Sunday, 31 May 2009

Butterfly Mania!

Welcome back to Hill Top. We have had a couple of days off, so apologies for not updating our blog, but we are back!
The weather has been so warm this weekend that we have had lots of butterflies here at Hill Top. Greg decided that he wanted to catch some of the butterflies, identify them and then release them. He filled a pop up cage with various greenery and some stones and then set out with his butterly net and book. He had great fun and caught two different species.
Later Greg discovered a green spider - if anyone knows what kind of spider this is please let us know.
Work continued on the woodland playground and tomorrow we will introduce you to Harold.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Inky and Patch

Welcome back to a wet and windy day at Hill Top. It's been really damp and miserable today. Dave's away helping some friends with some painting in their new Pub. Ross and Greg were up early checking on the animals and Ross gave the two guinea pigs, Inky and Patch, their early morning cuddle (see photo) Inky is the black one - guess which one is Patch!!
We have seven baby canaries, four are seven week's old and three just five and a half week's old. They are really pretty and vary in colour - yellow, white, black and brown. At the moment three have little crests on the top of their head (a bit like a mushroom hair cut!) and they are really cute, but some of the others may still get a crest. Some of these will probably be moved into the big aviary with the other five canaries in a week or two.
Work continued on the Woodland Playground again tonight and things are starting to take shape. We're all hoping for some better weather tomorrow.
Update on Millie - today we have heard our hoglet squeaking, so things are looking good.
Further updates tomorrow.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Millie Is Eating Again!

Welcome back. Today has been a nice day weatherwise. The boys are all home on half-term and first thing this morning Ross and Greg were out checking to see if Millie the hedgehog had been out during the night, to eat some food, as she had eaten nothing the previous night.
The best news this morning was that yes, Millie had been out and eaten during the night, so things are looking good on the hedgehog front! (See picture of Millie and Mrs.Tiggywinkle last summer - hand reared by Ross and Greg). No sign of the baby hoglet yet, but it is very early days. We'll keep you posted.
The boys went down in the fields collecting trimmed trees for logging and then Ross and Greg spent some time cleaning out a new fish tank and getting it ready for the Mini Zoo.
Dave went on an errand for Uncle Jon (at the CFZ) to collect a bath for housing some turtles. Matt (also a member of the CFZ) accompanied Dave, as he's learning to drive, and took his van (named Boris), to get some extra lessons in!
Going back to Bracken and Dreamer (our two barn owls) - after spending the winter in their cage, which was attached to the house, we thought it would be nicer for them to be more in their natural surroundings. So, in April, Roy and the boys spent a whole week dismantling Bracken and Dreamer's old cage and building a new, bigger cage, at the entrance to the woodland walk, which is surrounded by trees, birds, squirrels etc. This larger cage also houses the hedgehogs and gives them plenty of room to run around, with plenty of grass as well, and the hedgehogs get on fine with the Barn Owls.
Once Roy was home from work this evening, it was all hands on deck for work on the woodland playground. Work halted on a few occasions, as a visitor kept appearing to see what was going on - a cute little shrew! We'll show some pictures of the playground's progress tomorrow. The bluebells are still out and they look so lovely in the woods.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Bracken & Dreamer

Welcome back to Hill Top Tails.

Today (Bank Holiday Monday) has been busy at Hill Top. Caravans have been returning for storage, after their weekend trips out.

Guests leaving and some staying for an extra day, and whilst the weather has been dull and damp, it hasn't stopped work at Walland Farm!

Today work has started on the woodland playground. Dave, Ross & Greg helped their dad Roy finish clearing the site, and carry timber poles down into the small woodland area, in readiness. More to follow on this story as things progress.

Millie and her new hoglet have been quiet all day, but this is a good sign, and we don't expect to see Millie's new offspring for a few weeks, but we will certainly keep you posted.

Today we thought we would introduce you to Bracken and Dreamer, our two Barn Owls.

Last August we received a call from Beth at the Hartland Wildlife Rescue, who desperately needed a home for a baby barn owl. He had been ejected from the nest at only a few days old and Beth had hand reared him. Because he was unable to be returned to the wild Beth needed to find a home for her young Barn Owl.

Well, this is where a great chapter at Hill Top began, as it was all hands on deck and a cage was built within a couple of weeks. Roy, along with Dave, Ross and Greg worked hard to make a home for the young Barn Owl, who I named Bracken.

Bracken lived in a cage in our conservatory whilst the outdoor cage was being built and he was absolutely adorable. As you talked to him he would listen intently and if you turned your head to the right he would do the same and similary if you turned your head to the left, he would follow you. He is absolutely charming and is loved by us all. At the end of last year Beth asked us if Bracken would like a companion as she would like a bigger cage for her own Barn Owl, and so Dreamer came to live with Bracken.

The pictures show Roy and Greg starting on the cage and then Beth, Ross and Greg looking at the finished project, with Bracken in the top right hand corner.

As you can see from the picture Bracken and Dreamer are now best mates and spend all their time together. But the story didn't end there. We'll tell you more tomorrow.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Hoglet at Hill Top

Hi everyone and welcome to Hill Top Holidays. Roy and I (Kaye) and our three sons, Dave 17, Ross 14 and Greg 10 (pictured with a rescued hedgehog), purchased Walland Farm, in North Devon in June, 2007 and we are all working hard together to make Hill Top Holidays a really pleasant and peaceful place to come and stay. We are so lucky to enjoy an absolutely fantastic view around the Bideford Bay and the beautiful countryside around us.

Ross and Greg love animals (probably due to their Uncle Jon at the CFZ encouraging them to help with his own animals over the years) and we have set up our own mini zoo here as a small attraction for our visitors. We work with Beth of the Hartland Wildlife Rescue and last summer Ross and Greg hand fed and reared four rescue hedghogs. Runty, Harvey, Millie and Mrs.Tiggywinkle. These hedgehogs were too low weight to hibernate for the winter and so Ross and Greg looked after them all winter in the zoo. In April when the weather was warmer the hedgehogs moved into their new home, which was in the aviary with the Barn Owls.

Yesterday (Saturday) in the morning, Millie was seen out of the hedgehog's bed, wondering around the aviary, collecting bedding. Ross and Greg kept an eye on her and we realised that she was making a nest. The boys were so excited and rang Beth at the Hartalnd Wildlife Rescue who recommended that Millie be moved into a cage on her own to protect herself and any new babies from the other hedgehogs, who may well eat any baby hoglets.

Ross and Greg moved Millie and all day long she came in and out of her bed collecting straw etc. and making a nest, she was very busy. Last night there was great concern for Millie as she was lying in the doorway of her house and looked tired and helpless, but the boys left Millie to let nature take its course.

This morning Ross and Greg were up and out early, but to their great disappointment there was a dead hoglet in the cage. All day the boys kept listening out to see if they could hear any squeaks, but there has been nothing. Ross rang Beth late this afternoon, as he was so worried that Millie might have died and Beth called round. We opened the lid on the house and there was great joy to see that Millie was alive and bright-eyed, but that there were three other dead hoglets in with Millie. Beth removed these and then much to everyone's surprise we discovered that there was one live hoglet. Millie was carefully left with her baby hoglet and now we will have to wait and see if the hoglet shows it's face to the world in four or five week's time.

Everyone here at Walland Farm is highly delighted and Ross and Greg are already thinking of names!

Over the next couple of weeks we will introduce you to the animals.