Robins making a home at Wheatland Farm’s lodges

A robin perching on the door handle at Wheatland Farm, Devon

Wheatland Farm has several pairs of robins this year, including one nesting in Ian’s workshop opposite Otter Cottage. The female frequently comes to the front door expecting mealworms, and will feed from our hands.

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Kestrel box for the eco lodges

Kestrel nest box with perch at Wheatland Farm, Devon

We’ve put a new kestrel box in the field below Balebarn Eco Lodge at Wheatland Farm. Wouldn’t it be nice to watch a breeding pair hunting over the meadow! There should be a good view from Balebarn’s veranda, or even from inside the lodge.

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Pledge For Nature Award Winner

A Pledge for Nature award for Wheatland Farm's Devon Eco Lodges

Lovely news, Wheatland Farm’s Devon Eco Lodges have received a Pledge For Nature Award from the North Devon Biosphere Reserve.

And we’re not the only local winners either – Winkleigh’s Biodiversity Group won a community award and local organiser Kim Melhuish was chosen as a Community Champion. Big cheers all round.

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Early flowers at our Devon Eco Lodges

Snowdrop near the hot tub at Beech Lodge, Wheatland Farm's Devon Eco Lodges

Despite the month, early flowers are poking through at Wheatland Farm’s Devon Eco Lodges. Not lots, admittedly, but the snowdrops and daffodils say it is almost spring.

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Over a thousand bat calls recorded near the eco lodges

Ian is putting up a bat detector near Wheatland Farm's wildlife pond

Our 2020 bat survey results are back. We had just 6 different types this time. But the equipment recorded well over 1000 calls. Of those, more than 900 were myotis sp, a group that might include several similar species.

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#30DaysWild 28: The Mini Ponds

Shows foxgloves on the mound dug out for a mini pond by Beech Lodge at Wheatland Farm

Back in July 2018 we dug some new mini ponds at Wheatland Farm – one to take the waste Hot Tub water from Beech Lodge, some just to provide some new habitat. This time last year for #30DaysWild we were looking at their progress, and we thought we’d do the same again in 2020.

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#30DaysWild 27: Biological Recording

Kim amidst flowers on Popehouse Moor SSSI at Wheatland Farm, Devon

For #30DaysWild today we’re housekeeping in both senses, catching up on Wheatland Farm’s biological recording but also getting the eco lodges ready for the July reopening.

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#30DaysWild 25: Hummingbird Hawkmoth

Shows stationary hummingbird hawkmoth at Wheatland Farm

We only see one or two hummingbird hawkmoths a year at Wheatland Farm’s eco lodges, so it was nice to spot one close enough to photograph. Having said that, to understand why they’re so striking you really need to see them flying – they are easily mistaken for a tiny humming bird.

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#30DaysWild 22: Silver Washed Fritillary Butterfly

Shows a silver washed fritillary butterfly basking on willow herb at Wheatland Farm, Devon

We were delighted to find a Silver Washed Fritillary Butterfly on the brambles at Wheatland Farm today – it was our wild moment for #30DaysWild No. 22.

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#30DaysWild: 20 Cows Return To Wheatland Farm

Shows an old fashioned Devon tractor pulling a trailer through a wooded lane

For today’s #30DaysWild we welcomed the cows back to Wheatland Farm for their summer grazing on our Devon culm grassland and Popehouse Moor Site of Special Scientific Interest.

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#30DaysWild 18: Identifying moths

Shows speckled yellow moth on bramble at Wheatland Farm

On a wet day, our wild action is just to look up some moths we’ve recently spotted around the eco lodges, like this ‘speckled yellow’, above. These are moths we happened upon, but we’d also like to do some moth trapping over the summer with guests.

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#30DaysWild 14 An unexpected orchid

Image shows a heath spotted orchid growing near the wildlife pond at Wheatland Farm

We’re claiming a small success for #30DaysWild today: this orchid has appeared by the wildlife pond, at the edge of the mown path. It’s the first one we’ve found at Wheatland Farm that’s not growing on Popehouse Moor SSSI.

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#30DaysWild No 11. A kingfisher Visits The Eco Lodges

Image shows a young kingfisher sitting on the ground at Wheatland Farm

Kingfishers are occasional and much loved visitors to Wheatland Farm’s Devon Eco Lodges. But we’ve never seen a young bird, until….

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#30DaysWild No 4. Blue Tits In A Gate Post

Image of blue tits in a gatepost nest at Wheatland Farm's Devon Eco Lodges

Today’s Random Act of Wildness is to top up the mealworms we put out for the birds. It’s an important food source at the moment because parents are struggling to feed their broods – like this one. But just look where these blue tits chose to nest!

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#30DaysWild 1. Southern March Orchids

Image of a southern marsh orchid at Wheatland Farm, Devon

It’s that time again – June is when the Wildlife Trusts run their 30 Days Wild campaign, challenging us all to do something for nature every day of the month. So today at Wheatland Farm we’ve been checking up on special flowers.

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