Wildlife on the Hill
Pollards Hill is home to a wide variety of wildlife. We are fortunate to have Mike Netherwood, PHRA secretary, who keeps an eye out for all our wild creatures and is the man to ask particularly about birds.
Birds which are known to have bred locally are shown with an asterix below.
- Ring necked Parakeet*
- Black Headed Gull
- Stock Dove*
- Wood Pigeon*
- Collared Dove*
- Green Woodpecker*
- Greater Spotted Woodpecker*
- Carrion Crow*
- Great Tit*
- Blue Tit*
- Coal Tit*
- Long-tailed Tit*
- Tree Creeper
- Mistle Thrush*
- Song Thrush*
- Grey Wagtail
- Pied Wagtail
- House Sparrow*
Regular summer visitors locally include Swift, House Martin, Swallow, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff.
Regular winter visitors include, Fieldfare, Redwing, Meadow Pipit, Siskin, Redpoll and Brambling.
Among the more unusual "overfliers" we have had Red Kite, Common Buzzard, Cuckoo, Waxwing, Green Sandpiper, Woodcock, Snipe, Lapwing, Water Pipit, Skylark, and even Pheasant, as well as having had a Turtle Dove and Pied Flycatcher in my garden one year.
Everyone is familiar with our local foxes whether as regular garden visitors at anytime of day or indeed late into the night. There are many families in the area from young cubs, to teenagers and adults. Foxes are urban survivors and people's views differ with some feeding and admiring their tenacity, whilst others dislike them. Whatever your view, they well deserve their reputation for cunning and being streetwise.
Grey Squirrels are another species which divide opinion, they are abundant around the Hill and there have been a number of sightings of albino individuals. Rumour has it that they came from Streatham Rookery and the gene has skipped into the local population.
Hedgehogs which were once common around Pollards Hill, are now sadly no longer part of our local wildlife with no sightings.
Rabbit, yes a rabbit thought to be feral has been seen running around the lower gardens of Pollards Hill South, hopefully s/he will continue to avoid the attentions of local foxes.
It is said that you are never more than a foot from a brown rat in London and there have been sightings on the Hill. House mice too, are very common particularly in garden sheds in the winter. I once found a yellow necked field mouse in my compost heap, so there are probably more of these and other small mammals in our gardens (often brought to our attention by pet cats.)
Reptiles and Amphibians
I have no records of any reptiles in our area but most of us have found frogs, toads and newts in or around our garden ponds. All amphibians are finding their habitats decreasing so even digging a hole big enough to put in a washing up bowl and keeping it topped up with rainwater will give them a little help, particularly in the breeding season in early spring. They are all helpful in controlling slugs, and watching tadpoles turn into frogs/toads is great for kids to learn about nature and how things grow.
The wide variety of plants in the large well stocked gardens around the Hill, attract and support many insect species such as butterflies, moths, and bees. Insects are a vital part of the pollination process and also provide food for birds and other animals. Spiders do a great line in catching flies, and wasps help break down rotting fruit at this time of year. All insects have their part to play on the Hill. The Stag Beetle is another endangered species which hopefully with our old oaks there may be a population here in Pollards Hill. Did you know that a stag beetle spends 5 years as a grub eating rotting wood? Aging oak woodpiles are much needed in a corner of your garden to keep the species from becoming extinct.