The Bay Club 0f Mattapoisett is rightfully proud of its designation as a Silver Signature Sanctuary. The designation is granted by Audubon International exclusively to those golf courses that engage in comprehensive environmental planning and sustainable long-term management. The designation ensures that nature and golf coexist to their mutual benefit.
Many birds enjoy the “edge habitat” offered by the Brad Faxon and Brad Booth designed parkland-style course where the woods meet the open fields. The ponds dotting the course also help draw waterfowl. So, there is a great deal of nature to be experienced when playing, walking, and living on the course.
LandVest broker and Bay Club resident, Joanna Dresser, says one of the first things she did after moving into the Bay Club was to erect a bird feeder. She started keeping track of the birds she saw at the feeder and came up with a decent list – Mourning Dove, Downy Woodpecker, Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Golf Finch, White-breasted Nuthatch, Song Sparrow, and Hummingbirds. She’s even had more rare visits to her feeder by Red-bellied Woodpecker, Black-and-white Warbler, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak, all beautifully marked and distinctive. This spring has brought the Baltimore Orioles back to the oranges found in many neighbors’ backyards. But the most thrilling sighting, a Cooper’s Hawk, landed right on top of the feeder, scaring away every other bird around.
The pond on the tenth hole is a favorite of our watery friends. A club favorite is the Bufflehead, a small black-and-white duck that repeatedly bobs beneath the surface to forage for food.
They are a fairly constant presence in the spring and fall, but disappear in the summer. Other pond visitors at the Bay Club include the Common Loon, American Black Duck, and Hooded Merganser. And, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret and Green Heron demonstrate that the pond is stocked with fish. Darting just above the pond to feed on flying insects are Tree Swallows and they make their homes in the nearby nesting boxes.
Some of the birds on the course are often heard first and then seen. In shrubby areas, listen for the Eastern Towhee commanding “drink your tea.” An early morning golfer might hear a Barred Owl hooting the question “who-cooks-for-you?” on the wooden bridge connecting holes 10 and 11. The Great Horned Owl has a more classic “who-who” call and has been seen in the woods near the sixth tee boxes.
There are over 300 birds that can be spotted during different times of the year throughout the South Coast. Some spend the year here, but many are just passing through during the spring and fall migratory seasons. Joanna’s list of sightings at the Bay Club is over 60. The fiftieth Bay Club bird she spotted was, symbolically enough, a Bald Eagle. She recounts that she was out for an early morning walk on the cart path on 11 when she heard the alarm call of an osprey overhead. She slowed and looked overhead and saw that the Osprey was in an aerial duel with a Bald Eagle. The smaller raptor flew away and the eagle soared above for a minute before settling onto a high branch on the pine tree by the white tee box. She was able to get a great view of the majestic eagle, an adult with the unmistakable white head and tail feathers. It was amazing and perhaps the closest she’ll come to an eagle on the golf course at the Bay Club.
To learn more about why the Bay Club of Mattapoisett is a great place to live, play, and enjoy nature, contact Joanna Dresser.