Tuesday, 28 July 2009

New Addition at Hill Top

Hello everyone!
Sadness on Saturday as our last surving hoglet named Angel died. The boys had done everything they could to save her, but it was not meant to be.
On a happier note, Beth of the Hartland Wildlife rescue rang yesterday to say that she had another rescue baby pigeon, about 2-3 weeks old (older than Dodo), and would the boys like to look after this one too! Well, they are thrilled with the new edition, who they have named Angel (after their little hoglet).
Angel loves to sit on Rossi's finger and both she and Dodo are really doing well. Angel is pictured above and Dodo below.
It's fascinating to watch how Dodo is turning into a lovely pigeon - we keep thinking of the Ugly Duckling story! When they go into their nice warm box, they cuddle up together, it's really lovely to think we're helping these little creatures.
The Weird Weekend is getting closer. It's set to be another great weekend for all.
More news tomorrow.

Thursday, 23 July 2009


Hello. Today has brought sadness and happiness to Hill Top. This morning the boys were up at the crack of dawn feeding the hoglets. They were both girls and were named Lucky and Angel. They have fed really well during the day, but this evening Lucky began jumping, almost like fitting, and then sadly she died at about 9pm. Angel fed again tonight, but these first few days are the most difficult and we just pray that Angel will survive.
On a different note, Roy came home from work with a baby pigeon that someone had given to him. He was rejected from the nest and had been rescued by some children.
He is really small and at first glance he looked like a duck, but Beth confirmed that it is a baby pigeon. He is feeding really well and is kept with the hoglet in a warm box by the aga. Ross and Greg have called him DoDo!
I don't know if you remember the story of the seal spotted off Lundy Island on my blog of the 18th of June - we were appealing for help. Apparently this picture is now on the front page of today's North Devon Journal. I haven't seen it yet, but let's hope someone can help free him from the fishing net.
More great updates tomorrow. Goodnight from everyone at Hill Top.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Millie's Hoglets!

Hello everyone.
Early evening, around 6pm there were horrible, loud, hissing noises coming from the hedgehog nest. A hedgehog had been seen out late this afternoon collecting hay etc. but had gone back into the nest. We took the lid off and realised that Millie had given birth to three hoglets. One was already half eaten by one of the males and the others were being attacked. We managed to rescue two - both having been bitten. In the past we had put the pregnant mum in a separate cage to have her babies, but this time there had been no time. It was a case of leaving them in the nest, where they would undoubtedly have been eaten (as one of them had already been) or rescuing them and hand rearing them. We chose the latter.
The hoglets were very cold and Ross and Greg have been holding them to keep them warm this evening. They have just now had their second feed tonight. They have warmed up beautifully and are currently in a cardboard box, in a lovely soft warm bed, beside the aga. It seems we have two girls.
Ross and Greg are thinking of names and will let you know tomorrow. We shall continue with regular feeds and hope they make it through the night, as they were very cold and in shock.
There's never a dull moment here at Hill Top. More Tails tomorrow.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Woodland Playground

Hello again. We thought you might like to see the completed woodland playground.
This is just where the moth trapping took place last week with Jon and Max from the CFZ.
Today the weather has been brighter and we are still really busy.
Today Ross and Greg have been moving Scratchy (the Russian Dwarf Hamster or Winter White as they are known) to a much bigger cage, so now Scratchy thinks he's living in a castle, with lots of rooms!!

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Any one for Tennis!

We have been really busy here at Hill Top over the last few days. We have had some wonderful guests from the UK and from Sweden and Austria.
Ross has been really busy in the Mini Zoo, it is looking lovely now, with the new fish tanks completed.
We thought you might like to meet Hattie.
Hattie belongs to my sister Lorraine - who lives just around the corner - and she is a twenty-one month old Sprocker (a cross between a Springer and a Cocker Spaniel). She has a really loving, gentle nature about her and she is very friendly. She loves to catch the tennis ball and when she
ran off with Greg's racket, we just had to catch her on camera!

