Sunday, 1 August 2010

Mars - Flying beautifully again!

Hi everyone! We hope you are all enjoying your summer holidays. We have been really busy here at Hill Top. Following the event the with fire engines, Mars was not a happy Harris Hawk and it has taken him quite a while to want to fly again. However, he is fully back to normal now and flying beautifully. He's such a beautiful bird and it's a real joy to watch Rossi flying him.
Back more tomorrow with more Hill Top Tails. Take care till then.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Anyone for Camping?

Hello and welcome back! Hasn't the weather been great - we have been busy here, but thought it was time I posted you another blog! Our oldest son Dave is going camping with his girlfriend Jess and they are taking Greg and Jess's sister Jo. They had a trial run at putting the tent up, which had us in hysterics, but once they had managed to get the tent up (which was no easy task), the next mission was to get it back in the bag! Dave, Jess and Greg were determined to get the tent back into the bag it came in! Greg as usual had to include his unicycle and he was struggling not to tip over backwards with the weight! Perhaps you can pick up some tips, just in case you go camping! Greg really looks the part.

More Hill Top Tails tomorrow. Thank you for reading our blog. Goodnight.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Unicycle Mad!

Hello, welcome back to Hill Top Tails. You will be pleased to know that Mars has settled down again after his episode on Saturday! Our Greg is just Unicycle mad. He rides his unicycle absolutely everywhere and has done so, since he had it as a Birthday present,almost two years ago. He was so determined to learn to ride it. He practised constantly until he got the hang of it and hasn't stopped unicycling since. He goes miles on it and is even talking about doing a unicycle ride for charity. Whatever he does and whatever he is doing he uses his unicycle to do it. This evening he was collecting the broom to go and sweep out the pgymy goat area and I caught him on the video! I thought you might like to see it.

More Hill Top Tails tomorrow. Thank you for reading our blog.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Large Elephant Hawk Moth

Hello! Firstly, thank you to Dan Holdsworth for giving us the following information about the moth Rossi found: -

"That's a Large Elephant Hawk Moth; there's nothing else in the UK that looks at all like that species. They're not at all uncommon; the larval food plant is rose bay willow herb, and the caterpillars have a curious trick for dissuading predatory birds from attacking them. What they do is stand up on their back prolegs, open up a pair of large eyespots on the front end and sway about, looking very like a particularly convincing snake-mimic that looks even more snake-ish than a real snake does Most of the time a bird is going to be so disconcerted by this display that it leaves the harmless caterpillar alone."

Ross has been busy looking after his new baby canaries. He has been breeding canaries for some time now.They really are very pretty - they are crested canaries and at least two of them seem to have a crest coming. We'll try and take some photos for you later in the week.

Thought you might like to see one of our regular squirrels - they really are very clever - they even hang from the bird table upside down if there is a bird on the nuts! Perhaps we should set up some kind of a squirrel assault course to get to the nuts!
More Hill Top Tails tomorrow. Thank you for joining us.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Pink & Green Moth!

Hello again. It's just such a shock to have so much lovely weather, long may it continue.
We have had a really busy weekend here, so this morning it was nice to go down to the service at St.Anne's Church in Bucks Mills (just down the road). The service is held here fortnightly and whilst we only have a small congregation, the service is always special, and the Church is just so lovely inside. It's magic sitting in the Church on a Sunday morning that I know so many of my family have also shared over the many decades.
I need some help here - Ross has found a really pretty green and pink dead moth. Does anyone know what kind of moth it is? We would be really pleased to know, as we have never seen a moth like this. Hope someone knows.
Thank you for reading. More Hill Top Tails tomorrow.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Fire Engines at Hill Top

Welcome back to Hill Top Tails!

Well this evening has certainly been unusual. For those of you who have been following our stories about Rossi training Mars, his Harris Hawk, then something very different happened this evening.

At about 6 pm, as usual, Rossi took his Hawk out to fly him. Mars is off the creance now and so he was flying freely up into the trees and returning to Ross, but he went up into a tree and could not fly down. We realised that he was caught up in the tree. His jesse had got caught on a piece of snapped branch and his foot was trapped. Mars was about 25 to 30ft up in the tree with very thin branches and we had absolutely no way of getting him down. After trying everything possible for about an hour and a half we rang the RSPCA and asked for their advice. They suggested we ring the Fire Brigade, which we did, as in a couple of hours it would be dark. They were fantastic!

First of all the Fire & Rescue Unit arrived from Bideford, but they couldn't put their ladder up to the tree, as the branches were too thin. They called for the Fire Engine from Barnstaple which had a ladder platform. Within about half an hour or so both teams were at Hill Top working out a plan of how to rescue Mars. Ross (who is scared of heights) was so brave and went up into the platform with a Fireman. By now, Mars was hanging by his leg and Ross managed to grab both legs and release him, so after about half and hour or so, Mars was rescued. We want to say a big thank you to all the Firemen/woman who helped - they were great.

