We have had a family of robins set up house in our Estate Services Centre. Here is one of the chicks, looking very cute.
The results of the recent bird survey are in and have thrown up some interesting trends and information. The Grounds Office commission two surveys a year which are undertaken by our RSPB recommended expert to document the number and species of birds found on our Streatham and St Luke’s Campuses. This enables us to track the impact of any works being undertaken.
The total number of birds recorded in the winter 2015/16 survey (November 2015 and January 2016), has declined from 1733 in the baseline survey of 2008/09 to 1302 in 2015/16.
There may be several factors influencing this outcome:
- A decline in bird populations across the UK
- Loss of habitat
- Changes in weather patterns
The weather has an impact on both resident and migrant birds. The drivers have been temperatures and the availability of food. Some birds will move into gardens, where many residents will put out food for birds and wildlife in winter.
The University is constantly evolving and development works can disturb habitats. However, provision is made to encourage wildlife diversity in the landscapes available when building works are completed and to protect habitats beyond standard planning requirements e.g. tree and hedgerow protection.
The most common birds on Streatham Campus remain the Wood Pigeon, Robin, Blackbird, Blue Tit and Great Tit. The estate continues to support bird species which are rare and on the list of red/amber species e.g. Herring Gull, House Sparrow, Mistle Thrush, Redwing and Song Thrush. Raptors such as the Buzzard and Sparrowhawk have also been recorded. In January a Blackcap, suspected to have travelled from Europe in search of food, was also seen.
On Luke’s Campus, the most common birds were the Blue Tit, Herring Gull and Blackbird, with the Wood Pigeon less common. Overall there had been a drop from 20 species in 2014/15 to 17 species in 2015/16 but a rise in sightings from 199 in 2014/15 to 217 in 2015/16. The new species included the red listed species Starling, with the amber listed species Dunnock also being recorded. Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Long-Tailed Tits were seen for the first time at St Luke’s.
Overall, both our campuses continue to be an important habitat for birds. We invest in management and protection measures to enhance the resource.
The results of the recent bird survey are in. The Grounds Department commission two surveys a year which are undertaken by an independent twice a year to document the number and species of birds found on campus. This enables us to track the impact of any works being undertaken. The surveys are taken on two dates, one early in the season, one later on.
As in previous surveys, the Wood Pigeon proved to be our most common bird on Streatham campus: The top 5 birds were as follows:
1: Wood pigeon
4: Blue tit
5: Carrion Crow
There were a number of red and amber listed birds observed on campus:
Redwings were found on both visits, although in much greater number earlier in the season.
Song Thrush were found widely distributed over campus.
Bullfinch numbers were much higher than 13/14.
The secretive Dunnock was found in reasonable numbers on both visits.
A Grey Heron was seen for the first time on campus (you heard about it on Budding News first, of course!) Also, since the bird survey was taken, a Kingfisher has been spotted on campus.
The majority of the birds are found on the outer edges of campus and in our woodland areas.
The survey is also taken at St. Luke’s, although due to the size of the campus, many fewer birds are observed. The most common birds sighted over there included Herring Gull, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Robin and Goldfinch.
A heron has taken up residence at Reed.
This wildflower meadow, planted by local school children in partnership with University of Exeter Grounds Department and Devon Wildlife Trust in Autumn last year is now in flower – providing essential habitat to invertebrates and attracting mini-beasts, birds and mammals.
It’s not exactly what you expect to see when you open the bonnet of your van. Kevin, our Grounds Manager who looks after our Sports and St Luke’s teams has recently been caretaker to a nest of five wagtail chicks. Astonishingly, Kevin had been driving his van around before he’d even noticed that the nest was there! Life in an engine bay clearly suited them, though, as all five successfully fledged.