Despite the month, early flowers are poking through at Wheatland Farm’s Devon Eco Lodges. Not lots, admittedly, but the snowdrops and daffodils say it is almost spring.
The first snowdrops are up just outside Beech Lodge, near the hot tub. Since we’re locked down with no guests, we pinched one for our kitchen table. These are the earliest – the snowdrops that light up the lodge path each year are not really showing through yet.
The early daffodils generally make their first appearance by the fishing pond outside Otter Cottage. They are out already. But don’t worry, there will be plenty of daffodils left when we are allowed to welcome guests back to Devon. We really hope Wheatland Farm Eco Lodges be open in March, or at least for Easter holidays – and we’re looking forward to seeing old friends back and to welcoming new faces.
And it’s not just the flowers that are proclaiming the year is turning. So are the birds. When we step outside the farmhouse door, there’s a noticeable increase in birdsong. Each year Wheatland Farm is home to nesting nuthatches, and we’re already hearing them make their piercing spring call. Great tits are starting to call ‘teacher teacher!’ too – a sure sign that spring has almost reached Devon.
In the past couple of years, nuthatches have nested right outside Honeysuckle Lodge, so we hope they’ll do that again. Of course, they’re not the only small birds nesting on the farm. If you’re staying at the lodges you’ll almost certainly have neighbours. In last year’s spring lockdown a blackbird nested right over the door of Beech Lodge, and a song thrush was positioned inconveniently above the tap in the woodshed. Blue tits routinely nest under the eaves of both Honeysuckle and Nuthatch Lodges, though our favourite nest was this one in an old gate post. In the old farm yard, Otter Cottage is home to innumerable sparrows making use of its ivy cladding, and of course the moorhens are nesting nearby at the edge of the fishing pond. Further afield there’s much more of course, and we’ll be bringing you news as 2021 unfurls.