Wheatland Farm Wildlife Sightings Archive 2016/2017

Wildlife sightings and conservation management around Wheatland Farm Eco Lodges, notes from 2016 and 2017

Here’s what we were seeing and doing around Wheatland Farm, Winkleigh in 2016 and 2017. If you’re looking for more up to date wildlife notes for Wheatland Farm, click here for the current sightings page.

December 2017

3 December, guests in Balebarn saw a lovely fox that came up close to the bench. Tawny owls still calling.

November 2017

29 November: a Blue Tit flew into Ian when he went into the workshop, and we found a vacant summer dormouse nest when clearing the undergrowth near Otter Cottage.

26 November: nuthatches, woodpecker, goldfinches plus the usual tits all on the feeders within minutes if each other, with a tree creeper circling the birch in the background!

17 November, lovely views of foxes in the Lodge field, with a big fox coming right up to Honeysuckle Lodge, giving guests great views.

13 November, tree creeper circling the tree trunks outside Beech Lodge.

14 November, sparrowhawk bounced off the kitchen window at the farm house.

9 November, wrens are roosting in a hole in the wall of the bike shed.

6 November, nuthatches squabbling with great tits at the back of the lodges – seemingly about a nest box, so perhaps for a roosting spot.

1 November, two nuthatches on the farmhouse feeders, and a fox spotted in front of Balebarn Lodge. Plenty of red admiral butterflies on the wing in the sunshine.

2 November, sparrow hawk flew into a window but seemed unhurt. The sparrows are cowering in the thickest part of the bushes now.

October 2017

30 October, Euan saw something ‘bigger than the stoat but not a cat’ crossing the path. Interesting… would like to think he saw an otter.

9 October, guests staying in Beech Lodge reported a pair of kingfishers on the pond.

10 October. Plenty of butterflies still on the wing, especially red admirals on the apples.

September 2017

The fox is a frequent visitor, eating damsons from the orchard.

June 2017

It’s #30days wild!

Day one, jump in the pond

Day two, crab spiders

Day 3, A big bike out along the Exe Estuary

Day 4 A nest of pipits?

April 2017

Listen out for the birds making a fuss, then watch out for the stoat streaking along the hedgerows! This year we’ve even got a photo – a cheeky face looking out of the welly store roof.
Blackbirds are nesting in the ivy
Swallows are back – seen 28th March at Berner’s cross but not until 8 April on the farm, when we baked the annual cake!
Orange tip butterflies are on the wing in Popehouse Moor
Brimstones and speckled wood butterflies
Yellow rattle is starting to germinate in the meadows
Nuthatches are nesting in the nest box between Honeysuckle Lodge and the lodge car park, and also in the farmhouse garden (here’s a link to last year’s May Nuthatch post).

March 2017

Barn owls seen hunting in the lodge field and perching on the fence near the box – so we’re hopeful.
Hairy footed flower bees have started emerging from the old cob wall by Ian’s workshop.

February 2017

Winter goldfinch are feeding on seedheads

January 2017

24 January A fox with a cub seen in the lodge field. The nuthatches are still calling too. The dotty daff is back in flower by the fishing pond
3 January The fox was out and about in front of Balebarn Lodge this frosty morning. No snap – it slunk away before we got close enough. Nuthatches still going nutty despite the cold.
1 January Nuthatches are calling in the garden once more – and investigating the box they used last year. Here’s a link to last year’s Nuthatch video
OK, well we spotted this Fox in December, but we’ve only just got around to posting it. We’re pretty sure it’s a regular visitor though.

October 2016

25 October Still spotting 7 moorhens by the fishing pond – at least some of this year’s young have survived to autumn.
23 October Red admirals, bees and even hornets (European ones) on the ivy by Ian’s workshop
8 October Guests spotted a migrant hawker – and we think it’s the same species of dragonfly that Ian snapped with his phone camera
8 October Unusual beef steak fungus on an oak tree
October Watch out for red admirals, attracted to fallen apples.

September 2016

Lots of sightings of barn owls this month, including one perching on the veranda at Balebarn.
21 September Small copper seen flowering on devil’s bit scabious.

August 2016

Butterflies abound! Swallows feeding over the lodge field.
Red admirals plentiful on the butterfly bushes

July 2016

31 July A wren has a noisy brood cunningly hidden in the tree just outside Otter Cottage
30 July Barn Owl seen hunting over the pond field in front of Balebarn Lodge
28 July Kingfisher has been seen this week gulping down a small fish caught in the fishing pond
15 July Plenty of butterflies and dragonflies on the wing
10 July Have you seen our orchids post?
2 July Guests in Otter Cottage say there is a new brood of baby moorhens using the garden.

June 2016

29 June Swallows left their nest in the barn and are stretching their wings
25 June Barn owl hunting over the wildlife pond and turbine fields
22 June Blackbirds have fledged from the wellie store
20 June Gatekeeper butterfly in the Lodge field, Meadow Browns around Balebarn Lodge
11 June Stoat running past Otter Cottage and being mobbed by sparrows
4 June Stoat by the barn
5 June Common blue butterflies by the wildlife pond (they love the birds foot trefoil and other flowers there)

May 2016

31 May Swallow chicks have hatched in the barn
29 May Moorhen chicks on the wildlife pond, pottering about after mum
28 May Stoat spotted again in the farmhouse garden
18 May Red admiral butterflies are back
11 May The nuthatches have young and are busy feeding them in the nestbox Huw made
8 May First speckled wood butterfly of the year noted along the edge of Lower Newland Moor
5 May Pale yellow brimstone butterflies join the orange tips flying on Popehouse Moor, and a peacock butterfly suns itself on a wood pile.
5 May Stoat in the farmhouse garden.
5 May Sparrowhawk hunting in the woodland by the entrance to Popehouse Moor SSSI
5 May Black cap song heard, a possible sighting of a garden warbler
4 May Stoat by Ian’s workshop
4 May Young hare lolloping across the farmyard in front of Otter Cottage
3 May Stoat being mobbed by small birds at the back of the welly store
3 May A robin is trying to nest in the ventilator shaft at Nuthatch – we have put up alternative accommodation
3 May Nuthatches continue to show strong interest in the bird box Huw made (guest) which is now in the farmhouse garden.
2 May Stoat in Ian’s barn, being shouted at by the swallows. Maybe we’ll have to get some protection up for their nests
2 May Orange tip butterflies are on the wing
1 May a bat, probably pipistrelle, seen emerging from the eves by guests staying in Balebarn Eco Lodge
1 May Stoat running along the farmhouse wall under the bird feeders