Autumn Wild New Forest Camp

We were delighted to once again sponsor the Autumn New Forest Wildlife Camp. The camp was held at the newly renovated Cameron’s Cottage in the New Forest at the end of October. Izzy Fry attended the camp as a mentor and blogged about her experience.

Wild New Forest Camp

by Izzy Fry

This weekend I have been down in the New Forest for the Wild New Forest autumn camp which is sponsored by the Cameron Bespolka Trust.

On the Saturday we spent most of the morning searching for the weird and wonderful fungi around the forest and didn’t we find some amazing specimens! Highlights included Stinkhorns, Hedgehog fungi, Fly Agarics and Purple Deceivers.

The forest is home to an abundance of fungi

I joined the camp this year as a mentor and one of my roles was leading a group as part of a BioBlitz competition! My group was fantastic and preserved through the torrential rain to find and identify a huge 81 species.

In the evening we listened to some great talks about Pine Martins and camera trapping in the New Forest as well as a bird ringing talk from me and also a mentor interview from myself and photographer Dimitri Moore.

There was much to discover in the New Forest

Later that night we headed out for another walk in the dark around the forest. We found lots of new species of fungi including Puffballs, Cauliflower fungus, False Deathcaps and many many more!

We started off our second day in the forest bright and early to do some more bird ringing and the slightly better weather led to a nice selection of birds! The highlights for me were Goldcrests and Marsh tits, one of which I was lucky enough to ring. It was brilliant to see how many of the young people were interested in ringing and the process of it and lots are inspired to start training themselves! (All birds ringed under license with HPAI precautions to ensure all birds and people involved are safe)

Happy Campers

We then checked the moth traps that were put out the evening before and my favourite species was this beautiful Merveille du Jour. Later that morning we headed for another fungi walk that led us up to a patch of heath land. We spotted loads of fungi species including Rosy bonnets, Jelly babies and Hedgehog fungus as well as the rare Nail Fungus which grows on the New Forest pony poo! In the afternoon we had a bit of time to dry off from the torrential rain we walked through earlier and played a couple rounds of bird bingo which has become a camp favourite and tradition over the years.

The BioBlitz is a highlight of the weekend

For our last evening in the forest we headed out to do some more fungi photography and a final walk around the cottage before saying goodbye until next year. I had a brilliant weekend as always and would like to thank Wild New Forest for organising and running the camp and the Cameron Bespolka Trust for funding us to go.


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