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Stanford Golf Course Bird List
A group of like-minded Stanford community members in 2002 compiled the following list of bird species observed at the Stanford Golf Course. Here is their report: "We continue to receive new reports of additional species that have been sighted at the golf course. We believe there are numerous others that have yet to be reported; particularly in the areas of migratory songbirds such as warblers, flycatchers, vireos, and sparrows." A total of 87 bird species as of late 2002 was observed on the golf course.
Bird & Wildlife News from Sept 2000 to Dec 2002
December 16, 2002:
Fred Templin and David Huston from Acterra met to perform seasonal maintenance on the Barn Owl nest box behind the #1 green. David's 30ft ladder was just long enough to reach, allowing Fred to climb up to clean out the box. Fred found that the current occupant was a rather large and perturbed raccoon, but the box had signs of past owl occupation (i.e., owl pellets on the floor in the entrance). Other owl signs included pellets on the ground near the base of the tree, and Ken Williams and Ruben of the maintenance office (who were also present) both reported past sightings of Barn Owls near the box. Current plan (post-holidays) is for Ken to ask exterminators to chase Racoon from box, then for Fred, David and Boy Scout volunteers to move box to a new location, i.e., hung from a limb so that the Racoons can't regain access. Follow-up plans call for 1-4 additional boxes installed on trees in maintenance area; activity wiil be coordinated with maintenance staff for access and David Huston for local Boy Scout troop participation.
June 30, 2002:
A Green Heron was flushed from a thicket below the bridge on the 12th hole by a female Wood Duck and her chick. Reported by Rob Colwell.
June 10, 2002:
Fred and Melanie Templin spotted a Black-Crowned Night Heron in the creek below the footbridge next to the #8 green.
May 14, 2002:
The spring nesting season is in full swing on the golf curse. Already, the nest box trail has produced 12 Oak Titmouse fledglings and there are numerous Western Bluebird nestlings waiting in the wings. The Wood Duck boxes along San Francisquito Creek are also starting to show activity. Three of the five boxes have active Wood Duck and/or Hooded Merganser nests; ducklings should start to appear toward the end of the month.
April 6, 2002:
Fred Templin encountered a Bullock's Oriole, seen flying from the creekside foliage in front of the #3 tee into the taller trees to the right of the tee. Surprisingly, this is the first Bullock's Oriole sighting reported on the golf course and brings the species count up to 85.
February 13, 2002:
Male and female Hooded Mergansers were under the bridge between the 2nd green and the 3rd tee on Saturday, and under the bridge between the 4th tee and the 3rd green this afternoon (Wednesday). Reported by Rob Colwell.
May 15, 2001:
Bill Kirk, along with his son John, report seeing Forster's Terns in flight over the golf course. Along with Bill's earlier contribution of the American Bittern, this makes the Kirk family the reigning "Kings of the Accidentals"! (Accidentals are species spotted in locations far from their native habitats.)
May 9, 2001:
Many signs of successful nesting for species with specific habitat requirements. A mother Wood Duck with chicks was seen swimming for cover beneath the bridge next to the #3 green. Three chicks were spotted, but others may already have taken cover beneath the stream-side foliage as we crossed the bridge. The sighting took place within reasonable distance of a wood duck nest box erected and maintained by Red Pendleton; this may have been the first successful wood duck nesting in one of Red's boxes.
Additionally, a large (4'-5') Gopher Snake was seen sunning itself on the 10th green. The golfer's first priority of "keep it below the hole" gave way to "keep it below the snake". A well-intentioned marshall stood watch over the snake to protect it from errant shots until it departed at a leisurely pace. A nesting bluebird in the box next to the #11 tee seemed blissfully unaware of the nearby serpentine predator. In general, bluebird nest box production seems to be very robust this year. Finally, a Cooper's Hawk with a small bird in its talons was spotted in the large tree to the left of the #14 green amid the raucous protests of a number of scrub jays. The jays finally held sway, and the Coopers Hawk left to find a solitary perch to enjoy its meal.
Dec. 26, 2000:
Several sightings of Hooded Mergansers have been reported over the past several weeks. These gorgeous little ducks require the heavily wooded riparian habitat afforded by San Francisquito Creek. Keep an eye out for them while crossing the bridges at #12 and #14. Those reporting the Hooded Mergansers include Don Nielsen, Bob Nolte, Fred Templin and Lee Keely. Also seen on December 26th was a White- tailed Kite doing the classic "kite hover" near the 11th tee area.
Nov. 18, 2000:
Winter migrants are making their appearance. A Townsend's Warbler was seen in an oak tree to the left of the 7th fairway on Nov. 18th, bringing the current species count to 80. Additionally, the Wood Ducks are sticking around on the long pool above the bridge to the right of the 8th green.
Stanford Golf Course birding tip:
These chilly mornings when the golf course is in frost delay are an excellent time to go birding!. But please; check in with the pro shop first and stay on the cart paths to avoid damaging the frost-covered grass. Needless to say, you must give way to golfers when play begins.
Nov. 11, 2000:
During a 30 min bird walk, Fred Templin spotted the following around the 8th green and 9th tee:
Stanford Golf Course birding tip:
Approach bridges quietly and scan both up and downstream for waterfowl before crossing. You may be rewarded with the sighting of a beautiful Wood Duck or Hooded Merganser!
Nov. 4, 2000:
Rob Colwell reports three new species from his own golf course bird list. New additions to the list from Rob's report are the Golden Eagle, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, and Common Merganser. With Rob's additions, the golf couse species count moves to 79.
Nov. 1, 2000:
Bob Nolte and others found a California Tiger Salamander in the golf course parking lot and moved it to safety away from the path of vehicles. This find may be an indication that the salamanders are beginning their annual migration from the golf course upland slopes down to Lake Lagunita.
Nov. 1, 2000:
Bill Kirk reports seeing an American Bittern in a tree next to the 7th hole. Follow-up literature studies confirmed that Bill's sighting was unquestionably correct, and a recent report from the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society mentions another American Bittern sighting in the area which it calls the "first sighting of the season". American Bitterns are uncommon regionally, and to see one up in a tree is rarer still. The golf course habitat could not be classified as prime Bittern habitat, but Bill's sighting highlights the important role the golf course serves as a link in the seasonal migration chain for such species. The American Bittern brings the golf course species count up to 76.
September 16, 2000:
Phil Kelly reports seeing Wild Turkeys on the 12th and 13th fairways, bringing the species count up to 75. Wild Turkeys are making a comeback in the region in general, and the San Francisquito Creek riparian corridor along with other cover along the 12th and 13th holes seems like ideal habitat for them. Perhaps we will see a viable population of turkeys take hold in the coming years.
This compilation of species & news was provided by Fred L. Templin and member David E. Wilkins
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