Thursday, 30 April 2015

Hudsonian Godwit, Meare Heath, 29 April 2015


A Young Birder's Twitch for Hudsonian Godwit


On Saturday 25th April 2015 we had been to the Isles do Scilly to twitch a Great Blue Heron from America.  As we arrived at the airport in the morning, we had a phone call from James Packer a Somerset birder and good friend, to say that someone has found an Hudsonian Godwit on the Somerset Levels.  This was 30 minutes from home and on our local patch.  There was nothing we could do now and so we continued our journey, luckily seeing the bird and making back to Penzance on an early boat.  After a speedy journey north, we arrived at the site at 7 pm with the knowledge that the Godwit had not been seen since 4.20 pm when it flew.

Twitchers from around the country had seen the bird except, it seemed, us.  We stayed until dark with friends Dr Rob Lambert and Lucy McRoberts who had raced us up from Penzance.

Although we had seen a new bird that day, we felt thoroughly dejected, despite a lovely bittern on full show.


Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Meare Heath, Somerset Levels
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig


Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Meare Heath, Somerset Levels
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig


Bittern, Meare Heath, Somerset Levels
Photograph taken by and copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig


My gran was waiting for us at home, after we had ditched her in favour of a new bird.  She was used to it but I'm sure it always annoyed her a bit.  We had to switch from silent and disappointed to chirpy and happy in a moment!

The next day, Dad went to look for the Godwit at every site he could think of with no luck.  We took Gran out for lunch at Avalon Marshes and looked around the family day event taking place.  We then spent the afternoon at Meare Heath with others who had missed the bird the day before for a collection of reasons.  No sign at all but we hoped that it could still turn up with other Godwits.  As it neared dusk we left again. I was not feeling optimistic.


Meare Heath, Somerset Levels
Photograph taken by and copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig


Although there had been much discussion about the Husonian Godwit reappearing, hope seemed lost by the Tuesday afternoon.

On Wednesday, I went to work as usual.  At midday, my parents received a 'Mega Alert' that the Godwit had been seen again at Meare Heath at 11 am but had then flown off with a flock of Godwit.  At 1.30pm Dad went off to help at Forest School at Ubley Primary, my old school where my neice still goes.  Then at 2.15 pm news came that the bird had returned and had stayed put.  Dad managed to immediately leave Forest School and offered to pick mum up.  She was amazing and said no, even though she is a few away from 500, and said she would wait for me.

Normally on Wednesday afternoons I walk with my friends Hazel and Hattie from school to dance classes in Chew Magna.  I am preparing for a tap dancing lesson and my teacher gets really annoyed if we miss a lesson.  As I walked outside of school, I saw mum waiting in her car.  I felt overwhelmed with excitement...it could only mean a rare bird.  Mum shouted through the window that the Godwit was back. Without a moments hesitation I threw myself and my belonging into the car, shouting at my friends to cover for me.

25 minutes later I was watching the Hudsonian Godwit through Chris Goodie's telescope (the Jewel Hunter) recovering from the slightly too fast journey and run from the car park.  It was a stunning bird and an excellent 'catch up'. 



Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Hudsonian Godwit, Meare Heath, Somerset Levels
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Hudsonian Godwit, Meare Heath, Somerset Levels
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig


Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Hudsonian Godwit, Meare Heath, Somerset Levels
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Hudsonian Godwit Twitch, Meare Heath, Somerset Levels
Photograph taken by and copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose  Craig


Hudsonian Godwit Twitch, Meare Heath, Somerset Levels
Photograph taken by and copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose  Craig



Hudsonian Godwit Twitch, Meare Heath, Somerset Levels
Photograph taken by and copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose  Craig


Hudsonian Godwit, Meare Heath, Somerset Levels
Photograph taken by and copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig



Hudsonian Godwit, Meare Heath, Somerset Levels
Photograph taken by and copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig


Hudsonian Godwit, Meare Heath, Somerset Levels
Photograph taken by and copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig



Hudsonian Godwit, Meare Heath, Somerset Levels
Photograph taken by and copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig



After an hour chatting to various birders I had to leave, to finish a volcano project for the next.  I had promised my geography teacher a volcano cake, so couldn't hang around any longer.

I got home happy, with my British list on 446.  It wasn't a world tick though as I had seen one in Colombia.

Hudsonian Godwit, Meare Heath, Somerset Levels
Photograph taken by and copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig



About the writer



Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig on Scilly
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig


Mya-Rose Craig is a 12 year old young birder, conservationist, writer and speaker.    She is based near Bristol and writes the successful Birdgirl Blog, with posts about birding and conservation from around the world. She is looking forward to seeing Mountain Gorilla in East Africa this summer and watching penguins in Antarctica in December, her 7th continent.  She has recently been listed with the singer songwriter George Ezra and actress Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones as one of Bristol's most influential young people.  Please like her Birdgirl Facebook Page and follow her on Birdgirl Twitter














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