Bird Camp Wales 2023

Bird Camp Wales 2023

27 Jun 2023

BTO Youth Bird Camp Wales. Alicia Hayden

Earlier this month, BTO Youth hosted the 2023 Wales Bird Camp at the National Trust’s Stackpole Centre in Pembrokeshire, Wales.

The BTO Youth staff and volunteers were joined by 15 young wildlife enthusiasts aged 11–17, who arrived with an expanse of knowledge and also space for learning from our experienced volunteers.

Bird Camp Wales participants saw Elephant Hawk-moths in the moth traps. Alicia Hayden

The first evening allowed for the campers to settle into the area and join a bat talk with local bat specialist, Paul, and practice using detectors on a nearby roost of Greater Horseshoe Bats. 

The next day brought with it new-found energy, where the group got to discover the moth species found in their moth traps, and prepare for a Seek hunt using the online ID app – a bit of healthy competition between campers for the chance to win prizes!

The group saw many seabirds, including Puffins. Kate Fox

It was then en route to Martin’s Haven for a boat trip around Skomer Island, where campers got to see large numbers of seabirds, including Razorbills, Kittiwakes, Guillemot, Linnets, Puffins, and even some young Grey Seals. The group next travelled to Marloes beach for a spot of lunch and rockpooling. 

Back at the accommodation, campers enjoyed a calming mindfulness session and were introduced to the Pollinator Monitoring Scheme (PoMS) in the field.

The day was then wrapped up with a lesson on songbird ID hosted by BTO Training Officer and Youth Representative Kate, then finally a campfire and a few entertaining rounds of campfire games – with the campers definitely beating the BTO Youth staff!

Watching and drawing seabirds. Alicia Hayden

The final day called for a bird ringing session with licensed bird ringers Steve and John, joined by camper Izzy who is a licensed ringer as well. Many bird species were ringed, including juvenile Robins, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs, as well as a Sedge Warbler and Song Thrush. 

The group travelled to Stack Rocks, where a colony of Guillemots can be seen – we counted over 1,500! Drawing seabirds came next, which was led by Youth Advisory Panel member Alicia, our in-house photographer and artist. A second PoMS session was an opportunity for the group to spot some smaller species and practise their pollinator monitoring skills.

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The campers prepared their own art exhibition in the centre’s auditorium, with individually-made drawings and camp findings to share with family members and carers. BTO Youth staff then shared a moment to thank their main camp supporter, the Cameron Bespolka Trust. After many group photos and moments of positive reflection, the first Bird Camp was complete. 

The campers had a great time, learning more about birds and wildlife, and sharing these experiences with like-minded young people. We’re off to England next, so keep an eye on the website for an update.

Bird Camps are made possible thanks to the support of the Cameron Bespolka Trust.

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