Call of the wild – they’re back

Tim Phillips

Have you ever stopped to think of the vast array of wild life we are privileged to view both on, off, and around the golf course? Many observe that the green grassy fairways give way to the desert and deepening wash areas teeming with wild life. We do not need to look very far to see nature at work with many four legged animals, birds and others with no legs.

Let’s begin with the aquatic group that resides in and around the lakes. We often see the egret and heron stalking the pond on No. 9 Coyote awaiting their next meal from below the surface of the water. At this time of year the wild ducks return like clockwork to their habitat on the pond of our signature hole No. 8 Quail. Our two tame ducks have held the fort all through the summer laying eggs regularly on the bank, patiently waiting the return of the wild ducks. In fact, word is that with the loss of one of the ducks, some additional local ducks have joined the mix for this winter that were hand raised in a local bath tub.

Our three courses were aptly named after often seen Roadrunners, Coyotes and the families of Quail. These specimens can be observed throughout the year on all the courses. Frequently seen in desert areas just off the fairways are the constantly burrowing ground squirrels that are often pursued by the less popular diamondback rattlesnakes and snakes that are not poisonous like the gopher snake. Jackrabbits used to be very prominent here at Quail Creek but their numbers have shrunken in recent years. They have been replaced by an endless number of white tailed rabbits who are a step away from becoming a predator’s next meal. And we have a variety of lizards that live here plus the occasional Gila Monster – the one poisonous member of the lizard family here in the Sonoran desert.

Bobcats and mountain lions are seen less frequently but still are a common sight lurking around the golf course as are white tailed deer.

New to the golf course in recent weeks this year is the arrival of a herd of close to 15 Javelina who are wreaking havoc to our fairways on Coyote holes 5, 6 and 7. These nocturnal foul smelling visitors are causing considerable damage that requires constant repair by our golf maintenance department. It is less than clear just how we rid ourselves of these recent wrecking machines.

We also live in a birds paradise – birds that sing their hearts out and others that hunt, like the hawks and vultures. We have groups of birds that nest and live in the saguaros around the golf course. The doves do not do much of anything.

All in all, the desert here is home to not only we humans but countless varieties of animals and birds. Count yourself lucky to have a daily viewing of this panorama of wildlife.