Nature Notes May 2021

Sickleholme Nature Notes

Late May to early July is the season that the French call “Floreal” and is a part of the year when we expect to see our course at its best. The colour is not just in our wildflowers, however, since many of our trees can be very showy too. Amongst my favourites is the Whitebeam, a name derived from the whiteness of the emerging leaves and their silvery undersides. We have two splendid examples behind the 7th green (see image).

The management of our trees can be complex and there will always be differing views about planting only native species or including specimen trees from elsewhere. Over the years, individual members have donated trees and we can boast a pretty wide range. Even so, it is encouraging to hear of discussions that would see more planted, and I am particularly enthusiastic about the possibility of new trees along the boundary fence to the left of the 9th hole and of adding to the small plantation a little further on.

Elsewhere, some of the effort may be in replacing old or distressed trees and the conifers to the rear of the 17th green, which are not native trees, look as if they are dying back now. Much of the wood removed need not leave the course, and one usage is the creation of invertebrate banks, or “Bug Hotels” as Matt has labelled them (see second image). These will see more and more life as the wood rots and are a huge help to both pollinators and the insects that feed our birds and other creatures. The protection of pollinators is now a matter of national concern, and we all need to do our bit. As example, for the last six years Matt has delayed spraying the fairways and semi until further into the year, so that there is an early food source for bees and other pollinators.

Next month, I will endeavour to review the butterfly sightings, breeding bird updates and anything else that you care to let me know about. There are also a couple of proposed surveys which we hope to complete over the next two months.

Bryan Barnacle