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Wild New Forest Autumn 2023 Wildlife Camp

This Autumns Young Persons Wildlife Camp was again a wonderful weekend despite the wet weather. Everyone enjoyed being at Cameron's Cottage and exploring Franchises Lodge RSPB. We had a great group of youngsters and some really memorable wildlife experiences over the weekend.

At the end of our time together myself and Marcus asked the youngsters to write a short piece about their time with us. We have enjoyed reading each and every one, so thought we would share their writings here, hope you enjoy reading them as much as we did.

I had a brilliant time at the camp again this autumn. Some highlights for me included finding millions of species of Fungi (Amethyst Deceiver, False Deathcap and the Stinkhorns were my favourite) Ticking Crossbills off my birding list and helping out with the bird ringing.
Another element of the camp I really enjoyed is meeting so many young people with similar interests in wildlife and nature. We all have a group chat that we keep in contact after the camp too. A massive thank you to Marcus and the whole of the Wild New Forest team and the Cameron Bespolka trust for making the camp so amazing!

-Izzy Fry

These camps are always the star of my year, the autumn sessions being my favourite. Especially due to the vast number of Fungi species. My highlights were probably seeing the most typical Fly Argic’s and also the beautiful Crossbills.

-Willow Bloomfield

I enjoyed tracking Deer because it was very fun, and I saw stags I haven’t seen before. I also liked seeing Crossbills as well, it was amazing.

-Samuel Blyth-Skyrme

My highlights from the wildlife camp were the number of different Fungi species we seen.

-Jamie Ward

I enjoyed going for the walks as I haven’t been out for a walk for that amount of time, and I also enjoyed going with other people (reminds me of a school trip). The only thing that I didn’t enjoy so well was the weather and how inconvenient it was, as it only rained when we went outside.

-Tarak Mohanlal-Chappell

These Wild New Forest camps are amazing. You get to understand so much new information and learn new things about the natural world. I particularly enjoyed learning about species of Fungi and Moths. Many people don’t have the opportunity to do this and this camp really helps them to get outside.

-Matthew Worsfold

Once again a brilliant weekend with lots of lovely people and fantastic wildlife. I loved all the Fungi we found, especially the Hedgehog Fungi. We all ended the weekend very soggy, but it was a great time.

-Maddie Clayton

What I did like.
I liked the Wildlife safari because I ran into new things I haven’t seen before. I also liked looking at the camera traps because it is interesting to see what animals do when you’re not looking.
What I didn’t like.
I didn’t like going out in the rain because the rain always leaked though, meaning I quickly ran out of clothes to wear.
Despite the weather and spraining my ankle,it was a very interesting camp,and I learnt a lot of new things.

-Jazib Mahmud

I really loved my time on the camp, especially Fungi finding. It was great to be reunited with friends from previous camps and meet new people,Cameron’s cottage is a lovely place and it’s a privilege to call it home for the weekend.

-Emily Hunt

Thoroughly enjoyed the weekend, with some great experiences such as releasing a male Goldcrest and helping out on the camp as a young mentor.

-Dimitri Moore

My favourite thing we did was ringing birds because it was fun to hold them. Another thing I enjoyed is looking at the Moths and finding out their names, e.g., Merveille du Jour. I also got to look at lots of cool Fungi and got a load of good photos.

-Charlie Ricketts

A fantastic camp and a brilliant opportunity to experience the wildlife of a new part of the country, while making new friends. Lots of brilliant wildlife firsts for me, including Crossbills, rutting Fallow Deer, and lots of Fungi. Thanks to the incredibly knowledgeable team, I definitely have improved my ID stills , especially with Fungi. And I had a fantastic time overall. Would highly recommend the whole weekend.

-Freddie Emms

My favourite thing was the bird ringing, I also enjoyed the Deer tracking and the Crossbills. The most interesting Fungi was a Fly Agaric. I liked the bioblitz so I could see how many species were in a small area.

-Daniel Cooper

I enjoyed Granny T’s cakes and cooking with Granny T. Also, can’t forget looking for fungi with Granny T.

-Angel Bruton

I enjoyed tracking the Deer and learning the names of the Fungi, Fly Agaric and Parachutes. Plus, the food was delicious and the bird ringing, Moth traps and the bioblitz, Thanks.

-Tom Evans

My highlights were my first brown and bay cup Fungi, camera trapping, Deer stalking and Marsh Tit in the hand.

-Max Cantrell

I enjoyed seeing all of the Fungi and I also really enjoyed the Jacket potatoes; I also really enjoyed the bioblitz and working as a team to find all of those species.

-Jessica Ward

Great to see lots of friendly people with similar interests. I enjoyed Fungi finding and learnt a lot about bird ringing and Mothing.

-Chris Wardall

Another brilliant wildlife camp as always! With amazing Fungi highlights of Stinkhorn, Hedgehog Fungus, Fly Agaric, different species of Coral and my personal favourite Birch Polypore!
As the Autumn season brings out these beautiful species of Fungi, it also brings out the start of the Fallow Deer rutting season. This led us to go on an excellent tracking session where we followed the paths and bellowing of the Deer to a rutting site, where we could see scraping patches and actual Deer themselves. This was a good reward after traveling back, as the Deer seemed more to be tracking us!
This was just one of my favourite parts of the camp, but my definite highlights were the feeding Crossbills. I had always wanted to photo of Crossbills feeding on Coniferous trees and that is exactly what we saw, so I was happy to get some shots, especially of the males in their gorgeous red plumage.
Despite the typical rainy English weather, we still all had an amazing time and went on lots of great but soggy walks. Our own group bioblitz and plenty of wildlife (and cake too) , what could be better! My complaint is why isn’t it a week long?
All in all, another brilliant weekend with knowledgeable people and some great friends and lots of wildlife. A perfect weekend.

-Amy Squire

Wow, I think you can agree that all these young people had a great weekend from their notes. We thank every one of them for joining us on a wonderful weekend with many memorable wildlife experiences for us all.

Many thanks to The Cameron Bespolka Trust and RSPB for supporting the weekend and the volunteers, Andrew Colenutt, Jane Pownall and Tara Squire and our mentors, Max Cantrell, Izzy Fry and Dimitri Moore without whom the weekend wouldn't have been possible.

We will be announcing the dates for next years spring camp soon via our social media networks.

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