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2021 Monarch Season

Wednesday, 20. October 2021 11:58

The monarch teams have just wrapped up a fascinating season – raising, tagging and releasing 196 monarch butterflies – 137 females and 59 males (and “no”, we have no idea why such a discrepancy between males and females – more to research! )

The monarch season in Mattapoisett started out unusually strong.  By early July, Bay Club members were remarking on the many monarchs on the course and in gardens. Our collecting and tagging teams, which hadn’t expected to be needed until August, hastily assembled, locations were picked for our three screened in enclosures and the procedures of raising the butterflies began.  And then we realized our mistake.  The butterflies we were raising were part of the generation that precedes the migrators. These were their parents.  And we learned that there is a significant difference between the two generations.  The earlier monarchs, which are slightly smaller, mate, lay eggs and die within 6 weeks.  The later ones suppress the urge to mate for 6 months(!) seek forage to build up strength for their journey, familiarize themselves with the GPS located in their two antennae and, if all goes well, do not die until after their flight to Mexico and back to Texas, some 6 months later.

But it turned out that our mistake was fortuitous. Most of our team members had had no previous experience with monarchs, let alone with feeding and tagging, so raising this early generation was just the experience we needed to prepare us for the work to come. The article Making the Bay Club into a Butterfly Waystation posted in August 2020 details the specifics of the raising experience, so we won’t repeat that information here.  But we will acknowledge two valuable byproducts of the three and a half months of concentrated effort – first, the educational benefits available to Bay Club members (and their visitors) and second, the friendships that resulted from working together to raise the butterflies.

Because of their locations, the three enclosures received a host of visitors.  Tennis and Croquet players passed by a cage every day.  Golfers finished nine holes at the Halfway Cafe cage and anyone on foot or in a golf cart on Bay Club Drive was bound to run into a team member tending to the caterpillars near Hole 17.  In their golf sessions, Pee Wee campers begged John and Ben for golf cart visits to the enclosures, where they took turns reading out loud from the Monarch Butterfly signs and trying to spot caterpillars and chrysalides on the milkweed foliage.  And some interested individuals made daily visits to look for changes.  The following was written by a young girl who lives near the 17th Hole enclosure. 

All that is left for the 2021 monarch teams is to send Monarch Watch the specifics of each of the 196 releases – the tag number, the date and location of release, and the gender of the butterfly.  Monarch Watch, a University of Kansas organization which collects monarch data from all the states East of the Rockies, maintains an arrangement with Mexicans living near the migrators’ destination – the Oxymel Fir trees in the mountains of Central Mexico.  For each tagged butterfly found in Mexico, the finder, usually a Mexican native, receives $5.  The payment provides the local villagers incentive to search for tagged monarchs and discourages the natives from lumbering the forest which is crucial to the future of the butterflies. 

In late winter 2022 Monarch Watch will post and continuously update a list of all the tagged butterflies that have been recovered.   Considering the odds against a tiny butterfly completing this journey of over 2,000 miles, it is quite a thrill to discover one’s number on that list.  Last year a Bay Club butterfly released on September 6 was discovered in El Rosario, Mexico.  Will any of ours make it again this year – who knows?

The Bay Club wants to thank everyone who participated in the 2021 Monarch Project as well as all Bay Club members for their enthusiasm and interest.


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Eleventh Hole Honey Bees

Wednesday, 20. October 2021 10:32

Despite favorable weather and abundant flowers, the Eleventh Hole honeybees had only a so-so year.
The success of a beehive depends on several factors – the most important being the existence and vitality of the resident queen.  In our case, this past summer started off with queens in all three hives (sometimes the queen dies over the winter), but all three were old and no longer laying the 2,000 plus eggs daily that lead to good honey production.  Even when her pattern of egg laying becomes spotty and the hive population is dwindling, it’s easy to put off pinching (killing) the queen.  Eventually the worker bees will replace her through a process called “supersedure”, but often by then the hive is weak and barely able to make honey for their next winter, let alone providing a surplus for the beekeeper. 

So, by August it was clear we had to replace all three queens.  The bees were not going to do it for us and, with winter coming, it was imperative that the queen build up a supply of young, winter bees that could keep the hive, and particularly the queen, warm through the winter.

