Golf courses are great places to spot birds, and since I am a much better birder than golfer, my rounds’ main focus usually switches to birding. Last week I was at Charles T. Myers Golf Course off Harrisburg Road, where varied habitats result in diverse bird species. Today I’ll give you 18 observations, one for each of the 18 holes of the course. I teed off on hole 12.
12: A Carolina wren greeted us at the tee box with a scolding chatter. A bit fussy for being disturbed early in the morning.
13: A pair of brown-headed nuthatches, a species of concern, flew over the tee box.
14: I enjoyed watching a lone chimney swift gliding over the small pond, periodically splashing down as it drank on the fly.
15: A pair of Eastern kingbirds danced over the green trying to corral some large ground bees. This species is known for its fondness of bees.
16: Three juvenile brown-headed cowbirds foraged in the mowed fairway. I wondered which species was brood parasitized and ending up raising the cowbird chicks.
17: A voice from the treetops; the breep of a great crested flycatcher.
18: A constantly singing, beautiful male orchard oriole. One possible victim of the brown-headed cowbird.
1: A pair of brown thrashers half flying, half running after each other in the shrubbery around the clubhouse.
2: A pair of barn swallows gathering mud from a large puddle by the cart path. The mud is used to mold their nests in the cart garage.
3: Both vultures, black and turkey, getting off their roosts and catching the mid-morning thermals.
4: More water. I always look forward to hearing the rattle of belted kingfisher here.
5: A red-shouldered hawk called from up high. They are probably feeding fledged youngsters by now.
6: A flyover green heron, giving its characteristic “queue” call
7: Two killdeer startled by a passing cart flew off screaming their name over and over.
8: A red-eyed vireo sang from the canopy. Another potential victim for the cowbird.
9: American goldfinches frolicking in the small trees along the fairway. Carefree, they won’t even begin nesting for another month.
10: Another potential host for the cowbirds, this time a singing male indigo bunting perched atop a low shrub.
11: My ball lying in the fairway was attacked by a fish crow that unsuccessfully tried to carry it away. I’m not kidding.
Taylor Piephoff is a naturalist with an interest in the birds and wildlife of the southern Piedmont: PiephoffT@aol.com.