Machrihanish Dunes: Yearly Quadrant checks!

One of many Golf Blogs I follow is this one for Machrihanish Dunes, the first true Links course to be built through existing landforms in over a 100 years on the West Coast of Scotland.

This recent post about their natural areas caught my attention. Below is the post, followed up by a few comments that were passed on to me once I requested more info specifically about this post. I've also decided to include a video and a few articles of interest about the property, what a cool course!

The first 2:20 of the video is a little boring, but you'll enjoy the rest.

"Our ecologist Carol Crawford was over last week to carry out recording of the 30 fixed quadrats scattered about the fairways and roughs and to monitor the pyramidal orchid populations, our most nationally uncommon species . It will take a while to analyse the fixed quadrat data but the pyramidal orchid monitoring showed this species is definitely spreading eastwards as we had hoped. In 2004 it was largely confined to the coastal edge, where marram grass provided some protection from the heavy summer grazing levels. Since livestock were removed in summer 2007 orchid populations have gradually recovered, numbers are increasing and it moves further east each year. Photo shows Carol with pyramidal orchids between the 1st and 9th. Carol also found that colony of sea bindweed, another very uncommon species, which Carol discovered last year behind the 2nd green seems to spread and is helping to binding the dunes on the seaward side. Photos shows Carol photographing them. Other good news is that our frog orchids are increasing in height. They all used to be very stunted as a result of grazing pressure. Photo shows a giant frog orchid on a tee bank at south end of course with soldier beetles crawling over it. Carol was joined by her friend Gill Smart and her dog Alfie for a couple of days. Gill is the Scottish Wildlife Trust's Reserves Manager for the South West Scotland. Gill had been dying to see our machair in full bloom and was not disappointed. Gill is also a keen entomologist and identified many of the insects about at this time of year. The sheltered dune slacks were alive with butterflies and moths. Photos show the Tiger Moth. Our own Tigers on the Course!"

Turfhugger: Can you provide any further background?

Keith of Machrihanish: We have 26 quadrants set up - with 7 of those being within fairways, they are there to monitor heights of cut/species diversity/thatch/animal activity (rabbit droppings etc) wear/stress/effects of drought anything that can give us useful data so we can protect and enhance the site. For example this year the results showed the litter % and thickness in the roughs had increased dramatically and was decided that sheep alone this winter couldn't bring the roughs back to a manageable level - so we decided with input from Scottish Natural heritage we would attack some of the coarser roughs mechanically.
Other Articles of Note:
Press Reports for the Golf Course in General -
Team behind Machrihanish Dunes on course to build new Ayrshire links resort  -