Birding and Golf
Spring is a great time for birding; and for playing golf. I really enjoy trips to Texas golf courses in the spring. The courses are in great shape and often offer wonderful birding opportunities.
In early April (Master's week for the golf fans) I spent 3 days of casual golf and casual birding at the Crown Colony Country CLub in Lufkin, Texas. Located in east Texas, Lufkin is only a hundred miles or so from the Gulf Coast. The course has a mix of pine and hardwood trees that attract both winter and nesting birds along with spring migrants.
Upon our arrival we were greeted at the door to the pro shop by a singing Carolina Wren. Nice start.
This was a family trip as opposed to hard-core birding so the trip list is fairly small. I tallied 43 species, most by voice as we enjoyed the enjoyed the beautiful surroundings of Crown Colony.
Out Villa (No. 12) had a nice view of the golf course and a few near-by trees.
Cedar Waxwings were actively feeding on the buds on this tree. I often see Cedar Waxwings soaring and moving from one area to the next. These Cedar Waxwings seemed content to stay on this tree and were there our entire visit. Eastern Bluebirds also visited the tree to feed on the buds.
This Northern Mockingbird was patrolling his domain right beside our villa. Poor photo but it shows the white in the wings the fellow was flashing to either scare up insects or warn other mockingbirds to stay away.
Pine Warblers, Northern Parula and Yellow-rumped Warblers were common and singing.
Summer Tanagers were also common and making their presence known with their calls.
I heard three woodpecker species including the Red-headed Woodpecker, which is becoming less common in many parts of the country.
The Golf Course
Crown Colony is one of the most beautiful courses I have ever played. It is fairly short but do not let that fool you. Narrow fairways, lots of water and challenging greens provide a good test for even excellent golfers.
Non-members can play the course with a $135 fee that includes cart and range balls. On-site villas are available for rent for what passes as a modest fee these days. The villas are somewhat dated, fashion wise, but are large, clean and include a full kitchen.
If one spouse is a birder and another a golfer, Crown Colony is a great place to visit. And in just a couple of hours birders can be on the Texas coast and headed for famous birding locations such as High Island.
Red-headed Woodpecker and Parula Warbler photographs © Greg Lavaty. All other photographs by Sam Crowe.
Visit the Crown Colony web site.