OK, so no actual elephants at Wheatland Farm, but how about these elephant hawk moth caterpillars, found a few days ago near the wildlife pond?Continue reading “Huge elephant hawk moth caterpillars”
Stretch those wings! A brimstone emerges from its chrysalis by Nuthatch Lodge at Wheatland Farm.Continue reading “Brimstone butterfly emerges”
Emerald damselflies start emerging in July and will be flying around the ponds at Wheatland Farm until about the end of August – maybe into September.Continue reading “First Emerald Damselfly of Summer”
We spotted this stunning marbled white butterfly in front of Balebarn Lodge this morning. We think this is a male. We’d rather it was a female so we got some more butterflies… So here’s to hoping he finds a mate.Continue reading “Marbled White Butterfly”
We promise this clip isn’t speeded up! The peacock butterfly caterpillars are munching their way through the nettles near the Wheatland Farm wildlife pond. Soon we’ll have fresh adults flying in the lodge field.Continue reading “Peacock butterfly caterpillars munching nettles”
Each sunny morning, more poppies flower by the Wheatland Farmhouse, and the bumblebees seem to be almost drunk with delight! The buzz in this video clip is the glorious sound of our Devon summer.Continue reading “Bumblebees Revelling In Poppy Pollen”
It was a last minute decision – a late afternoon walk on Dartmoor, an overnight bivvy, and back to Wheatland Farm in time for morning coffee.Continue reading “#30DaysWild No. 30 Wild camping on Dartmoor”
#30DaysWild No. 29. We might have been too successful in attracting wildlife to the lodges. We bought these little alder buckthorn plants because the larvae of brimstone butterflies eat them, and we wanted more butterflies at Wheatland Farm.Continue reading “#30DaysWild No. 29 Caterpillars are out-pacing plant growth!”
This is one of the scrapes we dug last year. They’re still muddy, and it will be a while before they bursting their banks with tall reeds, but already they are attracting 6 species of dragon- and damselflies, as well as supporting baby frogs.Continue reading “#30DaysWild No. 28. More than just a puddle”
Today’s #30DaysWild moment was to post this fabulously green beetle creature on facebook.Continue reading “#30DaysWild No. 27: Little Green Bug”
#30DaysWild No. 26. Today was #TheTimeIsNo mass lobby of MPs in Westminster. Organised by a coalition of major charities, including WWF, RSPB, The Wildlife Trusts, Woodland Trust, several faith-based development charities etc etc, it called for strong action on the twin issues of climate change and nature recovery. We felt we had to be part of it.Continue reading “#TheTimeIsNow and #30DaysWild No. 26”
#30DaysWild No. 25 Today’s action for nature is to learn from others – Ian is attending a workshop on managing soft rush at Rose Ash Farm, run by Cyril Cole.Continue reading “#30DaysWild No. 25 Learning from Devon farmers”
They weren’t here yesterday, but they are today: painted lady butterflies. At least ten are fluttering around the Wheatland Farm wildlife pond.Read more
#30DaysWild No. 23. Sometimes it rains. Well, it has to. Even in Devon. So we wait, like this bumblebee. At least the plants are getting watered and the ponds topped up.Continue reading “#30DaysWild No. 23 Waiting out the rain”
Another spectacular day – and another ‘new for the summer’ butterfly at Wheatland Farm. Small tortoiseshell are flying over Popehouse Moor.Continue reading “#30DaysWild No. 22 Summer is about butterflies”
#30DaysWild No. 21 and it’s the longest day. So at Wheatland Farm we’re celebrating the roses of the summer – the wild ones. Happy Solstice!Continue reading “#30DaysWild. No. 21 Happy Summer Solstice!”
Today’s #30DaysWild random act of wildness was to spend 10 minutes looking for bumblebees on the marsh thistles around Wheatland Farm’s wildlife pond. We found garden, red tailed, tree, white/buff tailed bumblebees. But what is this?Continue reading “#30DaysWild No. 20. Ten minutes of bumblebee watching”
#30DaysWild No. 19 a ‘training day’ for the Devon Countryside Access Forum took Maggie to Devon’s new Pegasus Trail.Continue reading “#30DaysWild No. 19 Exploring the Pegasus Trail”
#30DaysWild No. 18. Today’s wildness was to spend a few moments with the cows. Agricultural rather than wild, you might think, but they are doing a valuable conservation job for us at Wheatland Farm.Continue reading “#30DaysWild No. 18 Visiting the Cows”
#30DaysWild What a creature! Probably a dark bush cricket. Look closely and you’ll see it’s a bit damp, having been rescued from a hot tub by Balebarn Lodge. Random Act of Wildness No. 17.Continue reading “#30DaysWild No. 17 A rescued cricket”
Hmmm. No flies, no swallows or other insectivorous birds. So bearing that in mind, we’re delighted to have the start of a ‘fly list’ for Wheatland Farm and Popehouse Moor SSSI, courtesy Rob Wolton and the Devonshire Association, who visited recently.
It will sit alongside our flower list, for Popehouse Moor, started in 2009.
Rob found a southern yellow splinter cranefly (Lipsothrix nervosa). It’s not an especially pretty species, but is rather scarce, found in the UK and one other European country. Their larvae need saturated deadwood under a woodland canopy – and preferably quite large bits of wood at that. Allowing dead wood to lie where it falls, and leaving woody debris in the really wet bits of Popehouse Moor should help.
Rob found a hoverfly that parasitises ant nests, Microdon myrmicae, and that has its national stronghold on Culm Grasslands. He also found a kind of robber fly (this group are sometimes called assassin flies because they are ruthlessly predatory). The species found here was Leptarthrus brevirostris.
Rob’s fly list for Popehouse Moor SSSI is as follows:
|Cheilosia albitarsis sens. str.|
Additionally, these species were found around the main wildflower pond at Wheatland Farm:
#30DaysWild No. 14 When exam season is nearly over….
Or is this the look for tomorrow morning?
Either way, the picture says it all.
#30DaysWild No. 13. We were going to picture the bedraggled bumblebee we fished out the of the little ponds near Balebarn Eco Lodge, but this male banded demoiselle we spotted nearby is so much smarter!
Our favourite blackbird is so familiar she asks for food now…Read more
#30DaysWild No. 11 ‘A bowl full of birdsong’ someone said of Wheatland Farm the other day, so today we thought we’d just spend ten minutes outside and see what we could hear:Continue reading “#30DaysWild No. 11 ‘A bowl of birdsong’”
Thistles are coming into flower. Some we welcome, like this meadow thistle (and its tree bumblebee visitor). Some we’re less keen on.Continue reading “#30DaysWild No. 10 A Moment For Admiring Thistles”
Huge thanks to all you lovely botany (and entomology) people, who helped us survey Wheatland Farm today.Continue reading “#30DaysWild No. 9 Botany Day at Wheatland Farm”
#30DaysWild No. 8. You see more from a bike – we were cycling (slowly) up a hill when we spotted what looked like a lava lamp of tiny fluttering things, rising and falling in the hedgerow.Continue reading “#30DaysWild No. 8 Tiny Moths, Huge ‘Horns’”
For today’s #30DaysWild Ian has made a bee box, with a sliding panel that should let us see what’s inside, once it’s occupied.Continue reading “#30DaysWild No. 7 Devon Accommodation For Bees Too!”