Birds

The Commons are home to a huge variety of bird species and, as well as those feeding here, there are regularly between 90 and a 100 additional species to be seen.

Some good news recently has been the sightings of the Dartford Warbler characteristically flitting over the gorse bushes at Ladies Mile in December 2018.  With much of that area of gorse destroyed by fire in 2017, we have been hoping that this elusive bird would make its way back to the Commons.

We are incredibly lucky that local volunteers have kept records of bird sightings on the Commons since 1974. These are currently compiled by Adrian Podmore and before him, Dave WIlls, Ron Kettle and Eric McMillan. Copies of all these records are available at the Ranger’s Office.

The variety of habitats gives us a wide diversity of species, including  tree, hole and ground-nesters, wildfowl and birds of prey.

Given that we are essentially in an urban setting, and that the Commons are widely used for a lot of activities, the number of species we see here is excellent.

The biggest impact on birds of activities on the Commons continues to be disturbance to ground-nesting birds.   

Birds of prey have particularly been increasing. Kestrels, and Sparrow-hawks, Hobby and Common Buzzards can regularly be seen - the latter we think will soon start to nest here - if they haven’t already done so. The main species of Owl tends to be the Tawny. They are elusive creatures but if you are on the Commons at dusk, you will hear them hooting and possibly see them as they hunt.

Dogs on Lead Zones - 1st March to 31st July

A reminder to dog-walkers that we are now in bird-nesting season and we would ask you to keep your dogs on lead in certain critical areas of the Commons - The Plain and most of the Ponds.

The Conservators take their responsibilities towards the protection of birds and wildfowl very seriously.  We clearly mark the areas of The Plain where we are encouraging the ground-nesting birds and notices asking dog walkers to keep their dogs on leads will be placed around the area during the first week of March.  Grass paths will be cut through the meadow as the grass grows and we ask that all walkers keep to these paths to minimise the risk of disturbing birds that might be breeding.

 

Dogs out of Ponds - 1st April to 31st August

From the 1st April, signs will also be put up on the main paths to the ponds requesting that dog walkers keep their dogs on leads, as wildfowl are breeding around the edge of ponds.

 

 

A guide to the birds of the Commons

The 2018 Wimbledon and Putney Commons'
"Birds, Butterflies and Dragonflies" Report are now available at the Ranger's Office - £4.50