It's been a strange time lately for everyone with the lockdown and restrictions, but while the country almost came to a standstill wild life everywhere carried on. Nesting, breeding, feeding, hunting, playing...ifanything the animals have benefited from people not being around.

Foxes at the Mills have been venturing out a lot more during the day, Herons and Kingfishers are not being disturbed so much in the waterways and the deer seem to be more relaxed. The lack of people and work activities has made the Mills a lot quieter you would think, but due to the quietness the birds actually sound a lot louder and the singing has felt non-stop on some days.

Our resident swans have nested again this year and we have seven fluffy cygnets which are growing very fast. Here's a photo of them feeling very sleepy, except for one...there's always one!

I've seen a few geese this year and was wondering if it's because it's been quiet that they're visiting as we don't get many geese. We've had Egyptian geese visit quite a few times and also a pair of Greylag geese.

In my last blog I mentioned the Red Kites nest building and that the storm had damaged the nest. It looked like the nest was being rebuilt and then a second storm came along. This time they abandoned the nest and I have no idea where they have moved to. I still see them in the sky occasionally though.

The honey bees have swarmed again, gathered on a wooden post surrounding the queen bee while the workers scout for a new home. I know of two honey bee nests on site, maybe there will be a third.

Fox cubs were spotted on site so I decided to set up a remote camera in the hope of getting some photos. Both parent foxes have seemed very busy back and forth hunting for food for their cubs, one snatched a young crow right in front of us and raced off with the adult crow giving chase. It seems very cruel sometimes, but all animals are trying to survive which causes all species to have casualties. Here's a photo of one of the fox cubs standing on a tree log.

Our nest boxes are all full of Blue tit chicks. Some are just about to fledge, they keep popping their heads out and the parents stay outside with the food as if to encourage them to come out. This Blue tit photo was taken a bit earlier in the year.

Dragonflies are starting to emerge along with Damselflies and Demoiselles. They are mostly along the waterways all jostling for the best position on a reed or favourite twig.

The one in this photo is a female Broad bodied chaser I think!

I hope to bring you some more stories in the future with some interesting photos. I'll do my best to be in the right place at the right time.

Julie Matthews
Mills Nature Conservationist