Marbled White Butterfly

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.

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Peacock butterfly caterpillars munching nettles

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.

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Bumblebees Revelling In Poppy Pollen

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.

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#30DaysWild No. 30 Wild camping on Dartmoor

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.

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#30DaysWild No. 29 Caterpillars are out-pacing plant growth!

#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.

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#30DaysWild No. 28. More than just a puddle

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.

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#TheTimeIsNow and #30DaysWild No. 26

#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.

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#30DaysWild No. 25 Learning from Devon farmers

#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.

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#30DaysWild No. 23 Waiting out the rain

#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.

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#30DaysWild No. 22 Summer is about butterflies

Another spectacular day – and another ‘new for the summer’ butterfly at Wheatland Farm. Small tortoiseshell are flying over Popehouse Moor.

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#30DaysWild. No. 21 Happy Summer Solstice!

#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!

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#30DaysWild No. 20. Ten minutes of bumblebee watching

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?

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#30DaysWild No. 18 Visiting the Cows

#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.

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#30DaysWild No. 17 A rescued cricket

#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.

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Flies – who needs them? Wheatland Farm does!

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:

Anthomyia liturata
Chirosia cinerosa
Delia platura
Delia radicum
Pegoplata aestiva
Pegoplata infirma
Leptarthrus brevirostris
Pollenia angustigena
Clusiodes albimanus
Campsicnemus curvipes
Campsicnemus loripes
Dolichopus pennatus
Dolichopus picipes
Dolichopus plumipes
Dolichopus simplex
Dolichopus ungulatus
Gymnopternus aerosus
Gymnopternus cupreus
Gymnopternus metallicus
Rhaphium appendiculatum
Rhaphium monotrichum
Syntormon aulicus
Syntormon sulcipes
Clinocera fontinalis
Dolichocephala oblongoguttata
Empis pennipes
Hilara cornicula
Phyllodromia melanocephala
Rhamphomyia tibiella
Fannia armata
Fannia similis
Suillia bicolor
Meiosimyza affinis
Meiosimyza rorida
Minettia longipennis
Tricholauxania praeusta
Austrolimnophila ochracea
Dicranomyia autumnalis
Dicranomyia fusca
Erioptera fusculenta
Euphylidorea aperta
Helius flavus
Helius longirostris
Lipsothrix nervosa
Lipsothrix remota
Molophilus appendiculatus
Molophilus medius
Neolimnomyia filata
Ormosia nodulosa
Phylidorea fulvonervosa
Pseudolimnophila sepium
Azelia zetterstedtii
Eudasyphora cyanella
Haematobosca stimulans
Hydrotaea albipuncta
Musca autumnalis
Mydaea urbana
Myospila meditabunda
Phaonia incana
Phaonia pallida
Thricops semicinereus
Geomyza tripunctata
Opomyza germinationis
Chrysopilus cristatus
Rhagio scolopaceus
Sarcophaga sinuata
Scathophaga stercoraria
Renocera pallida
Sepsis fulgens
Cheilosia albitarsis sens. str.
Cheilosia variabilis
Chrysogaster solstitialis
Eristalis arbustorum
Eristalis pertinax
Helophilus pendulus
Melanogaster hirtella
Microdon myrmicae
Orthonevra nobilis
Platycheirus rosarum
Rhingia campestris
Sericomyia silentis
Syritta pipiens
Syrphus ribesii
Volucella bombylans
Volucella pellucens
Dufouria nigrita
Lydella stabulans
Nephrotoma quadrifaria
Tipula oleracea

Additionally, these species were found around the main wildflower pond at Wheatland Farm:

Botanophila striolata
Sicus ferrugineus
Sapromyza quadripunctata
Lonchoptera bifurcata
Anasimyia contracta
Lydella stabulans

#30DaysWild No. 13 Banded Demoiselle

#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!

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#30DaysWild No. 11 ‘A bowl of birdsong’

#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:

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#30DaysWild No. 10 A Moment For Admiring Thistles

Thistles are coming into flower. Some we welcome, like this meadow thistle (and its tree bumblebee visitor). Some we’re less keen on.

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