Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘oxfordshire’

On Thursday the 9th of August, we were back in the van and on the road again, on our way to Wilderness Festival in Oxfordshire for it’s second year of fun and frolicks.. As we pulled up past the grand 19th century house we spotted our first species and a stunning one at that…. Peacocks! This certainly set the weekend off to a good start.

Wilderness by Jenny Garrett

Wilderness by Jenny Garrett

Wilderness is a small and unique affair to say the least! Costumes, masks and face paints are a relentless theme. Around every corner are secret venues, mock Olympic competitions and spontaneous flash mobs… at this festival having your wits, creative appreciation and sense of humour about you at all times is a must! The festival is situated at the heart of a large estate, complete with deer park, mystical woodland, grand house with gardens, boating & swimming lakes and many other beautiful features. Having attended the festival last year (2011), we knew the site was a greatly diverse area for wildlife but we’d forgotten the astonishing beauty of the place.

Dragonfly

Damselfly

We set up the stall under the shade of a large oak tree (possibly 300+ years old) and had a quick wonder around the site. It was an early rise on Friday morning to start our Wilderness species count. We were quickly joined by Richard, our resident bug expert for the weekend. Little did we know that Richard is an all-round nature & wildlife tycoon, spilling an endless plethora of knowledge on all things natural. What a champion! Richard led walks throughout the weekend, set his own moth traps, and was always on guard to answer both adult’s and children’s inquisitive who, what, where, when, why and hows!

Microscope

Microscope

We were also joined by Nick and Mary, who took walks and hosted the arts and crafts section of our stall. Our meadow board was a popular feature, just as it was at our previous events. Children came in mass to colour in insects, birds, flowers, butterflies etc. and stick them to our colourful collage. The saw and hand drill made a 2nd appearance of the summer, with the return of our wood chip necklaces, which went down a chipper treat (oh yes I did)! Nick lead some nature walks over the weekend, as did Martin who brought with him his enthusiastic son Dominic in addition to some expert equipment, including a bug sucking machine which is a great way of collecting smaller bugs without harming them. The machine is basically a hoover with a net inside which prevents the bugs being sucked up completely. You can empty the net into a tray and have a good old peek at what you’ve caught. A brilliant tool, if not slightly noisy for the peaceful festival goers!

Pond Dippers

Pond Dippers

Perhaps the best thing over the weekend was the use of the lakes for our Pond Dipping walk. Adults and kids turned up in their droves, to find out what really lurks beneath the surface of the lakes they’d been swimming in just hours before! As we made our way down to the boating lake through the festival, our quirky procession carrying fishing nets, tanks and butterfly nets was something of a spectacle! Good for us though as the further we wondered the more people would tag along with intrigue! We gathered at the shallow end of the lake and got dipping! We found all sorts of small creatures such as pond shrimp, damson nymphs, water skaters, blood-sucking worms, pond snails, whilst having overhead visits from plenty of butterflies, moths and dragonflies. The scenery was as stunning and diverse as some of our finds!

Dominic Pond Dipping

Dominic Pond Dipping

We were able to add red deer to the list as the festival is situated in the close proximity to a deer park, but we drew the line at the camels that were brought in for rides! We topped the weekend with a soaring total of 265+ species, with special thanks to both Mark and David our guest Lichen experts, who tallied a highly ‘likable’ figure of Lichen during their visit on Saturday. To top it off we had a very special guest, Hugh Warwick join us to tell us some amazing things about hedgehogs! (Look out for more from Hugh during our 12 day finale starting 22nd August).

Hugh Warwick

Back to reality and rain on the windows (we can’t complain, we were treated with glorious summer sunshine at both Womad and Wilderness!), we are full steam ahead on our plans for the Meet the Species finale which starts in just 6 DAYS!! Our schedule is choc-a-block with exciting, cool, fun and fascinating content for you to feast your eyes on… Don’t forget to set the alarms for 9am on Wednesday 22nd August because that’s when our grand finale begins! See you there (here)!

Wild Flowers at Wilderness

Wild Flowers at Wilderness

Advertisements

Read Full Post »