Greg was thrilled with the fire engines and took many photographs, as you can imagine, so here are a few for you to share with us.

Rossi is the happiest boy to have his Harris Hawk back.

Thank you so much to everyone who helped.

Join us for more Hill Top Tails tomorrow. This story will be a hard one to follow!

Monday, 21 June 2010

Pygmy Goats

Hello again! Today I thought you might like to see how the Pgymy Goats have grown in the last couple of months. They get so excited when Greg comes home from school, they can't wait to see him! They are really enjoying the big field now the weather is nicer and they love playing. The boys have put logs and tyres in the field and they have a large mound in the middle. They skip and jump around very playfully and you could watch them for hours, they are such fun. Pygmy goats make great pets, but you have to remember that they are herd animals and need company, so you should always keep at least two.
More Hill Top Tails tomorrow. Thank you for reading.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Beautiful Moths

Good evening!
Another glorious day. There are so many bunnies around, they really are lovely, great to have so many Peter Rabbits and Benjamin Bunnies running around at Hill Top.
With the nice evenings we are thinking about having another moth trapping night. Last time we had a super evening identifying the moths. I thought you might like to see a few more of the pictures we took last time.
Tomorrow I'll update you on the pygmy goats, Bracken, Brando and Sasha. You'll be surprised how much they have grown.
Hope you can join me tomorrow. Goodnight!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Mars - Free At Last!

Hello Everyone! We have some wonderful pictures of Rossi with his Harris Hawk, named Mars. Ross has been training Mars and he has now taken off the creance and Mars is flying freely. It's wonderful to watch and great to see how he flies back to Rossi. Mars is a really beautiful bird and Ross is so enjoying him, it's lovely to see them together. We thought you might like the pictures as much as we do!

It's absolutely lovely weather here, we just hope you are enjoying it as much as we are. Back again tomorrow with more Hill Top Tails.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Flying Chinese Lanterns

What a fantastic half term week it has been. We have had a super family from the Bristol area staying with us over the holiday. This evening their lovely children Travis, Dexter and Freya made their wishes as their authentic flying chinese lanterns were released into the sky. It was magic!! Great fun and real family entertainment.

Our redfoot tortoise has been poorly (seen here on the left). She stopped eating and has had a runny nose. She was seen by the vet today and has been given antibiotics so we are hoping she will soon be well again. We will let you know how she progresses.
More Hill Top Tails tomorrow. Take care.

Friday, 28 May 2010


Good evening! We are having a really busy couple of days. It's half term now and so we are busy with the holiday lets.
Yesterday Jon from the CFZ (Centre for Fortean Zoology) sent me the attachaed clipping and said "Wouldn't this be a brilliant addition to Hill Top Holidays?"
Just in case you cannot read the clip at the bottom, it says, "Dinosaur park manager Ashford Price leans on Bronto, who is being given away free - to anyone who can get him home. The National Showcaves Centre for Wales near Swansea is dropping the 2.5 tonne brontosaurus in favour of a huge flesh-eating spinosaurus".
Roy, Dave, Ross and Greg have already measured up and yes, it would be a good addition to the woodland play area. Because it's in Swansea, we were thinking that perhaps we could swim it across - anyone got any better ideas?
Thanks for thinking of us Jon, we are working on it!
Back tomorrow with more Hill Top Tails.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010


Hello! The weather has continued to be warm and dry until this evening, when we had quite a bit of rain. It's strange, but when it has been dry for a while, we don't like the rain! Bracken, Brando and Sasha (our pygmy goats) certainly don't like the rain. They disappeared straight into their house - no problem shutting them up tonight, they were happy to be in the dry.
This morning Roy took this photo of the tiniest little rabbit we have ever seen here at Hill Top. You can see how small this litte bunny is, as he is next to a dock leaf! There are lots of rabbits in and out of the hedgerows at the moment, they really are lovely - or is it just that they remind me of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny!
Two more photos of Ross and Mars (his Harris Hawk). We all enjoy watching Ross train Mars in the evenings.
Tomorrow we will show you the new houses Roy and Ross have made for the guinea pigs. Join us for more Hill Top Tails.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Summer at last!

What a fantastic weekend! We have been so busy here at Hill Top, getting ready for the holiday season and making the most of the fantastic weather. We have enjoyed every meal time this weekend, sitting in the garden, looking out to sea - it has been just wonderful - the one down side being the hayfever!
Everyone has been working hard - all the animals have had their cages cleaned, Beth came to help put new jesses on the barn owls, the fields have been cut, driveway strimmed, pygmy goats walked on their leads for the first time and Rossi has been continuing to train Mars etc. etc. We thought you might like to share some of our pictures.
We hope you had a great weekend too - we just hope the lovely weather will continue.
Back with more Hill Top Tails tomorrow.