We are really lucky to have a wide range of British wildlife that can be found at Woodland Cottages. Here is our list of top wildlife sightings that you might be able to spot during your stay here.
1. There are three roe deer that live in the valley and pass through the woods from time to time. They tend to hang out in the woods for a couple of weeks before moving onto other parts of the valley. Quite often their footprints can be spotted especially in some of the soft mud on the top ride. So be sure to keep an eye out for them in the woods.
2. If you are really lucky Barn Owls have been spotted hunting for voles. Below is a great photograph that Ali (previous owner of Woodland Cottages) captured of a Barn Owl sitting on the telephone lines. Barn Owls often hunt at dawn and dusk so this is the best time to spot them. At night tawny owls can often be heard with the characteristic ” twit twoo” call. The female birds call out “twit” and the male birds respond with “twoo”.
3. Even though hedgehogs are in decline in the UK we are lucky enough to still have some at Woodland Cottages.(Our dog Diego is very good and finding and rolling in the poo). They are most often found on the grass verges either side of the driveway at night but have been spotted at various locations in the grounds as hedgehogs travel an average distance of 2km a night.
4. Buzzards can often be seen soaring overhead catching thermals. A good way of spotting buzzards is to listen out for their distinctive and iconic “mew” call.
5. Hares are another relatively common site in and around Woodland Cottages and some guests have even been fortunate enough to see them boxing in March. They like to be in the cover of long grass. Hares can reach speeds of 45mph making them Britain’s fastest land animal and with their long hind legs it is easy to see why.
6. Greater spotted woodpeckers can also be seen. Often frequenting the bird feeder or clinging to trees, particularly in the winter months when food is more scarce. Evidence of where woodpeckers have pecked into the trees can be seen on some of the trees in the wood.They are able to drum trees at up to 20 blows per second, creating their rapid and distinctive sound.
7. Swallows are migratory birds and can be seen in the UK from March through to October. We have a number of Swallows that nest in the stables each year and can often be seen sitting on the telephone lines. Swallows are very agile and elegant and it is lovely watching them swoop over the fields catching insects on the wing.
8. During the summer months we get a riot of beautiful butterflies and bees. The woodland rides provide the perfect habitat for a wide variety of butterflies and it is lovely to see them dancing in the sunlight. Bee’s can often be seen and heard buzzing around the blossom on trees and on the wildflowers in the woodland.
If you have had any wildlife encounters whilst staying at Woodland Cottages we would love to hear about them and if you have any pictures of wildlife that you have seen during your holidays at Woodland Cottages please send them to us – it would be great to see them.
Please watch out for future posts about how we manage the woodlands and grounds to encourage wildlife and for more on wildlife that can be seen out and about in North Devon.