Top of Surfbirds

Top of Surfbirds

In February 2019 I saw my 5000th bird in the world, using the IOC world bird list. My 5000th bird was a Rock Bunting which I saw in Aragon, Spain. It was a really special moment, as for me it represents 5,000 beautiful birds, 5,000 birding experiences and 5,000 amazing places. The number just represents all of that in one word.

I am the youngest person in the world to see that many birds and this is the list of young birders on a listing page on a website called Surfbirds. It was quite a fantastic feeling to finally reach the top of it.

Surfbirds Young Birders World List

 

Surfbirds Young Birders World List

 

About The Author

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

Buy My Book

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Find Out More

To find out more about working with me or to buy my book, please use the links below.

Work With MeBuy Book

 

 

5000 birds around the world in 16 years

5000 birds around the world in 16 years

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig birding Castillo de Loarre, Spain
Copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig



The main reason we were going anywhere in February half term 2019 was to go to Spain to practise my Spanish as I hadn’t been able to go on the school trip. We weren’t expecting to see a massive amount of birds as the last time my parents had gone (in 2004 when I was 1 1/2 years) there had been awful weather with very bad snow and there hadn’t been many birds there at all. 

 
But the first day was very good, so we were surprised straight away. We drove out to some fields only a few miles out of Madrid and started scanning. Within a couple of hours, we had seen a pair of Spanish Imperial Eagle with a nest, Calandra Lark, and up to 30 Great Bustard! As well as lots of other birds as well – including Black Vulture, a new bird for my mum. 

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig birding in Spain
Copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

 

 
On our second day, Saturday, we went to El Planeron to look for Dupont’s Lark. We saw lots of Short Toed Lark immediately and really well. We then saw Black Sandgrouse and Pin-Tailed Sandgrouse within ten minutes of each other and we were celebrating our luck. The Pin-Tailed Sandgrouse was a new bird for both me and my mum too. I managed to see them both really well and even grab some dodgy photos. After a few hours of trawling, I was beginning to lose hope of seeing our rare lark when we saw a bird perched upon a bush through the heat haze. I hurried to get the scope out and lo and behold it was the Dupont’s Lark! Not the best views but definitely one.



Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig birding El Planeron, Spain
Copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig birding El Planeron, Spain
Copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig birding El Planeron, Spain
Copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig birding El Planeron, Spain
Copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
On Sunday the tables turned, though. We tried lots of different sights looking for Wallcreeper, Bonelli’s Eagle, and more, but nothing turned up. In fact, we didn’t see much of anything that day. I was a little worried too; at this point, my world list was on 4998 and I really wanted Wallcreeper to be my 5000th, but I needed to somehow only see one more bird before magically finding myself a wallcreeper. 
 
Monday morning we went to Castillo de Loarre, in Arogan, to try and find an Alpine Accentor as it was supposed to be a really good sight for them. There was no sign of them, but we did spot Rock Sparrow pretty quickly in the castle itself. We were walking back to the car when a few birds flew along the tree line, and so we had to investigate. After a few minutes of walking around in the scrub, a male Rock Bunting flew out in full view onto a bush. It was perched up for several minutes with a few females flitting around it, and once it had finally flown away I cheered silently. It had been my 5000th bird in the world! Although I had been hoping for the Wallcreeper I wasn’t at all disappointed with the Rock Bunting, in fact, I was very pleased with it. 5000 is a bid deal for me because I’ve been working towards it for years at it’s almost half of the birds of the world and I’m the youngest person to see so many. 



Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig birding Castillo de Loarre, Spain
Copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig birding Castillo de Loarre, Spain
Copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Rock Bunting at Castillo de Loarre, Spain

Copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

 

I am incredibly lucky to be able to travel to conservation projects around the world and hope that by highlighting these projects and the species they are protecting I am giving something back. From a birding point of view, it was absolutely incredible seeing my 5000th world bird species especially such a stunning bird as a Rock Bunting. That number represents to me 5000 beautiful birds, 5000 beautiful places and 5000 beautiful experiences.
Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig birding in Spain
Copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

About The Author

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

Buy My Book

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Find Out More

To find out more about working with me or to buy my book, please use the links below.

Work With MeBuy Book

Madagascar Post 6 – Days 21 – 26

Madagascar Post 6 – Days 21 – 26

 

Our birding trip was organised by Madagascar Tour Guide (madagascar.tour.guide@gmail.com), who was really well organised. Our guide for most of the trip was Julian, who was brilliant at digging the birds as well as sorting things out for us along the way. The company is owned by Andre who came to meet us as we passed through Tena. I would highly recommend them and the prices were modest.

 

Day 21 – 28/08/2018

On Tuesday 28th August 2018, we had a very early taxi to the airport after a 4 am breakfast in our room at the Saka Manga hotel.