Finding a queen in order to “pinch” her can be easy or arduous.  Because she resembles her offspring in most ways, she can easily hide among the many thousand bees that remain in the hive.  To make her easier to identify, beekeepers who raise queens mark the queen with a spot of color on her back.  For some months this works, but often the color wears off before it is needed.  That was the case with all three of our queens.  But we finally found and were ready to replace the queens with young, vibrant Carniolan queens from Wetlands Apiary in Brockton. 

The act of physically replacing a queen is another interesting part of beekeeping.  The hive is very territorial and won’t accept a new queen unless they know they are queenless.  They figure this out when they can no longer sense their queen’s pheromones in the hive.  But still bees can be suspicious of a new queen, and, if she is simply placed in the hive, the bees will often gang up and kill her.  For that reason she is introduced by enclosing her in a tiny wooden box with one screened side.  The box is wedged between two frames in the hive.  From the safety of this box she exudes her pheromones, which slowly replace those of the former queen.  In another wall of her box there is a hole that is stuffed full of marshmallow, which the worker bees slowly eat through.  After several days the marshmallow has been consumed, the new queen’s pheromones fill the hive and she can safely walk out of her cage.

Now, in mid October,  the Eleventh Hole Hives all have young queens and a growing workforce which should get them through the winter.  Stop by the Golf Shop for a jar of Eleventh Hole honey, or watch the menu in the restaurant.  Mary and Eric are finding ingenious ways to use our honey in cocktails, paired with cheese and on desserts. 


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The Bay Club’s Newest Initiative: Bay Club Conservancy

Wednesday, 17. March 2021 12:44

The Bay Club has been a member of the Audubon International “Signature Sanctuary Program” since its opening in 2004 and is one of only two certified sanctuary golf courses in the state; and the only one with a “Silver” status.  The Club and it’s members are proud of this certification and hope to continue it well into the future.

For this reason, in recent months a group of dedicated members have formed the Bay Club Conservancy (BCC), with their goal being to maintain and improve upon our wildlife environment and help inform fellow members of their efforts. 

The initial work by the BCC will be to focus on our bees, birds and butterflies.  The Club grounds are currently home to honeybee hives, found on hole #11.  And in August 2020, a monarch “waystation” was created to help our monarch population flourish, from the egg through butterfly stages.  (More information on these initiatives can be read in previous blog entries, found here.)

We’re excited to see what more will come from the conscious and concerted efforts of the BCC!


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Making the Bay Club into a Monarch Butterfly Waystation

Tuesday, 18. August 2020 12:10

MonarchHutchThe Bay Club recently began a new initiative in our continuing efforts to help the local monarch butterfly population.

Each fall, millions of monarchs migrate over 2,500 miles from Canada and the northern US to the mountains in Central Mexico.  But every year, fewer make the migration.  Not because its an arduous trip, but simply because monarchs experience more and more difficulty in finding their required habitat in preparing for their long journey.

What is increasingly lacking in the monarchs’ summer breeding grounds is milkweed.  Stands of milkweed provide:

  • Nectar for adult monarchs
  • The only place the mother monarch will lay her eggs
  • The sole food source for the developing monarch caterpillar

With this in mind, our Golf Course Maintenance team has worked hard to protect the stands of milkweed on the course; mowing it only where it directly impedes golf.

The wooden, hutch-like structures constructed and placed on the property will house and provide protection for monarch eggs so they can safely mature into butterflies.  A group of Bay Club members, loosely named Monarch Protect, will:

  • Identify eggs on milk weed leaves on the course
  • Bring the leaves on their stems, each in its own water jar and place into the structures
  • Tend the stems while the eggs hatch and the caterpillars mature into butterflies
  • Tag and release each butterfly to begin its long migration.

The tags are part of a program developed by the national organization Monarch Watch;  The goal is for the group to tag 100 butterflies by mid-September and if any of them are recovered in the Mexican mountains, Monarch Watch will be notified, and the Bay Club will be listed in their list of recoveries.

As the only Audubon International Silver Certified Sanctuary in Massachusetts, The Bay Club is pleased to provide the resources these creatures need to survive, and hopes to continue increasing the monarch numbers in the years to come.



