Last Sunday fourteen of our Young Naturalists met up again for our usual monthly meeting, and this time we were back in Beaulieu and heading out onto the water on a canoe safari with New Forest Activities. We were hoping to get a different view of some of the river birds and spot some of the moon jellyfish we had heard so much about. Moon jellyfish can often be seen in large numbers in the Beaulieu River during the summer months and are easily identifiable by the four rings visible in the centre of their transparent bodies.
After a briefing from our instructors we sorted ourselves out into canoes and headed out onto the water.
The weather wasn’t as hot and sunny as it had been, possibly a good thing for being out on the water, but it was warm and the group didn’t appear to mind getting a bit wet. Some got wetter than others!
After getting used to our canoes we headed upstream, foraging for wild samphire along the way and spotting lapwing. We also looked at a nesting platform which hopefully may one day tempt a passing osprey to stay in the area for longer.
We soon noticed lots of small jellyfish in the water, which the group were particularly excited by. We had a go at scooping up some of them to see what they felt like before quickly returning them to the river. They were quite hard to catch but Annabel in particular seemed to have the jellyfish catching knack.
A lot of the creeks and inlets were out of bounds due to nesting birds but we were able to explore one, spotting crabs in the shallower water and watching the jellyfish drift by. Turning back round at the end was entertaining.
After a picnic on the shore at Beaulieu, it was time to head back down river and back to Bailey’s Hard. Although the sun had by now come out, the wind had also picked up and getting back was definitely harder!
The group had a great time, spotting lapwing, oystercatcher, mute swans, mallards and swallows on and over the water, but the wildlife highlight was definitely the jellyfish!
Thank you to New Forest Activities for a fun day out and to volunteers Nigel, Geoff and Emily for joining us.
Our Young Naturalists group is kindly supported by the Cameron Bespolka Trust.