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Young Explorers Newsletter





We would like to start our first Wildlife Explorers Newsletter by thanking you all for joining us in this new adventure together.




Highlights


We have had a busy start to 2024, beginning with our first walk in January, a delightful visit to Keyhaven Marshes to explore the marsh for coastal birds and wildlife. Luckily we had permission to go to a hide at Normandy Lagoon that looks over the marsh, and while in the hide we had some wonderful views and memorable wildlife encounters.

 


We learnt that the reserve supports important populations of birds, specialist plants and invertebrates. It was quite interesting to learn that since the construction of the new seawall in the early 1990s the number of visitors to the reserve has increased.

 

Throughout our time in the hide we were able to admire our surroundings and enjoy the wonderful and delightful seasonal species, such as Goosander, Curlews and Spoonbills.


Our second walk in January was an enjoyable Hawfinch roost walk at Acres Down. This short walk took us to a communal Finch roost in the centre of the New Forest and it gave us the opportunity to see Hawfinches and other Finch species coming to roost. We first heard many Hawfinches but as with most birds we can often hear them but not see them.

 

As we carried on our walk we only had a quick glimpse of a few Hawfinches flying over then they disappeared into the roost to settle down for the night. Making the most of our time in this fantastic bit of woodland we decided to see if there was any other wildlife about and many of you found some great Fungi species. A particularly rare and exciting  Fungus was found, called Pink Disco, so we stopped for a discussion about the Fungi kingdom and the important role it plays in the forest.


February soon came around and the first walk of the month was at Hockey’s Farm for Sustainable Farming / Commoning. Laura (the owner) led a tour around the farm, where we were able to acquire an understanding of  why Sustainable Farming works and how important it is to the forest. We saw the wonderful animals that live on the farm including some piglets that were only a week old (with some oohs and aahs as if we were watching a firework display).

 

After our short tour we went into the woodland area just a 5 minute walk away where we split up into two teams for a Bio Blitz. This started with some great finds from you all which included Scarlett Elf cup Fungus.


Also in February, we ran an hour long Pine Marten zoom talk with all the updated information about our Pine Marten study in the New Forest. This included many clips that we have collected from our camera footage and other clips of species great and small. If anyone would like to see more clips from our camera footage please check out our YouTube channel. We are now adding weekly videos of not just our camera footage but also of our walks and other activities in the forest.


The last event was again at Hockey’s Farm, this time for Heathland birds/Wildlife. We went for a walk through the woodland towards the heathland but as we all know, no walk goes to plan when wildlife and nature is concerned. As we all started spotting some breathtaking species  we couldn’t help but admire the exciting  Fungi, Lichen, Flora and even a dead female Blackbird. This started an interesting discussion into how/why we all though it died.

 

Once we finally made it to the heathland at Chibden Bottom, stopping to look over at the beautiful view, we saw a large group of Fallow deer with a couple of Sika in amongst them. As we stood enjoying these wonderful, majestic creatures the spectacular sound of birdsong was heard. We had some enchanting views of Redpoll,  Firecrest and Woodlark.                                    

 

Upcoming events

 

As the we enter spring  and the days start to get longer, we start to enjoy some fresh new growth, the warmth of the sun, the smell of grass, and the early flowers growing. We can also be excited for all the events we have ahead of us.

 

As the months go by we are going to run some exciting events:


A Bio Blitz at Hockey’s Farm with the chance to explore the woodland to see what we can find.

  • Some inspiring  Hawfinch ringing at Bolderwood where we will show you all things bird ringing.

  • New Forest Flora again at Hockey’s Farm to see and learn about our beautiful Flora that grows in the forest.

 

Wildlife Explorers is only possible (and is offered free of charge) thanks to financial support from: Wild New Forest, Go New Forest, New Forest District Council and Love the Forest. We are so pleased to be able to run a wildlife club for all the young wildlife enthusiasts; we hope you all are just as excited as we are for the club to grow and expand as we all learn.


Below is a wonderful image taken by Esme Pinfield of the amazing Heathland at Chibden Bottom on our walk at Hockey’s farm. Thank you Esme for sharing your lovely photo with us via our WhatsApp group.



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