The Pavilion Gardens Cafe treasures the beautiful scenery with our central Brighton wildlife ranging from squirrels (known as ‘Bert’), pigeons, seagulls and foxes to blue tits, butterflies and chaffinches. We’ve also come across the occasional Chinese dragon and Morris dancer. It’s not just the wildlife that draws customers to this well-loved, family-run cafe, it’s also its home-made rock cakes and buns, and its fascinating history.
Squirrels – The family of squirrels include tree squirrels, ground squirrels, chipmunks, marmots, flying squirrels and more. They are generally small animals with slender bodies, bushy tails and large eyes. In general, their fur is soft and silky, although much thicker in some species. Squirrels rely on foods rich in protein, carbohydrates and fats. Their diet consists primarily of a wide variety of plants, including, nuts, seeds, conifer cones, fruits, fungi and green vegetation.
Blue tit – A colourful mix of blue, yellow, white and green makes it one of the most attractive and recognisable garden visitors. Blue tits are common in woodland, hedgerows, parks and gardens. They mainly eat insects, seed and nuts.
Chaffinch – The chaffinch is the UK’s second most common breeding bird, and it’s the most colourful of the UK’s finches. It does not feed openly on bird feeders, it prefers to hop about under the bird table or the hedge. You’ll usually hear chaffinches before you seem them, with their loud song and varied beautiful calls.
Chinese dragon – This mythical and legendary creature is a truly rare sight. It’s a long, serpentined and scaled creature with four legs and the size of a house. The Chinese dragon symbolises power, strength and good fortune for those people who are worthy of it. Count yourself very lucky if you happen to see it flying over the gardens.
Pigeons and Doves – There is no strict division between pigeons and doves. They both share certain features, including small round heads, small bills with a small fleshy patch at the base, rounded bodies with dense, soft feathers, and short, scaly legs and cooing calls. There are many different species of doves found all over the World.
Seagulls – Gulls are typically medium to large birds, usually grey or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have harsh wailing or squawking calls, stout, longish bills, and webbed feet. Most Gulls are ground-nesting carnivores, which will take live food or scavenge opportunistically. (As I’m sure you all know from trying to eat fish and chips on the beach).
Butterflies – Butterflies can range in size, from a tiny ⅛ inch to a huge 12 inches. Butterflies can see red, green and yellow, but not blue. Some butterflies can fly at a speed of 12 miles per hour, and moths up to 25 miles per hour. Butterflies cannot fly if their body temperature is below 86 degrees. There are about 24,000 species of butterflies. Butterflies taste with their feet.
Fox – Foxes are generally small to-medium-size creatures. They have a flattened skull, upright triangular ears, a slightly upturned, pointed snout and a long bushy tail. The most common type of fox is the red fox; the largest of the true foxes. These usually come in pairs or consist of small groups (families). Foxes can live up to ten years in the wild but due to incidents such as hunting and road kills, most only live to about 2 or 3 years old. Most foxes are opportunistic hunters that eat live prey, typically rodents.
Feathered morris dancers – These feathery beasts lurk in packs in the depths of the gardens. They hypnotise passers-by with their english folk dancing and clanging bells. Their choreographed rhythmic stepping and music captures eyes and ears from all around. Whilst the earliest spotting of these creatures was the 15th century, they are still seen in everyday society. Be on your guard when they enter the gardens.
Animal entertainers – Seasonally, you can spot these amusing creatures in their natural habitat, surrounded by small, largely hairless juvenile primates. Their summer coat can vary considerably from individual to individual, but they typically ambulate in a bipedal fashion, unlike their forest cousins. Biologists have not yet unlocked the mystery of how they developed this extraordinary skill, but having observed them from our prime vantage point for many seasons, we have anecdotal evidence that it may simply assist them in foraging for food and managing cups of tea.