Published: 02 June 2020

Wildlife thrives amidst campus calm

While campus has been quieter than usual, our local wildlife have moved in. With rare sightings of deer enjoying the grounds in the sunshine last week.

Deer on Stag Hill campus. Photo credit: Residential Warden, Abigail Sharpe

Simon Smith, Horticultural and Landscape Manager, explains: “Stag Hill acquired its name because it used to be the highest point in one of the King’s deer parks, dating back as far as the 12th century – but stags are no-longer a regular sight on campus today, so these recent visits are incredibly rare.”

Simon continues: “I have recently set up a wildlife camera so we can monitor whether we have any hedgehogs on site. Last year we had birds nesting in 40% of our campus bird boxes, and we’re hoping to boost those numbers this year. We usually attract visits from robins, tits, sparrows, starlings, blackbirds, as well as swifts and magpies, and occasionally flocks passing through like wax wings or willow warblers.

“Our 11 waterways in the shape of lakes, ponds and streams attract resident ducks, coots and moorhens, as well as visiting Canadian and Egyptian geese, cormorants, glebes, and the occasional swan, and some are heavily stocked with fish, predominately ghost, hybrid, and common carp.”

We also have four bee hives on site, within the Students’ Union Garden Society’s cottage garden. They are looked after by Dr Eddie Brede, a postdoctoral teaching fellow in our Biological Sciences department, who is teaching students how to look after bees and their associated benefits.

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