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Julie's Nature Column - Autumn 2016

Sep 15, 2016

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 wondering if perhaps they bred on site this year. Sticking with the bird theme our resident Barn Owl is still around and I did at least manage a photo this time.

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The Fallow deer have spent a lot oftime on the Mead and just on the edge in the Alder woodland and I believe that the Mills visitors got quite a few sightings on the land train tour. Just recently I was watching the deer relaxing on the Mead and noticed that magpies were helping themselves to the deer's velvet which covers the antlers while they grow. The deer are now in the process of losing the velvet and the start of the rut is not far away.

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It won’t be long before the mornings and evenings turn chilly and some of the wildlife will be preparing to hibernate such as the toad. This year I have seen more toads than usual which I’m pleased about as I have gone a couple of years without finding many. I managed to capture a toad and a vole sharing a secret moment, or perhaps just comforting each other at the thought of me finding them and yes there has been jokes about “toad in the vole”.

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I have spotted many more animals, too many to mention, but this year for me it was a welcome sound to hear the Kestrel back on numerous occasions as sightings had been few in the last couple of years. Fingers crossed that they stay for good now. I am hoping to get some better photo opportunities in the Autumn, I’ll keep looking wherever I am whatever I do and look forward to sharing some more with you all.

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Julie Matthews
Mills Nature Conservationist



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