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Bee Keeping at the Bay Club

Wednesday, 7. February 2018 15:32

Bees1In 2016, the Bay Club became home to two hives of honey bees thanks to the efforts of beekeeper and Bay Club member, Jeannie Smith.   Throughout the year, Jeannie routinely checks on the hives, which are located on the 11th hole.

During the spring and summer months, the bees are busy foraging for food, building and protecting the hive and producing honey.  However, the winter months present many challenges from now until the queens start laying in late March. The major challenges are to protect the hives from bitter winds, keep out rodents searching for a warm nest, and prevent starvation, as both hives are rapidly eating through their honey stores.  Jeannie has stapled black tarpaper wraps directly on to the hives, which will not only shield them, but also absorb warmth on sunny days. To protect the hives from unwanted, four-legged visitors, each hive has a metal mouse guard, with openings too small for a chilly mouse to sneak through.  And finally, to supplement their dwindling food supplies, the bees are provided blocks of sugar fondant, a sugar/essential oil patty slipped into place just below the inner cover.

Honey bees are necessary to our ecosystem because they are important pollinators for flowers, fruits and vegetables.   As the only Audubon International Silver Certified Sanctuary in Massachusetts, the bees have been a welcomed addition to our property as they help to reinforce our commitment to protect and promote ecological diversity.  And we also benefit by being able to use the harvested honey in recipes at the Golf House restaurant.

We’re hoping for another season of plentiful honey for members to enjoy in 2018!



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The Disappearing Monarchs and How to Help

Tuesday, 15. August 2017 12:41

Monarch2The monarch is one of North America’s most known butterflies, with its easily recognizable black, orange and white pattern. The overall population of monarchs has decreased greatly over the years, the reason being the depletion of the milkweed plant.  Milkweed is the only source of food for monarch caterpillars and, due to the loss of habitat from land development and widespread use of weed killers, these plants are becoming more and more scarce.

Why keep the monarchs (and other butterflies) around?

  • Butterflies rank third on the list of top pollinators, behind bees/wasps and flies.  About one third of the food people eat depends on the work of pollinators such as butterflies.
  • Butterflies are an “indicator species” which help to tell us the health of the environment.  Because these creatures are sensitive to changes in climate, the presence of harmful chemicals and pollution, they are great tools to help determine the well-being of our ecosystems.
  • They are important members of the food chain.  Butterflies provide a food source during all stages of their life cycle for animals such as birds, spiders, lizards, small mammals and even other insects.

Many Golf Course Superintendents around the country, including our own Jon O’Connor, are making an effort to keep milkweed on the grounds.  Here, the milkweed is indigenous to the area and Jon and his crew allow it to grow naturally in the fescue areas of the course to help the local monarch population.  In just this year alone, both the caterpillar and butterfly populations have increased.

If you’re interested in helping your local monarch population, here are some steps you can take.

  • Plant Milkweed!  Butterflies need milkweed to lay their eggs and the caterpillars eat only this plant, so the population relies on it 100 percent.  While there are over 100 species of milkweed, only about 30 are used by monarchs.  Click here to find out what to plant in your region.
  • Monarchs constantly feed on nectar from flowers, so plant abundant native flowering plants in your garden.  Many butterflies and native plants have co-evolved over time and depend on each other for reproduction and survival.  Flowers that bloom all summer long will lure more butterflies.
  • Avoid using pesticides in your garden as these kill insects, including butterflies.

As the only Audubon International Silver Certified Sanctuary in Massachusetts, the Bay Club is pleased to provide the resources these creatures need to survive, and hopes to continue increasing the monarch numbers in the years to come.

MonarchPhoto Jul 25, 9 14 38 AM (1)


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Bees, Honey, and Bee Keeping at the Bay Club

Monday, 13. June 2016 15:46

honey Last month, Bay Club members gathered and welcomed fellow member Jeannie Smith as she spoke about her five-year experience as a bee keeper. The lecture, “The Miracle of Bees: Honey Bees 101,” highlighted Jeannie’s own honey bees and four hives.  She shared her extensive knowledge of the bees by helping listeners understand the role they play in their hive community along with information about bees in general.

