Winter work & wildlife

The days are getting shorter and the nights longer but there’s still been plenty of activity on the Links over the last few weeks. The Eden Course greenkeeping team are undertaking marvellous work on their Operation Pollinator areas by cutting away any old growth to allow next season’s new flowers to come through. The process is carried out by large tractors and cutting machines thus minimising any back breaking labour which is normally associated with this kind of project. We’re looking forward to seeing the results in the spring!

Heather management is also well underway with many seeds being harvested ready for sowing back onto weaker areas. Another method we are using is to cut, mulch and collect the older and more degenerate stands of heather and storing any arisings we take away. The arisings are packed full of seed and will be redistributed at a later date. The team are working hard to keep the heather in good shape for not only wildlife but for aesthetic purposes too. Here’s Mark and Stevie enjoying the afternoon’s heather management.


In terms of birdlife here at the Home of Golf, the short eared owls and snow buntings are back.

Two short eared owls were spotted on our courses this past week; one on the Eden Course and the other was sat minding its own business on the top of one of our compost piles. These beautiful raptors make their way to the UK from Scandinavia and Iceland and will help keep our vole and mouse population in check. Four snow buntings (below) can be seen just off the coast of the Jubilee Course with more expected over the coming weeks.


Another couple of great sightings made by our Head Gardener, Malcolm Talbot, were bullfinch and hawfinch – great finds and not birds normally associated with our kind of environment. Other on course sightings includes twites, goldfinches, fieldfares and stonechats. The Eden Estuary is up to its usual high standards with Slavonian grebe, red breasted merganser, ruff and greenshank showing up.

Finally, the Links is overflowing with fungus at the moment so keep an eye out for these scarlet waxcaps which can be found to the left hand side of the 13th green of the New Course.


Words by James Hutchinson, Environmental Officer

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