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Autumn has been reasonably mild this year so far that it made me wonder whether the deer would delay their rut. It is said that once the first frost arrives it triggers the rut, but we hadn't had much in the way of frost in October. Turns out that our herd of deer don't wait for the frost, rut season is rut season! The big males separate during the day and find somewhere to rest up and recover their loss of energy. I had to move one or two on to another area as they were slightly hidden whilst resting and c…

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This summer at the Mills I noticed that there were many butterflies which was quite surprising considering the amount of rainy days we have had. I always think that too much wet weather could be a poor year for nesting birds as the insects like to lie low, but this year our nesting Robins produced 3 broods. They like to nest in one of our busy areas where we keep some equipment and people are in and out of the area daily, but this doesn't seem to deter them. I often soak dried insect feed for them and the …

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Well the good weather has arrived and the Mills is buzzing with wildlife. There seems to be lots of bumble bees which is great and several bees nests have been noticed. One just above a doorway, one in the ground and one which had to be removed by a beekeeper because they decided to nest under the wheel arch of the railway children's digger. The beekeeper took them several miles away to set up home somewhere new. Talking of bees, over the years there has been bee orchids growing in the car park. They disapp…

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Although it's been a bit chilly, spring is definitely in the air. Herons are quite active now and I have seen swans regularly flying over, possibly searching for a territory before breeding season. I have already heard Great Spotted Woodpeckers drumming and just the other day I saw a pair in a tree behind the Saltpetre House. Woodpeckers have got wise to drumming on metal which is much louder than a tree, therefore the sound is carried much further. Our lampposts and the end of the Petrel rocket launcher ha…

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What an amazing colourful Autumn we had, it's such a shame though that the Alder trees all over the site don't change to a pretty colour. New Hill is the best part of the site to be on during the Autumn as it is lacking in Alder trees, but Field Maple and a few others provided some stunning colours. The wind has blown most of the leaves away now and the site is starting to take on its winter look. This should help me get some photos as you can see more clearly into the woodland. I recently saw a Tawny ow…

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Summer has been its usual busy self with many wildlife sightings including the Hobby, House Martins and a Little Owl. Unfortunately I was not quick enough or near enough to get any good photos ofthese, but it wasn't from lack oftrying. The Hobby is a summer visitor and I watched it swoop over the lake at New Hill and take a coot chick from the water, thought it was bad enough for them that the Herons wait there for a snack. I have also seen a pair of Buzzards many times around the Press House area,I am wond…

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At last some much needed warm sunshine has arrived after a bit of a stutter. The warmth seems to produce plenty of insect activity just at the right time when the birds need to feed their chicks. This makes it a bit difficult for me to get photos because they never stay in one spot long enough or maybe I'm just too slow. I was quick enough to get this Black cap recently though. There has been a fox that keeps making an appearance when the land train or army truck drives past. It s usually in the same ar…

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Spring has arrived early this year and the Mills daffodil display is almost in full bloom. Some recent mornings have been frosty and you can see the effects on the daffs making them wilt, but by afternoon they're upright again. Many birds have been singing out their territory songs already, getting confused by the mild winter and no doubt pairing up and finding suitable nesting places. One of my favourite trees has been blooming for most of the winter. I took this photo of it at the end of January. The h…

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With Autumn ending and now going in to winter, it has been mild so far and although winter can be cold and the place looks bleak, wildlife is still very active. I have seen a change in the Buzzard'srange of territory, coming much further down to the south end of the site. There are quite a lot of pigeons around Queens Mead which might be easy pickings for a Buzzard. I have constantly missed photo opportunities, but managed to get this photo the other day. The deer have finished rutting and will now conce…

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The summer months at the Mills have been full of wildlife activity as usual. We had several large honey bee swarms over a period of a few weeks and we kept a close eye on their locations as they were near the areas where our visitors arrive. The honey bees have had a hive in one of our buildings for some years, but I noticed the other day that it has become a wasp nest, so this will mean that every bee has vacated which would explain the amount of swarms this year. This photo is one of the swarms gathered o…

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