Four spot chasers back at the pond

Oooh it’s dragonfly time again… This four spot chaser must have emerged from the wildlife pond near Balebarn Eco Lodge overnight. It wasn’t until we looked closely at the image that we spotted the shed larval ‘skin’ just to the left of the dragonfly – almost peeping around the grass.

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Butterfly brings flutter of hope

On a day that’s full of ecological doom and gloom in the news, here’s a ray of sunshine. This is the first dingy skipper we’ve seen at Wheatland Farm. They are one of Europe’s fastest declining butterflies, so it’s great to see one here. Dingy Skippers like birdsfoot trefoil in mid-height grassland, and our management regime offers lots of that.

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Bees that parasitise each other

We found this unusual bee, with it’s distinctive black and white markings, near Otter Cottage. It’s called a common mourning bee, though it’s not all that common. It is on the wing anytime between March and June.

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Sunshine and Butterflies

The blue skies have brought out more buttterflies around the eco lodges. Peacocks are already out of hibernation, we’ve seen a comma, and those heralds of Devon’s spring, the organge tip butterflies, are on the wing again.

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Cake to celebrate that the swallows are back

Fantastic! The swallows are back around Wheatland Farm’s Devon eco lodges, so it’s time for the annual celebration cake – baked when the first swallow of summer is seen actually at the farm.

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Baby bunnies

Easter has come early to Wheatland Farm. There are bunnies everywhere. One baby bunny spent a morning last week hanging around the farmhouse back door and ocassionally trying to jump through the glass. Today, we found a youngster in the turbine room – Wheatland Farm’s wet weather ‘garden/coffee room’. Here are a couple of clips. Spring has sprung!

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More bumblebees enjoying spring sunshine

Already, a bumbling bumblebee is less of a rare first sign of spring and more something to expect around the lodges when the March weather gives us some sunshine. Today, two species were out and about, enjoying the pollen on the willow trees at Wheatland Farm.

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A Half Term Red Admiral Butterfly!

Another gorgeous sunny half term day has brought this red admiral butterfly out of hibernation. Sometimes we find these lovely butterflies tucked up in the woodshed, or under the eaves of the lodges. This one has found some early blossom to fuel up on. There’s not much around in February, but every little helps.

First bumble bees of 2019

It’s always a landmark when the first signs of spring come to Wheatland Farm. Today, two queen bumble bees, buff tailed bumble bees we think, were foraging on the snow drops behind the farm house. Lovely to see in the sunshine!

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The bat survey is back

The second Wheatland Farm bat survey is back. We’re definitely up to 9 species, and possibly more. So keep your eyes peeled. We’re pretty sure bats roost in the roofs of some of the eco lodges (don’t worry, they won’t come in!). Continue reading “The bat survey is back”

Winter birds are back…

November, not our favourite month, but at least the birds come to Wheatland Farm’s bird feeders. Goldfinch are frequent visitors and today marsh tit and coal tit joined the more common blue and great tits. Even better than that, woodcock are back on Popehouse Moor SSSI (in Devon we only see them in winter). Continue reading “Winter birds are back…”

Reed buntings at the wildlife pond

During storm Callum, the phragmites at the main wildlife pond got a bit knocked about. They’re still standing – and one benefit is that the reed buntings are easier to spot now.  Continue reading “Reed buntings at the wildlife pond”

Wildlife up close and personal!

If you sit still, southern hawker dragonflies at the edge of the Wheatland Farm wildlife pond might come and buzz you! Maggie was trying out a new mobile phone camera when Ian took this clip. Continue reading “Wildlife up close and personal!”

Kestrel hunting in front of Balebarn Lodge

Sometimes you only see things for a few seconds, but they are still fabulous – like this kestrel pausing on the wires before dropping down in front of Balebarn Lodge at Wheatland Farm. The bird’s flight control far outpaces our camera control, but all the same, you get a glimpse. Awesome! Continue reading “Kestrel hunting in front of Balebarn Lodge”

Hedgehogs in the wood pile?

This cutie was spotted just inside the barn door, possibly investigating the wood pile.  But surely it’s a bit early in the year for hedgehogs to be looking for hibernation sites? Maybe it was just hunting slugs or checking out it’s own version of ‘eco lodge availability‘ in good time! Continue reading “Hedgehogs in the wood pile?”

Badger spotted on the wildlife camera

 

One of the eco lodge wildlife cameras picked up this classic badger shot a few nights ago. We know they are about, but only sometimes glimpse Badgers.

But then again it’s not a good time of year for badgers in Devon – for those of you following these things, we think we are just outside this year’s badger cull zone – by a hair. Continue reading “Badger spotted on the wildlife camera”

A fleeting wildlife treat – house martins hunting over the lodge field

House martins aren’t all that common here, though they nest up at Fiona’s Farm Shop (only half a mile away). But today there were masses feeding over the fields. Their aerobatics were just uncredible – this clip doesn’t really do them justice. It’s a wonder anyone got a clean lodge, given the birds’ mesmeric display. If you’ve arrived today, keep a look out for them and enjoy! Continue reading “A fleeting wildlife treat – house martins hunting over the lodge field”

Digging some scrapes to treat hot tub water and boost wildlife

We’ve been digging some scrapes that will become mini reed beds – these will help us turn the eco lodge hot tub water to a wildlife advantage! Continue reading “Digging some scrapes to treat hot tub water and boost wildlife”