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Wildlife Camp Blog By Izzy Fry

For the third year running I joined 20 other young people for a weekend immersed in nature at Wild New Forest’s annual camp at RSPB Franchises Lodge and I had a brilliant time as always!


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 Decievers.


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 perservered through the torrential rain to find and identify a huge 81 species of fungi, birds, insects, and plants.


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, Dimitri and Max where we shared the work we are currently doing and our future plans to give some advice to the other young people hoping to go into a career in the conservation field!


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 with the highlight being three Goldcrests!


We then checked the moth traps that were put out the evening before and my favourite species was a beautiful Merveille du Jour which everyone had so much fun photographing against a lichen covered branch.


Later that morning we headed for another fungi walk that led us up to a patch of heathland. We spotted loads more 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 heavy rain we walked through

earlier and played a couple rounds of bird bingo which has become a camp favourite and tradition over the years!


For our last evening in the forest, we headed out to do some more fungi photography and a final explore 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!


Until next year…


Izzy Fry, age 18



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