Catcing a daytime glimpse of wildlife in the local area is always a thrill but this afternoon we noticed a lot of noise at the bottom of the lake field, and saw there was a full grown adult fox running across the field, (next to my hen paddock) and there was a group of around 6 magpies and 2 crows mobbing the fox as it ran. This is something I have never seen before but as its the time of year when the young fox cubs are growing fast I think that the fox is getting daring and desperate for an easy meal. Foxes are nocturnal and it is unusual to see them in broad daylight. We know that they are a frequent visitor to our garden, and the picture above was taken at night a few days ago with the fox clearing up left over bird seed and peanuts spilled by the rampant squirrels! I often tell our guests it you want to see wildlife then all you have to do is sit quietly and something will appear, especially as the yurt field with is lake is where the local wildlife such as the badgers, foxes and deer come to drink.
Yesterday and this morning have brought rain after a prolonged period of sunshine and hot weather at the yurt camp. I walked over to the camp early this morning in the rain, and the gentle patter of drops on the river was musical and soothing. I stood at the gate and I could not help but wonder about all the multitude of wild birds that live in the surrounding fields and countryside. As I stood pondering I noticed a small flock of sky larks, in their courtship on the field, flitting and displaying. Then two herons took flight from our lake as my dog raced across to see them. Next came a glimpse of a female bull finch gathering fluff from the stable yard - still obviously looking for nesting material. Then the mandarin ducks were running across the lake field escorting their ducklings to the lake,- fortunately not spotted by the dog as they are vulnerable in the early days after hatching. Then as I walked slowly back to the farmhouse I was chorused by the blackbirds who have been singing since around 4am - their dawn chorus is divine, next came a fleeting glimpse of the little egret down on the river Hems, spotted as their stark white plumage stands out against the sea of green foliage on the river banks. Truly a stunning morning - so if you are coming to stay with us take some time to stand and watch - its amazing what you can see if you take a few moments to gaze upon the landscape!
The past week which has been the school half term has been glorious sunshine by day. The yurt camp has been full and our guests have been enjoying having barbecues, camp fires, sitting up late watching the stars and generally having the most wonderful weather for staying in a yurt or shepherd's hut. When other parts of the country have been having rain and storms, South Devon has been sweltering! The buttercups are blooming and the fields are looking virtually yellow all over. Buttercups are one of those plants which look amazing but don't do the land any good, we try to keep our fields free from pesticides and weed killers but its very tempting when the buttercups have appeared to be so overwhelming this spring. Buttercups can be poisonous to horses but they usually choose not to eat them as they are unpalatable. Some of our recent guests have been enjoying the best of Devon fare at the Occombe Beer and Cyder festival which is held locally about 6 miles from the yurt camp near Marldon. If this glorious weather continues we will probably have a hose pipe ban soon!
The weather has been stunning over the past few days and we took advantage of this opportunity to have a visit from Andrew Hamilton of Drone Camera Action, based in Plymouth. Andrew used his drone to obtain some stunning aerial photographs and a birds eye view with some video footage flying over the camp. Its always interesting to have a different perspective of our land and home and we are very pleased with the results - check them out on this website. Half term week has started and the camp is full of happy guests enjoying the glorious sunshine and fabulous sunsets.
Liz Jeffery - owner of Hemsford Yurt camp