here at Oakridge Ranch?   Please let us know if you have and send in pictures to ORWMA at   We’d love to hear from you!