0 Wildlife at the John O' Gaunt Golf Club

Wildlife at John O'Gaunt Golf Course

By Steve Thompson, Greenkeeper at John O`Gaunt Golf Club


As a keen birder & general wildlife enthusiast it is a pleasure (most of the time!) to work outside. It is not often you are able to combine your job with your favourite hobby.

I have been working at John O`Gaunt Golf Club, near Potton, for 13 years. We have 2 x 18 hole courses with a wide variety of tree & shrub species, young and old, and a brook running through the old course. Over the years I have built up a list of bird species seen on both courses, also mammal and butterfly lists. Some birds of particular interest - a Kingfisher is resident on the old course and can be seen at any time; Hen Harrier and Red Kite have been seen on a few occasions; Butterflies - White Letter Hairstreak seen once on the Carthagena course; Mammals - Water Vole & Muntjac Deer.

About 4 years ago I put up a few small nest boxes (for blue tits etc) on the John O`Gaunt course. Over the years the number of boxes has been gradually increasing to its present number of 86, covering both courses. In 2003, 51 out of 64 boxes were used; in 2002, 50 out of 54; in 2001, 12 out of 20 were used.

In addition, an A-frame box was erected in 1996 for a barn owl. It was nested in for 2 years then the owls left and the following year it was used by a pair of kestrels. Now jackdaws are using it. An open fronted box for kestrels was erected in the same year; it was not used for the first 2 years but since then it has been used every year except one. The kestrels usually raise about three young. In 2004, they raised 4 young. A second open-fronted box for kestrels was erected in early 2003; the kestrels visited the box but did not nest in it.

Some of the small boxes used on the course have 25mm holes for Bue tits and maybe Coal tits, and 32mm holes for Great tits, Nuthatch, Sparrow and also Blue tits, and an open fronted box for the Robin.

All the small nest boxes were made using exterior plywood purchased by the club. In September 2002 some bird feeders were put up. They were placed outside the conservatory so members could easily view and enjoy them. The feeders have proved a huge success with 17 species seen around them so far. There are 4 feeders in total, 2 containing a normal seed mixture (hi-energy feeder seed), 1 contains Nyjer seed to try to attract goldfinches and 1 contains nuts. I put extra food out in the winter, such as fat balls.

jog-bird-boxes.jpgChecklist of birds seen at the John O' Gaunt Golf Club

Cormorant - all records are of fly over birds from both courses
Grey Heron - can be seen at any time but mainly on John O'Gaunt course
Mute Swan - few records (all of fly over birds)
Canada goose - usually fly over birds (1 sometimes with mallards by brook)
Greylag Goose - few records (all of fly over birds)
Mallard - sightings on both courses (usually during spring and summer)
Red Kite - few records, been seen on both sides
Hen Harrier - few records, 1 male seen on John O`Gaunt course in Dec 2002
Sparrowhawk - resident
Kestrel resident breeding
Hobby - few records
Pheasant - resident
Red-legged Partridge - 2 birds seen May 2004 on Carthagena
Moorhen - resident breeding
Oystercatcher - several records during 2004
Lapwing - all records are of fly over birdsjog-blue-tit-on-post.jpg
Woodcock - 1 record of an injured bird by 10th tee JOG 5/1/95
Curlew - 1 record, flying over 16th fairway Carthagena 14/10/94
Black-headed Gull - usually seen flying over
Lesser Black-backed Gull - usually seen flying over
Great Black-backed Gull - usually seen flying over
Herring Gull - usually seen flying over
Woodpigeon - resident
Collared Dove - resident
Stock Dove - resident
Turtle Dove - summer visitor, has been seen on both courses
Common Tern - 1 record of 4 birds flying over Carthagena course 6/6/02
Cuckoo - regular summer visitor
Tawny Owl - resident breeding
Barn Owl - resident breeding up to 1997, few records since
Short-eared Owl - 1 record, Nov 95 over 14th fairway on Carthagena course
Swift - regular summer visitor
Kingfisher - resident
Green Woodpecker - resident breeding
Great Spotted Woodpecker - resident breeding
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker - resident, not seen very often
Skylark - usually heard singing on the arrival of spring
Sand Martin - regular summer visitor
Swallow - regular summer visitor
House Martin - regular summer visitor
Tree Pipit - occasional summer visitor
Yellow Wagtail - 1 record 13/5/96 near 13th green on JOGcoursejog-woodcock.jpg
Pied Wagtail - resident
Grey Wagtail - 2 records only, both seen by the practice area
Waxwing - 1 record only on Carthagena course behind 8th green 1991
Wren - resident breeding
Dunnock - resident breeding
Robin - resident breeding
Blackbird - resident breeding
Fieldfare - regular winter visitor
Redwing - regular winter visitor
Song Thrush - not seen very often
Mistle Thrush - resident
Sedge Warbler 1 record by the brook near 6th tee
Whitethroat - regular summer visitor
Garden Warbler - regular summer visitor
Chiffchaff - regular summer visitor
Willow Warbler - regular summer visitor
Goldcrest - resident
Spotted Flycatcher - regular summer visitor
Long-tailed Tit - residentJOG-bluetits.jpg
Coal Tit - resident
Blue Tit - resident breeding
Great Tit - resident breeding
Treecreeper - resident
Jay - resident
Magpie - resident
Jackdaw resident
Rook - resident
Carrion Crow - resident
Starling - resident
House Sparrow - resident
Chaffinch - resident
Greenfinch - resident
Goldfinch - resident
Siskin - resident
Linnet - usually seen on Carthagena course in amongst the gorse
Crossbill - all records are of birds on Carthagena course
Bullfinch - resident
Yellowhammer - usually seen or heard around edge of golf course
Ring-necked Parakeet - few records

Other Birds Reported.



Birds using feeders

Rough legged Buzzard

Muntjac Deer
Water Vole
Grey Squirrel
Black Squirrel
Field mouse
Wood mouse

Small White
Large White
Small Tortoiseshell
Red Admiral
Painted Lady
Meadow Brown
Speckled Wood
Small Copper
Orange Tip
Holly Blue
White Letter Hairstreak

Blue Tit
Great Tit
Coal Tit
Great Spotted woodpecker Spotted Woodpecker
House sparrow
Sparrow Hawk
Collared Dove
Bullfinch (reportedly seen on only 2 occasions)
Long tailed Tit
Mallard Duck

Editorial Enquiries Editorial Enquiries

Contact Kerry Haywood

07973 394037

Subscribe to the Pitchcare Magazine Subscribe to the Pitchcare Magazine

You can have each and every copy of the Pitchcare magazine delivered direct to your door for just £30 a year.