Bird survey report – Spring/Summer 2016

The independent survey of birds on Streatham Campus and St Luke’s Campus, recorded during Spring and Summer this year, has just been completed. We were encouraged that, overall, we have a good spread of bird species and numbers using our campuses for breeding. This suggests we continue to sustain a range of suitable habitats.

The top five species recorded on campus were:

  • Woodpigeon
  • Robin
  • Blackbird
  • Blue Tit
  • Wren

Importantly, as well as the regular feathery users of campus, we also have use by some of the species on the RSPB red and amber lists including Dunnock, House Sparrow, Bullfinch, Song Thrush, Redwing and Herring Gull.

We continue to strive to have a range of plants and trees on campus in formal and informal settings that provide food and habitats for bird species and also a range of fauna that helps to add to the value and purpose of the campuses in the centre of Exeter.

Egret Photo 17 06 2016


Storm Damage

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Fallen Macrocarpa by Reed footpath

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Fallen Macrocarpa by Reed footpath

The recent storm winds have affected a number of the 10,000 mature trees on our Streatham and St Lukes Campuses. The Grounds Team staff have been working through the weekend to try and keep the campuses operational and prioritise work on trees that have blocked roads and paths.

During high winds we can only ‘make safe’, as it is dangerous to climb trees in high winds.

You should report any concerns you may have to the Grounds Team on 01392 (72)5531 or email

We hope to have all actions and inspections completed by the end of the week.

Throwback Thursday

During the 1930s, St. Luke’s was used as a holiday centre over the Summer.  The holiday centre was often staffed by the students and as well as waiting and other jobs, the students would spend up to 2 hours a day tending the gardens of the college. The flowers for the dining tables and many of the vegetables served to the holidaymakers were grown on-site.

St Lukes holiday centreSt Lukes holiday centre 2

Important notice – essential weekend work taking place at St. Luke’s

Longstanding root damage to the Dawn Redwood tree (Metasequoia Glyptostobodies) near the Smeall Building, St Luke’s Campus, has caused disease and decay which now makes the tree potentially unsafe in high winds. The University’s  Grounds and Arboricultural team has advised that the tree must be removed urgently so this work will take place this Saturday, 4th October. Felling a tree is the last resort for our Grounds team, who take great pride in the rich diversity that helped secure a Green Flag award for the Grounds. Sadly, as this tree is situated near offices and residential properties, they are left with no other option. The tree will be replaced with the same species.

The instability has been caused by historic damage to one of the tree’s major roots. Disease and decay has set in over the years. This has found its way back into the bowl of the tree and there is now a risk of the tree failing and hurting people or damaging property if a high wind hits the tree.

The Dawn Redwood species was rediscovered by plant hunters in China in the 1940’s after previously having only been known in fossil records. This particular tree is understood to have been planted at St Luke’s during the 1970’s or 80’s (though a ring count will help confirm its age).

The area will be cordoned off while the removal works are taking place and the Grounds Team will ensure the soil is well prepared ready for a replacement tree to be planted nearby in the Spring of 2015.

The essential works will require the periodic use of chainsaws and a chipper, but these will not be started until after 9am.  The works have to be implemented at the weekend to manage the risk to anyone using or visiting the campus. The tree is in proximity to a high-use pathway.

We apologise for any inconvenience this causes to our neighbours.