We had two flights to get us to the tiny town of Maroantsetra, which was on the North East coast of Madagascar, surrounded by rainforest and as we found out, with high amounts of rain. We changed in Toamasin, which was bigger and further down the coast. After we arrived, we were approached by a French local Oliver. He told us that he owned the lodge we were travelling to and got us a taxi to the quayside where he introduced us to Joseph, our local bird, and Marie, our cook. By this time, it was 9.30 am.

We set out on a speed boat with a few warnings that it might get wet,  as it bucketed down. We curled up deeply into our macs and hoped for the best.

We were soaked through almost immediately and soon gave up on our mission to stay dry. Instead, we stretched out and enjoyed the bumpy ride across the very rough sea. We were crossing a large inlet to get to remote forests on the other side.

After an hour had passed and just as the waves had begun to be monotonous, to our great excitement we spotted a humpback whale breaching in the water. It was a mother and her calf barely 20 metres away. The lowness of the boat in the water highlighted just how close we were.

From that point in we had another 10 encounters with mother humpback whales and their calves. Here, like South Africa and Eastern Australia, they come to the warm, shallow waters to give birth and nurture their babies.

By the time we reached the shore, we were incredibly excited.

We carried our bags up to our hut and discussed our game plan with Joseph, our local bird guide. We were surrounded by the most incredible primary rainforest, which was beautiful but did make everything in our wooden building damp/wet. Our target birds were Helmeted and Bernier’s Vanga, both rare and tricky to see. We had already been warned by the tour company that there was a high chance we would not see Bernier’s Vanga.

We were here four nights to give us time to have a good go at trying to see both birds.

There were two single beds downstairs and a double bed in a mezzanine bedroom upstairs. The ladder was pretty steep, so mum decided to sleep downstairs with me.

Mum was complaining because the bathroom looked dirty. There was unidentifiable stuff on the bathroom mat and table. So she then swept and cleaned it.

After lunch and a rest, we went out birding for the afternoon, seeing very little. Joseph had warned us it would be quiet, but we had to at least try going out, to be seen to be eager.

The generator came on at 6 pm with a few dim lights and one socket. Good job we always bring an extension lead to power up everything at the same time.

Then we could hear squeaking. Mum is completely phobic about rodents so locked herself into a bed with a mosquito net tightly tucked in.

Then we realised that the muck in the bathroom had been bat poo. Dad had 6 bats flying around his tiny room and we had an equal number roosting in our bathroom and then flying around our room.

After this excitement, we went across for a simple dinner before returning to our room and having the lights go out half an hour early at 8.30 pm.

Getting into bed, we realised how damp the beds were. It was pretty disgusting but eventually, I started to drift off.

I was just falling asleep when mum starting calling me in a loud whisper. She had heard something scurrying around upstairs. A whole section of our hut was open to the elements so she wasn’t going to be reassured easily. She then started shouting up to dad. He moved around enough for us to realise that the noise was the floorboards moving and making a strange noise.

Mum had psyched herself into a frenzy by this point and then remembered about the two apples left out on the table. The first rule of rain forests is never to have food in your room as it attracts rats. She shouted up to Dad and asked him to come down the steep ladder and chuck the apples out but that was just never going to happen. So then she asked me to get out of my damp bed, open the door, throw the apples as far as possible from our hut, all for a quiet night. Whilst it was the last thing I wanted to get up and do, I knew that I wasn’t going to get any sleep until the apples were turfed out!

Despite the damp bed, I did then fall asleep for the rest of the night.

The next morning, on Wednesday 29th August 2018 we were up early, though feeling refreshed as we’d got a good night sleep. We had breakfast in the dark and then went out into the forest pre-dawn, with Joseph whistling for Helmeted Vanga.

The first hour was really quiet. Joseph said he hadn’t heard anything at all. Suddenly, he indicated that he had maybe heard something. Almost immediately he was pointing above his head, where there was a huge Helmeted Vanga sitting on a branch right above our heads. It was a stunning bird with a huge blue bill.

After watching this, Joseph reminded us that Bernier’s Vanga was incredibly difficult to see and he doesn’t often see them. He said that he had seen one following a flock of Helmeted Vanga the week before and so that was our best chance.

So we carried on tracking Helmeted Vanga, eventually finding the same flock Joseph had found last week. Just as we were enjoying a group of 8 birds, our guide motioned that we had heard a Bernier’s Vanga. We couldn’t believe our luck when suddenly one was sitting out in front of us on a branch. As we watched this female, a male flew in and sat out as well. It was the most fantastic scene, knowing it’s rare to see both.

On our way back to the lodge, we saw White-faced Brown Lemur which was small and cute.

There was a really rare Lemur, Red-roughed Lemur that you only get here, but Joseph said he couldn’t look for it and the birds at the same time. Fair enough.

Having been out birding for the morning, we returned to the camp just as it started pouring with rain.

