Operation Pollinator at Montrose Golf Links
Les is responsible for the course blog which features regular 'A walk on the wild side' posts updating on ecology projects being carried out and also includes wildlife sightings. A number of important initiatives undertaken by Les to date include:
- Increasing the amount of unmanaged natural grassland
- Cutting and removing grass clippings from areas of rough and treating with Rescue to thin out the sward which in time should encourage the establishment of more wild flowers
- Constructing bird boxes, an eco log pile and an insect house
- Utilising notice boards solely for ecology matters.
- In conjunction with the Tayside Biodiversity Partnership, planting a number of Kidney Vetch plants on the course on which the rare Small Blue Butterfly is reliant
Les comments “I have been interested in Operation Pollinator for a couple of years and having read what other golf courses are doing, I decided to undertake my own project this year. We have good numbers of native wild flowers growing around the two courses but Operation Pollinator has provided an opportunity to enhance this by sowing more areas. I visited Scotia seeds, only a few miles away, and chose the 'dry meadow perennial mix' which is most suitable for us. Many of the seeds in the mix were originally collected at St Cyrus nature reserve, only a couple of miles from Montrose. I also decided to include some 'cornfield annuals mix' to give a splash of colour in the first year.
The main area that I chose to sow was to the left of the 18th hole, on our smaller Broomfield course, adjacent to Rompers Nursery School. We stripped the turf and used it elsewhere, then lightly rotovated and rolled. The very cold and dry spring weather meant that we couldn’t sow the seed until the end of May. I asked the Nursery School if they would like to help and they were very keen. 6 of the children helped sow the seed and were very enthusiastic. After sowing, the area was lightly raked and rolled. Just after sowing the weather turned very dry and stayed that way throughout June and early July resulting in poor germination. Even so, we had success as you could see form the photos.
We have also sown perennial mix in areas where gorse has been removed and the ground taken back to bare sand. There are signs of young seedlings and with plans to sow more seeds, hopefully we will see success here in the coming years.”
Les has recently formed a Montrose Links ecology group. So hopefully this will ensure that ecology will remain an important part of the course management for years to come.