Tuesday, 22 July 2014


This month I will highlight some of the insect life that can be found on the golf courses. Many of these can go unnoticed but with a closer look there are many different types to be found. A selection of other  photographs taken this month can also be seen below.

Common Blue

Common Blue
One of the most striking  butterflies to be seen on the links.
Six-spot Burnet Moth
Both the Moth and the Caterpillar are poisonous.

Cinnabar Caterpillar
The cinnabar moth lays its eggs almost entirely on the Ragwort
plant on which the caterpillar feeds. Ragwort is a poisonous plant
which can spread quickly if left alone. We spend time removing it
by hand but there are always enough plants left to ensure that these
Moths and caterpillars continue to be seen around the links.

Meadow Brown
One of Britain's most common butterflies. The females are
unusual in that they are more distinctive than the males. 

This butterfly is a common sight on the links. The name comes
from the large false eyes on the underside of all four wings.

Garden Tiger
One of the largest caterpillars to be seen on the links.


Bumble Bee

Bumble Bee
There are 25 species of Bumble Bee in the UK. Bees play an
important part in plant pollination. Unfortunately numbers of
bees have been in decline in recent years.
Soldier Beetle
These beetles are often abundant on flower heads such
as Cow Parsley.

Common Field Grasshopper
These are more often heard rather than seen but are widespread
over the two courses. Very hard to see in the grass as this photo

Seven Spot Ladybirds
Ladybirds can be seen on plants, where they feed on aphids.
This picture was taken in the long grass to the right of the 6th Medal hole.

Because of their small size, about 3-4 cm long, the only time they
 are easily spotted are when they making their way across the greens.

Britain has 40 species of orb-web spiders, which spin the disc-
shaped webs traditionally associated with spiders.
There are large numbers of spiders all over the links, it becomes
evident just how many there are in damp misty conditions when
 all the gorse bushes can be clearly seen covered in webs of all sizes.
Pied Wagtail
This Pied Wagtail and its mate can be seen around the green-
keepers sheds. They have nested behind a boarded up window
in the old cottage. The grass nest lined with feathers usually
contains 5-6 pale grey speckled dark eggs.

Sand Martin and nest tunnels

Sand Martins
A good number of Sand Martins have made nests in the dune
face close to the 6th medal tee. The nest tunnel can be as much
 as a metre deep. A feather lined nest is made ito which 4-5 pure
white eggs are laid. Unfortunately due to the unstable nature of
the dune face it is doubtful if any will successfully rear any

This summer visitor can be seen around the links. It is a member
of the Warbler family and spends the winter south of the Sahara.
It can be quite a noisy bird for its size. Its hair lined nest is usually
 sited low down in brambles, gorse etc in which it lays 4-5  pale
 buff eggs , spotted with dark brown / grey.
Since publishing the article it has been brought to my attention that the above bird may be that of a Willow Warbler and not a Whitethroat. With further help of a Scottish Wildlife Trust Ranger , she is of the opinion that it could well be a Willow Warbler.



Maiden Pink
Maiden Pink
A member of the Dianthus family, this small plant can be seen
in the rough of the seaward holes of the medal course, especially
 the 6th and 7th holes. It is quite a scarce plant in Scotland. One of
 its main strong holds appear to be on Montrose and Kinaber links.

Known as the Bluebell to most Scots, this flower can be seen
all over the links.

Also called Goats Beard, this plant attracts attention on sunny mornings
when its dandelion like flowers are out. They quickly disappear
about midday hidden within long pointed finger like bracts.

After flowering has passed large downy clocks ( seed heads )
can be seen. There are quite a few of these plants in front of
the 6th Ladies tee on the medal course.

Yellow Rattle
Yellow Rattle is sometimes known as rattle-box because of the
sound produced by the ripe seeds inside their capsules. It is a
partly parasitical plant, which fixes its roots onto the root system
of adjoining grass, and extracts water and minerals from it. 

Purple Milk -Vetch
The flowers are very like those of Clover but the leaves are
totally different, being divided into numerous leaflets covered
with soft whitish hairs.

A photo of winged seed heads. There are numerous self seeded
Sycamore saplings within the gorse bushes on the Broomfield
 course, especially around the 6th and 9th holes.
This one is pictured crossing the path at the 7th medal tee.

A family of stoats can often be seen close to the 7th medal tee.
Other sightings have been seen over the 2 courses. Hopefully
they will help to bring rabbit numbers down. In winter their
coats turn creamy white except for the tip of the tail which stays
black, they are then called ermine.

Hedgehogs are not seen very often on the links, I'm not sure if its
because they are shy and often only come out at night or that their
numbers are declining in general. This one was spotted close to the
14th medal tee.
Next Month I will  explain some of the measures that we have taken to try and increase the patches of Heather growing on the links.

Les Rae
First Assistant
Montrose Golf Links Limited.