Starlings aren’t just around at dusk – they’re feeding in the fields by day. In this clip you can see how beautiful they are close up, and how they search for grubs and caterpillars in the grassland. Continue reading “Starlings feeding in the sunshine”
Starlings – one of the delights of a Devon winter! Often we see them passing south in mini flocks towards evening. Sometimes they will mass in the trees behind the orchard, sometimes in the trees behind the eco lodges. And sometimes, all of a sudden, they’ll leave again, as this video shows. Continue reading “Thousands of starlings pay a brief visit”
We went for a boundary walk this morning, to keep an eye on fences etc and were treated to some lovely views of this fox near the magic pond. Continue reading “Today’s wildlife snaps – a lovely fox in the woods”
Yes, we have harvest mice on Wheatland Farm – a survey confirms. Following on from Maggie’s recent harvest mouse training day we’ve been looking, and found 3 nests to report to the Devon survey. Continue reading “Harvest mice – finding the evidence”
It’s here – a fab kayak to add to the paddle boat and board on the wildlife pond. And it’s made out of recycled plastic. We’d been meaning to get another boat, and got the idea from BBC Spotlight. Continue reading “Recycled plastic kayak for the wildlife pond”
Is the countryside still heaving with harvest mice? You know the type – the cute ones from children’s picture books, usually seen curling a tail around an ear of corn with poppies in the background. Well, it’s not like it used to be that’s for sure. In the old days apparently sheaves of corn could shake with mice when taken in. But modern farming isn’t so mouse friendly. So how widespread are these tiny charismatic mice now?
Not quite Japanese-style blossom (maybe that will come later) but the hazel catkins on Popehouse Moor are bursting open so spring must be on the horizon.
Continue reading “A bit early for a blossom festival…”
Sometimes you just have to get out there and enjoy winter! Frosty mornings can be some of the best.
Spring must be coming! We have masses of frogspawn in the lodge field seasonal pond. This pond is usually the first to get frogspawn, and we’ve not spotted it in the others yet. Continue reading “Frogspawn in January”
We wanted to thank everyone for their support over the issue of the Eggesford Hounds chasing fox trails across Wheatland Farm on 13th January 2018. Continue reading “Eggesford Hunt and their illegally out of control dogs”
Mowing, bramble bashing, path clearing, tree felling… Continue reading “Conservation tasks in November 2017”
November has it’s own charms, amidst the inevitable greyer skies. The Goldfinches are back on the teasel heads and on the lemon balm seeds. Nuthatches, Tree Creepers and parties of Long Tailed Tits, are easy to spot around Honeysuckle and Nuthatch Lodge. This Bluetit is living in Ian’s workshop (and accidentally flew into him, hence the dazed look – it recovered though), while the Kestrel can often be seen from Balebarn, sitting on the wires. Continue reading “November wildlife”
October weather isn’t always kind. Sometimes, you just have to get out there… George had been biking at Heywood (4 miles from the lodges). Looks like he brought half of it back.
Look at this beast we found in the long grass – it’s an Elephant Hawkmoth caterpillar. Those ‘eye spots’ are supposed to scare off predators apparently. Continue reading “Elephant Hawk Moth Caterpillar”
This year’s Big Butterfly Count is coming to a close – though you can still post sightings until the end of the month.
All you have to do is enjoy a cup of tea for 15 mins and count what you see – the maximum number of each species you can see at any one time. Continue reading “Butterfly counts”
George spotted this moth in Exeter when he was practicing parkour in the Cathedral and Quay car park. He snapped it on his phone. We weren’t going to bother looking it up, convinced it was bound to be called a zebra moth. But hey – a quick look in the book showed we were wrong. Continue reading “Zebra or a tiger?”
We’re just back from this summer’s Dartmoor adventure – a walk across the North Moor with an overnight in the middle. Maggie did it with George when he was ten, so now it’s Euan’s turn. We picked a slightly longer route this time, and didn’t do ourselves any favours with the terrain, which was hard going for fairly long stretches. But we made it! Continue reading “Dartmoor: Okehampton to Two Bridges”
Fingle Bridge woods makes a lovely walk with a great pub for lunch or a snack. It’s about 19 miles from the eco lodges and combines well with Castle Drogo. In fact, the National Trust’s Castle Drogo land goes all the way to Fingle Bridge, and meets up with Woodland Trust land. It’s now under joint management. Continue reading “A walk at Fingle Bridge”
It’s always greyer inside than out, even when it rains. Today’s bike ride was primarily to gain preemptive absolution for Friday night snacks and drinks – but it was worth it. There was a sparrow hawk sitting on a wall, meadow sweet in the hedges, and deer in the far corner of a field. #30DaysWild No. 30 – and that’s it for this year.
Hmmm, well it’s one of those days when you have to look for the silver lining. Frogs must must be loving it though…
#30DaysWild No. 27. Ringlets are everywhere at the moment – it’s butterfly city out there. It’s one of the main reasons we leave so much long grass (well, that and because it cuts down on the mowing). Continue reading “Ringlets in the meadow: 30 Days Wild No. 27”
#30DaysWild Random act of wildness No. 26. Ian has been wielding the hedge trimmer in a wildish but not entirely random way – trimming back vegetation under and alongside the line of the electric fence. It’s so we can get the cows back onto Popehouse Moor. Continue reading “Wildish hedge trimming: 30 Days Wild No. 26”
#30DaysWild No. 25. Our annual thank you to Emma Miranda Smith, who shared her Elderflower champagne recipe with us a few years ago: Continue reading “Champagne time!”