#30DaysWild No. 18 Caterpillars take over at the wildlife pond!

Something is munching the yellow flag leaves at the wildlife pond in front of Balebarn Lodge, and it looks like it’s iris sawfly caterpillars, Rhadinoceraea micans. Continue reading “#30DaysWild No. 18 Caterpillars take over at the wildlife pond!”

#30DaysWild No. 17 Badgers in the early morning

You’ll have to get up early to see this guy – videoed on the wildlife camera a few days ago (we’ve just brought it in). But one of last week’s guests in Honeysuckle Lodge did spot a badger down by the wildlife pond one evening, so it’s worth keeping your eyes open. Continue reading “#30DaysWild No. 17 Badgers in the early morning”

#30DaysWild No. 16 Planting teasels to attract goldfinches

#30DaysWild No. 16: We’re planting out weed seedlings – these are teasels that popped up in a flower pot. They’ll be more use in the lodge field where they should grow big, flower, and then attract winter goldfinches, which are such a treat to watch. Continue reading “#30DaysWild No. 16 Planting teasels to attract goldfinches”

#30DaysWild No. 15 ‘Stuck in a holding pattern’

#30DaysWild No. 15. Think the skies are busy over Heathrow? Try the airspace at Wheatland Farm! We think these are hoverflies of some kind. Watch the clip to see their amzaing flying skills. Continue reading “#30DaysWild No. 15 ‘Stuck in a holding pattern’”

#30DaysWild No. 12 Large Skipper Butterfly

These little butterflies are flitting around our Devon meadows at the moment – they look a bit dull at first, but take a closer look and they are as pretty as any other butterfly. #30DaysWild No. 12. Continue reading “#30DaysWild No. 12 Large Skipper Butterfly”

Emperor dragonflies at the wildlife pond

#30DaysWild No. 11. Emperor dragonflies are busy at the wildlife pond in front of Balebarn Lodge. The males patrol territories, but they are fast fliers and difficult to photograph. Even when they rest they don’t stay perched for long. The females however spend a bit of time depositing their eggs into the pond weed, as this clip shows. Continue reading “Emperor dragonflies at the wildlife pond”

Heath Spotted Orchids in full flower #30DaysWild No. 10

Early to mid June is the best time of year to sit amongst the carpet of orchids down on Popehouse Moor SSSI. Here’s a clip we made 2 years ago to show how many orchids there are. If you do one thing wild today, make it enjoying a wild flower near you! #30DaysWild No. 10. Continue reading “Heath Spotted Orchids in full flower #30DaysWild No. 10”

Explore where our water comes from #30DaysWild No. 9

Here’s a wild idea – head up to Dartmoor and start to really appreciate where our lovely fresh Devon water comes from.  Clear your head, maybe get a different perspective on things, and commit to keeping unnecessary plastic out of the bins. #30DaysWild No. 9. Continue reading “Explore where our water comes from #30DaysWild No. 9”

Pale and interesting… 30DaysWild No. 8

It’s an overcast day, but sometimes that helps the less flashy wildlife stand out. This lovely moth was resting on buttercup leaves. We think it must be a Blood vein, Timandra comae. You can see why! #30DaysWild No. 8 Continue reading “Pale and interesting… 30DaysWild No. 8”

Annual exodus from the wildlife pond #30DaysWild No. 7

It’s time for the frogs – or are they toads – to leave the pond. #30DaysWild? This clip suggests they’re hopping mad. And then again, some of these littlies appear to be walking, so the ‘frogs hop, toads walk’ idea doesn’t seem to help much. Continue reading “Annual exodus from the wildlife pond #30DaysWild No. 7”

Lemon balm tea

#30DaysWild No. 4. Time for tea – made with a sprig of something wildish from the herb garden. Lemon balm not nettles!  It’s great iced too, especially in this hot weather. No tea bags, so no plastic guilt. OK, so it’s not a substitute for a brew of builders’ tea, but it suits the occassion. Continue reading “Lemon balm tea”

