In the last edition I mentioned that the Kestrels that were nesting. The young have successfully fledged, possibly three of them, but it was difficult to tell sometimes which was the adult and which was the chick up in the tree tops. Every day for weeks you could hear Kestrels calling, but now it has all gone quiet, so I assume that they have moved on. I hope that they return next year and will be successful again. Here's a photo of an adult Kestrel sitting on one of the Incorporating Mill buildings.

I think it's quite impressive that the Mills can provide the right variety of habitats for so many nesting birds. You have the Raptors which include the Kestrel, Common Buzzard, Hobby, Red Kite, Barn owl and Tawny owl. Those are just the ones that I know about. Then you have songbirds which include the Robin, Blue tit, Great tit, Blackbird, Long-Tailed tit and Wren. Also Waterfowl such as Mallards, Coots, Moorhens, Swans and Geese. One of my favourites is of course the beautiful Kingfisher, all of these birds nest at the Mills. How amazing considering how much activity takes place on site.

I have an update on my Otter Cameras....really good news, they are visiting regularly. I say they, but it could be the same one each time. The not so good news is that I can't get a decent photo of one. I've even put a second camera out the get the otters face, but this second camera doesn't seem to trigger when the Otter arrives, but it does trigger for mice, foxes, deer and me when I attend the cameras! I'm keeping the cameras out and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for some better photos.

Our fallow deer are looking healthy, the males have just lost the velvet on their antlers and I've witnessed a few clashes already. This has nothing to do with the rut, it's about pecking order. When the deer are in velvet they can't use their antlers to settle a dispute so they have to box instead. They rear up on their hind legs and use their front legs to box. The blows are heavy, you can hear the thumps. It's surprising how agile they are on two legs, but I do believe that the bigger males tire quicker than the smaller ones due to their heavier bulk.

Here's a photo of two deer boxing, it looks like they're having a dance! The deer on the left was getting ganged up on by a total of three deer and in the end he had to concede, he got chased and ran over to his buddy...the biggest one on site. The other three deer soon stopped in their tracks. Deer politics, who knew!

When this deer isn't getting into trouble and being chased he's normally quite comical. I call him Cheeky boy and you can see why in this photo.

Well, that's all for now, but I'll be on the look-out for more wildlife stories and photos to bring you again soon.

Julie Matthews
Mills Nature Conservationist