Well what a long hot summer we had, great for birds that want to produce more than one clutch of eggs. Our resident Robins had three broods, Coots and Moorhens had at least two. Nearby Buzzards have successfully raised a chick which spends most of it's time at New Hill constantly calling for the parents to bring it some food. I never seem to be in the right place at the right time to get a good photo! Our Barn Owls were successful this year too. Around the Lee Valley quite a few owl boxes were found without chicks possibly due to the weather conditions, but our box had two chicks in it which were later ringed by an expert handler and hopefully have fledged now.

We participated in the Big Butterfly Count this year. We did two surveys within the given time and submitted our results. We surveyed the East flank and New Hill. Both areas had a high count of the Common Blue butterfly, it outnumbered all others by a big margin. Another recent survey that took place was the Lee Valley Otter survey and the Mills had two areas which were included in the survey last done about 10 years ago. The good news is that Otters are doing really well within the Lee Valley and one area at the Mills had fresh signs that Otters have been visiting regularly. I have set up a camera over the water in the hope that I might get some photos. Otters are mostly nocturnal, but the camera has infrared which will produce a black and white photo at night. So far the camera has taken a photo of a swan! Fingers crossed for Otters before the year is over.

All other wildlife seems to be doing well at the Mills. I've seen lots of Toads this year, Fox cubs, higher numbers of Green Woodpeckers and plenty of Herons. The fabulous Kingfisher has been up and down most of the waterways all summer too, no doubt that they are doing well as our waters are thriving with plenty of small fish. Recently we had a young fox visit us during the afternoon, it seemed very playful and unafraid of people. It made me wonder whether it's mum didn't return and it's just discovering all about life.

The deer have been quiet this summer, keeping out of the heat in the much cooler woodland. I have seen a few fawns...very cute and I have managed to get the odd photo. They seem to go from young and cute to older and daft!

That's all for now and I'm looking forward to some good Autumn wildlife opportunities to share with you all in the next edition.

Julie Matthews
Mills Nature Conservationist