30 Days Wild 3: Southern Marsh Orchids

30 Days Wild No. 3. Seeking out a Southern Marsh Orchid. We don’t have many of these (unlike the Heath Spotted Orchids that will be coming out soon). They are restricted to the especially wet bits on Popehouse Moor SSSI and you won’t find them up near the lodges. Continue reading “30 Days Wild 3: Southern Marsh Orchids”

30 Days Wild 2: A Speckled Wood Butterfly

30 Days Wild No. 2. Damselflies yesterday, a butterfly today. Our random act of wildness it to find a butterfly – and this one is a speckled wood, common along the path behind the eco lodges, and anywhere with dappled sunshine. They’re prettier in flight than they are perched on a leaf, but that’s harder to capture.

Continue reading “30 Days Wild 2: A Speckled Wood Butterfly”

30 Days Wild 1: Beautiful damsels, not in distress

It’s The Wildlife Trusts’ 30 Days Wild again – a chance to do (and share) something wild every day in the month of June. That’s good timing, because our wildlife is at its best in early summer, and this year we’re on a bit of a mission to record the plants and animals at Wheatland Farm.

One of the groups we’re tackling is damselflies (and dragonflies). We want to know what our five ponds have to offer. Here’s what’s flying around the wildlife pond at the moment.  Continue reading “30 Days Wild 1: Beautiful damsels, not in distress”

The cows are back!

The cows are back! Six young cows from Higher Punchardon Farm. Their job is to graze Lower Newland Moor (the field next to the lodges – the field with the turbine) and Popehouse Moor, our Site of Special Scientific Interest. That’s quite a big munch for 6 relatively young cows, but that’s the point – low levels of grazing so the grass is kept in check and the flowers still get a chance. Continue reading “The cows are back!”

Fox cubs come out to play

These fresh-faced fox cubs have a den in the woods. This video clip shows them coming out to play in the early morning, and it looks like the vixen has brought a pheasant for breakfast.  Continue reading “Fox cubs come out to play”

Blackbirds in a bike basket

Blackbird hatchlings in a bike basket at Wheatland Farm's Devon Eco Lodges

Here’s the update on the bike shed – it will have to be temporarily closed to all lodge guests, apart from the blackbirds who have moved into a bike basket. Here’s a quick video clip… Continue reading “Blackbirds in a bike basket”

Robins are fledging in the lodge field

The robins have fledged! For days we’ve been hearing the high pitched cheeping near the bike shed. Now several young robins are bouncing around the undergrowth in the corner of the lodge field. (The robin in the polytunnel is still sitting though.) Elsewhere, the kestrel is frequently to be seen hunting over the fields, we saw a crow take an egg from some nest today (hopefully not the moorhen in the reeds) and the dawn chorus is really picking up now. Here’s a few seconds of the parent robin singing and a clip of the youngster. Continue reading “Robins are fledging in the lodge field”

Orange tip butterflies roosting

Orange tip butterfly roosting on rushes

When it’s a bit overcast there can be a silver lining. Or in this case, a chance to see the amazing patterns on the underwings of Orange Tip butterflies as they roost on a rush. Continue reading “Orange tip butterflies roosting”

Celebrating the return of swallows

It’s cake time again! Phew. The first swallow could have been 9th April, with a brief familiar shape spotted flying over the pond by Otter Cottage. But it wasn’t until yesterday that we were sure enough to get the baking tins out.  Coffee should be good this morning. We’ll be bringing all you lovely guests a slice.  Continue reading “Celebrating the return of swallows”

Thank you for supporting us

We just wanted to say a big thank you for all the support we’ve received since the Eggesford Hunt trespassing story aired on BBC Spotlight (10 April). People we’ve never even met have been ringing us up with encouraging words and similar stories.   Continue reading “Thank you for supporting us”

Fungi-like Slime Mould

This slime mould has been growing on a dead tree on Popehouse Moor for about a week, going from fresh and crinkly to smooth white and then dry brown with a powdery inside. We’re not entirely sure what it is, but probably Reticularia lycoperdon, sometimes called a false puff ball. Continue reading “Fungi-like Slime Mould”