The evening also featured a honey-themed cocktail and snack concocted by the Golf House team.  The cocktail, “Jeannie’s Honeybee Sweet Tea” and Finikia, George’s Greek Christmas cookie, were both made using honey from Jeannie’s hives and were very highly praised throughout the evening.

We also want to welcome the newest family to move into the Bay Club – a hive of 15,000 honey bees. Situated on a knoll well to the left of the 11th hole, the hive is the latest addition to the Bay Club’s commitment to protect and promote ecological diversity. Although the resident honey bees are very gentle, the hive should not be disturbed as it goes about its task of pollinating the flowers and making honey to be shared with the chefs in our kitchen.




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Bay Club Sustains Golf Course, Environment

Wednesday, 19. September 2012 13:21

The Bay Club was recently featured in the Standard-Times newspaper. Golf Course Superintendent Jon O’Connor discussed with writer Ariel Wittenberg about the importance of the Bay Club’s environmental efforts. To view the complete story, please click here.


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Bay Club Walking Group

Tuesday, 13. December 2011 15:09

Bay Club Fitness Director Dave Maloney has organized an informal walking club for members. During the fall and winter, walkers stroll the golf course and club property which includes more than 300 acres of conservation land. Walks last for approximately one hour each Monday and they are an ideal form of exercise to help control weight, improve balance and reduce the risk of heart disease and developing high blood pressure. Members of all ages have joined the group aiming to achieve a better lifestyle.


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Snowshoeing at the Bay Club

Thursday, 6. January 2011 16:25

Winter view of 9th hole | Bay Club Mattapoisett The Bay Club at Mattapoisett recently acquired snowshoes for the Sports and Activities Center allowing members to enjoy winter hikes on the golf course.  Snowshoeing is wonderful aerobic exercise that also provides the ability to experience the beauty and quiet of the snow-covered course in the off-season.

As part of my New Year’s resolution to exercise more, I grabbed my husband and our hound and headed out to the 9th hole.  Although the much hyped Christmas nor’easter did not actually produce an impressive accumulation, it did provide enough snow cover for a wonderful hike.  Along the way we discovered the new burm constructed late last fall on Hole #11, and I secretly crossed my fingers hoping it was the snow cover making it look so ominous.  We also paused at the new tee box on Hole #9 which has my husband itching for Spring; I on the other hand observed that the drive over the water now looks impossibly long.

When we finished our hike, my husband chose to head to the club’s Indoor Golf Practice Center while I enjoyed a Bay Club Mattapoisett MA | Golf Course Real Estatevisit to the steam room at the Sports & Activities Center.  Our well exercised dog relished a nice nap in the car.

Using my iPhone camera for the photo shot and the angle of the sun doesn’t give quality to the view, however I decided it would be nice to share.  For a better look at the club in the warmer weather, please view our slideshow!

The Bay Club at Mattapoisett is a country club with an eighteen hole championship level golf course and residential property located in Southeastern MA. To arrange a private tour please contact Dave Andrews via e-mail or phone, 508-758-9543.


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Bay Club earns its 7th Audubon Society Silver Certification

Wednesday, 23. June 2010 21:37

Bay Club at Mattapoisett Silver certification from the National Audubon Society

The Bay Club at Mattapoisett was featured in the June 2010 issue of Cape Cod Magazine on their commitment to “Green Life” and their continuous recognition from the National Audubon Society.

The Bay Club at Mattapoisett was ‘going green’ long before the term became a constant in the national energy conversation. When construction began in 2003 on the nearly 700 acre private club featuring a championship golf course, restaurant, fitness center, swimming pool, tennis courts, and lots for 175 homes, the club’s owners were already following guidelines established by the National Audubon Society to insure the least possible impact on the environment.

Including the managed landscape of the golf course, 93 percent of the acreage was preserved and remains green. We followed the guidelines 100 percent, says Jon O’Connor, Bay Club Golf Course Superintendent.

>Follow the link to read the entire article: Bay Club Mattapoisett Audubon Society Silver Certification in Cape Cod Life Magazine 2010.

The Bay Club at Mattapoisett is a country club with an eighteen hole championship level golf course and residential property located in Southeastern MA.  To arrange a private tour please contact Dave Andrews via e-mail or phone, 508-758-9543.


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