The greens staff at Exeter Golf and Country Club are doing their bit to help protect the bird population of the golf course this winter by refurbishing their 24 bird nesting boxes across their 120 acre estate.
Headed up by Golf Course Manager and keen ecologist John Parr, the greens team at Exeter Golf and Country Club has always taken an interest in the wildlife and bird population of the golf course but this year they have increased their efforts as part of their ongoing Environmental Policy. The refurbished nesting boxes have a 46% activity rate, which the team are now working on to improve for the year to come.
Exeter Golf and Country Club is set within a 120 acre estate with over two hundred mature trees along with over a thousand fledgling trees planted over the past few years. The Club has a tree planting scheme along with a wildlife protection plan which is being developed further in 2011.
The mature trees at Exeter Golf and Country Club are already home to a vast number of birds and wildlife. The trees include oaks, limes, silver birch, ash, London planes, horse chestnuts, sweet chestnuts, poplars, rowans and whitebeam, many spanning decades in age.
There are also over 1km of native hedges, including hawthorn, blackthorn, holly, hazel, beech and yew, all of which have characteristics to attract indigenous wildlife and birds, from stag beetles to stoats, and woodpeckers to kestrels.
John Parr, Golf Course Manager said, “Many of the trees and hedgerows at the golf course have been here for over a century and create the perfect habitat for birds and animals, along with our stream and pond. We are completely committed to developing this further as it’s a very important aspect of our responsibility as managers of this beautiful countryside environment, especially as it is located almost within the city centre.
“One of the ways we want to do this is by encouraging more wildlife and birds to the grounds as well as protecting those already here. Our bird nesting boxes help to ensure this especially over the winter months.”
Some of the bird species spotted at Exeter Golf and Country Club include treecreepers, blue tits, great tits, long tailed tits, spotted flycatchers, jays, goldcrests, wrens, blackbirds, buzzards, sparrow hawks and woodpeckers.
John Parr continues, “As well as the nesting boxes, which are already working very well, we are installing bat boxes, pond, long grass and bramble management systems, hedge laying and introducing eco-piles from logs and dead wood. The eco piles are vital to encourage more fungus which in turn attracts smaller wildlife species for instance stag beetles and doormice.
“The other species we are actively encouraging to the habitats we are protecting and creating are badgers, foxes, voles, shrews, mice, moths and butterflies, along with dragonflies and damsonflies – the presence of which indicate clean water in our pond and stream.”
In 2011, Exeter Golf and Country Club will be working in partnership with ecology and wildlife organisations to further develop their plans and help to ensure the golf course continues to be a haven for plants and wildlife, as well as the region’s golfing community.
For more information about Exeter Golf and Country Club and its environment visit http://www.exetergcc.co.uk/finest/about/environment