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Heavy Rain Again

Hello and welcome to Hill Top Tails. Following the enjoyable evening moth trapping, the weather has been really miserable, with very heavy rain. The animals are all fine, the birds all in the indoor aviary and the hedgehogs are all content (as you can see from the picture), snuggled up in their box.
Dave has been up with Jon at the CFZ. Everyone at the CFZ is really busy preparing for this year's Weird Weekend, to be held on the 14th, 15th and 16th of August. An event certainly not to be missed. We'll catch up more tomorrow night.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Beautiful Moths

Following my blog last Tuesday, and the Moth Trapping evening with Jon and Max from the CFZ, we would like to share a few of the photographs with you. It was a fantastic evening, and we plan to repeat it again, very soon.
I supplied everyone with jacket potatoes at about 11.30 pm, and then it was a busy evening, which wound up at just after 3 am. A great time was had by all.
Everyone was hoping the Beast of Bucks would raise its head, but only the sheep in neighbouring fields were heard.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Moth Trapping

Hello everyone. Whilst we have had dreadful weather for the last few days, today has really brightened up. This evening it is so calm and peaceful that Jon and Max from the CFZ (Centre for Fortean Zoology) have come down to do some moth trapping this evening. It really is great fun and you get to see some fantastic moths, which you never even knew existed!
Firstly the mercury vapour lamp, which attracts moths, was set up in our woodland area, near the wooden playground.
Then Greg mixed up treacle in warm water, and as you can see in the picture, he then used a paint brush to paint some on the trees near the moth trap, again to attract the moths. It wasn't long before the moths started to arrive in swarms. Max and Greg were busy catching them in the nets, they were then identified by Jon, and Rossi kept a notepad and recorded the times, species etc. Then each moth was photographed and released.
What a fantastic experience - unbelievable to see all the activity around the mercury vapour light.
The first moth to be caught was a Swallow Tail, followed by a Devon Carpet.
We'll give you a full report tomorrow night. But for now, we'll continue to watch and record the happenings of the night - this will no doubt go on into the early hours of tomorrow.
Thank you for reading our blog, we'll be back tomorrow.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Broad-bodied Chaser Dragonfly


Sad news today I'm afraid. Mrs.Tiggywinkle's hoglets were all found dead this morning just outside the nest. There were in fact four hoglets, but they have all died. We'll never really know the reasons why.

Following my blog entry on the 30th of June, which showed a picture of a dragonfly, which had been in our conservatory. We asked if anyone knew what kind of dragonfly it was.

Peter of The British Dragonfly Society kindly emailed us and said: -

"Your dragonfly is a female Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa) - the male has a blue abdomen. They spend about two years as larvae in still water and then live for a few weeks as adults. Apart from when breeding the females tend not to visit water very often".

Thank you for that Peter. We shall continue to look out for Dragonflies, and will no doubt be in touch again.

More Hill Top Tails tomorrow.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Meet Fungus the Roborovski Hamster

Hello and welcome back to Hill Top Tails.
Everything is quiet with the hedgehogs/hoglets today. It has been really hot, so the hedgehogs have been peaceful and sleeping all day, but the canaries have been singing non-stop in the outdoor aviary.
Meet Fungus, our Roborovski Hamster. She is approximately four months old and was adopted from a local pet store. She is really tiny and is a joy to wach on her wheel. She runs so fast that she is thrown out of the wheel and she does it again and again and again!!

Roborovski hamsters are the the smallest and fastest of all hamsters. They can live up to 2 - 3 and a half years.
They are curious hamsters. Although their suitability as pets are further diminished by their size and speed, Roborovskis are extremely affectionate towards each other. Their social nature means that when housed together at an early age, they sleep in one place and indeed eat, play etc. together.
Roborovskis grow to about 4 - 5cm long, have bullet shaped bodies and very long hind legs for fast running. An ordinary hamster cage is no good for a Roborovski, they need a cage with really narrow gaps between the bars, or they will escape.
Fungus is fascinating to watch and a really enjoyable.
The British Dragonfly Society are going to identify our Dragonfly (see yesterday's blog), so we will let you know all about it tomorrow. They have a great website, see www.dragonflysoc.org.uk for more useful information.
We'll be back again tomorrow.