It is never a quiet time for wildlife on the League Against Cruel Sports wildlife sanctuaries. The breeding frenzy of spring and summer may have passed, but now a plethora of young animals are trying to make their own way in the world.

Mixed flocks of juvenile birds are scouting through the woods searching for seeds and insects and they don’t appear to be too choosey about which species they mix with. It is hard to read the expressions of small birds, but an insect eating young Chiffchaff definitely looked confused when the flock of Blue, Great and Marsh Tits it had joined descended on the sunflower hearts in my bird feeders. Meanwhile, some of the migrant birds that came here just to breed, such as cuckoos, are already well on their way south through Africa.

It has been a very good summer for big, showy butterflies, such as Red Admirals, Peacocks and Silver-washed Fritillaries and it seems that even now we are getting some late arrivals of Painted Ladies from France.

Close-up of a hound in Baronsdown wildlife sanctuaryBadger cubs are almost indistinguishable from adults at this time of year and they face an uncertain future with the politically motivated badger cull zones being extended, despite all of the evidence that points to their futility. Fox cubs should be dispersing to find new territories, but with the latest figures showing fox numbers across the UK falling by 39% in just 20 years, who knows what fate awaits them.

The Roe Deer rut is subsiding and the successful males will have ensured their genes are passed on to the next generation. The Red Deer stags are now gathering in readiness for their rutting period in October. Just last week one fortunate stag managed to evade the hounds to find his way to the safety of the League’s Baronsdown sanctuary, where he will hopefully remain until after the rut. A couple of hounds pursued the stag onto Baronsdown and one of them, that handed itself in to League staff, enjoyed some downtime relaxing before the huntsman came to collect him.