Surrounded by breathtaking panoramas of the Mediterranean Sea with vistas of Gibraltar and Africa to the south and the commanding 1,200 metres El Concha mountain to the north-east, Atalaya Golf & Country Club prides itself in having a large variety of animals living in its “green zone”. Wildlife abounds on both of Atalaya’s championship courses.
Golfers cannot help but to stop and take a moment to enjoy the many species of birds that adorn our two championship courses. Aquatic birds like sea gulls, powerful birds of prey and many species of small birds regularly explore Atalaya’s nooks and crannies.
Members and guests alike look forward to greeting when they arrive at the tee boxes on Old Course hole number 12 our two pairs of swans, both black and white, our solo ugly duckling, who somehow has dubiously become Atalaya’s official greeter , and the six Canadian geese that have made the area their home. Atalaya’s ponds are brimming with ducks, turtles and fish, and from time to time an Andalucian red fox or two are seen exploring our courses. Otters have also been spotted in our big lake.
For more than two years the New Course has provided shelter and a welcoming home to three large, heavy-coated sheep, a brown one, a grey one and a white one. No one really knows how or why these sheep have made Atalaya their home, but everyone who plays the New Course has become keenly aware of their presence and looks forward to seeing them, usually on Hole 14 or Hole 16.
Unfortunately, over the past few months, two of the sheep have disappeared – first one and then a few weeks later the other. The circumstances of their disappearance are unknown, and sadly today only one remains.
With the hope of introducing new companions to the one, lonely remaining sheep, Atalaya’s Director General Andrés Sánchez recently purchased three new sheep for Atalaya. The newbies were unloaded on the New Course in close proximity our long-time resident. The expectation was that all would begin to interact. Although a good idea, the goal has not been met.
As we all know, animals are territorial, and for whatever reason, the new sheep are not befriending the old sheep but instead are making Hole 4 on the Old Course their home. Maybe they feel secure on the fourth hole because they can hear the sheep across the road. Although speculative, the reasoning seems sound. Regardless, the new sheep are acclimating very nicely and are adding much ambiance to the course.
We at Atalaya extend a warm welcome to our new friends. They are good workers, trimming the grass constantly. They are quiet. They bother no one. They do absolutely no harm to the course. They bring special feelings of warmth and tranquillity to our courses. Soon they will even bring a little extra excitement to Atalaya. At least one of the females is expecting! How perfect for Atalaya to be further embellished with a baby lamb or two!
Text, videos and images by Tia Duerrmeyer