The wilder side of Sidney

Crows show that they are experts in their field, plus an unexpected visitor to the gardens.

With its lawns and beautiful borders, the College gardens provide important space for members of the Sidney community to relax and enjoy. The gardens are also visited by a variety of animal species.

Grey squirrels and a number of different bird species can regularly be seen in the gardens. And there is also the occasional unexpected visitor, such as this urban fox.  The fox was recently photographed in Cloister Court by a guest from Russia, Professor Vladimir Kolosov. 

There is one group of residents that is currently creating extra work for our Head Gardener, Trevor Rees, and his team. Visitors to College at our recent alumni reunion were perhaps surprised to see that the gardeners have re-seeded large sections of lawn. This has been caused by birds, which have been pulling away large sections of lawn to feed on chafer bugs in the soil (see photographs).

This is not the first time the gardeners have been forced to re-seed the lawns, Trevor Rees having reported in the 2008 College Annual on a previous battle with the birds and the bugs.  Gardeners at neighbouring Christ’s College took the dramatic step of re-seeding the lawn in their First Court following an infestation of chafer bugs in 2010.

So why are College lawns seemingly so vulnerable?  It seems that the grubs find the lawns easy to mine as they are dressed with light sandy soil and are not heavily trodden.  As the grubs chew through the roots the surface becomes easier for the birds to peck and pull away, something the local crows seem to have mastered in the Master's Garden (see photographs).

For further information please contact the Fellow Communications Officer, Dr David Beckingham (djb79@cam.ac.uk)

  • Urban fox (Professor Vladimir Kolosov - 26/09/12)
  • Urban fox (Professor Vladimir Kolosov - 26/09/12)
  • Crow (DJB - 30/09/12)
  • Crow (DJB - 30/09/12)
  • The damage in the Master's Garden (DJB - 30/09/12)
  • The damage in the Master's Garden (DJB - 30/09/12)
  • Grey squirrels in the Master's Garden (DJB - 27/09/12)
  • Grey squirrels in the Master's Garden (DJB - 27/09/12)
  • Robin (DJB - 09/04/11)
  • Robin (DJB - 09/04/11)
  • Related Websites

  • Christ's College - First Court Lawn

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