The rain set in, so we decided to have a well deserved afternoon off.

Mum and I watched Pride and Prejudice on my phone (the film version with Keira Knightly). I had finally finished the book, so it was great to watch the film and compare it.

The rain had cleared up and so we went down to the beach to see if we could find a Sanderson’s Tern, but it was too early still for them to return from Africa. We did see a lot of Roseate Tern and Lesser Crested Tern on the rocks just off the shore.

That evening was a repeat of the one before. However, this time Mum managed to negotiate dinner that I would eat. However, I think there was a breakdown in communication as mum and dad got chips (French fries) but I got 2 boiled potatoes and a boiled carrot! They must have thought I wanted to veg, not, didn’t want veg!

Tonight we made sure we were in bed before the lights went out and the bats came out.

Thursday 30th August 2018, we were due to have breakfast at 6 am.  However, there had been torrential rain non-stop from 8 pm the night before. We were so happy that it was just the Lemur to see as the idea of marching around the rain forest was not appealing.

We eventually got up from our lie-in, to have a 7.30 am breakfast.

We agreed with Joseph that the Lemur would be taking shelter in the rain but that we would go out later if the rain cleared for long enough.

A German couple and a Switz couple arrived drenched at lunchtime and were interesting to talk to.

By about 4 pm it had dried up enough to try for Lemur. Mum decided that the trails would be rivers and stayed in. Dad and I decided we would try, as it was getting a bit much staying in all day.

We didn’t see any Lemur but about 20 minutes up from the lodge we heard a bird of prey calling. We followed the squawking, to find something astonishing; it was a Madagascar Serpent Eagle. Something that hadn’t been seen in this entire peninsular for more than five years. We spent about an hour watching it, taking photos and tracking which tree it ended up roosting in. We were hoping that we could come back at dawn tomorrow and show the bird to mum. The whole time the bird, which was an adult, carried on calling. Dad also recorded the call on his phone and when he played it back, it did respond.

By the time we got back to mum, she knew that we had seen something. She was trying to be stoical but was relieved that the bird had gone to roost.

At dinner, we exchanged stories with the other couples which were nice, as we’d hardly spoken to anyone the whole trip.

Joseph came into dinner, to let us know there was an East coast Scops Owl in a tree next to the kitchen. We all ran to the tree and were pleased to see the owl. We had seen one before but it was good to see one exactly where they are meant to be.

We decided to get to bed straight after dinner. There was a bit more excitement on the batting front as Dad asked me to go up and help get the bats out. As I opened the bedroom door, a large fruit bat flew into my face, followed by three of the tiny cute bats we had downstairs.

Mum had decided that it was best to just get to bed early, tuck herself into her mosquito net and get into bed with warm clothes as they seemed to absorb the dampness from the sheets, pillow and blankets.

Friday 31st August 2018, we had arranged a 5.30 am breakfast so we could try and find the eagle from the afternoon before. Then just before 6 am, Joseph came running into the dining room. One of the other guides had just called Banded Kestrel in a tree above the kitchen. This time we really did run, very fast, but got there literally seconds after it had flown off out of view.

We then quickly finished our drinks and then walked around to the huts where the staff and locals lived. We searched the area with no sign of the Kestrel. It was really disappointing as we had been trying nv for Banded Kestrel our whole trip, as it’s a difficult bird of prey to catch up with, as there are not many specific sites.

It was interesting that this marshy area was infested with mosquitoes and probably had lots of malaria. The
mosquitoes were vicious and the bites were also nasty, swelling ones.

We had to give up on the Kestrel and head into the rainforest. As we reached the spot where we had left the eagle, Joseph got excited and got mum onto a perched bird of prey. Then Dad started saying it was too small and didn’t look right. He knocked Joseph’s confidence but then he came back explaining why it wasn’t anything else and how it was definitely a young Madagascar Serpent Eagle. After much discussion, they decided that the female adult was calling last night because it had a young bird close and this was the young bird. That would explain why this bird was so much smaller than the one the evening before. Looking at the closeup photos we could see the feathers at the back of its neck, though they were lying flat on the young bird. Mum was ecstatic!

We then carried on looking for Lemur and found a pair of Red-roughed Lemur and a Parson’s Nose Chameleon which were fantastic.

Then our minds went back to the Banded Kestrel from the morning and we raced back down the hill.

There, in the dead tree where it had been sitting this morning was a Banded Kestrel. We just couldn’t believe our luck!

That was 4 new birds for the trip, taking us up to 124 new birds for the trip.

That in turn took me to 4,960 on my IOC world list.

After another simple lunch, it started raining again. Joseph came to tell us that we had to leave early tomorrow because of changes in flight times.

So we lounged around in the afternoon whilst it continued raining non-stop and got an early night.

Saturday 1st September 2018

This morning we had to dodge the bats at 4 am, get our bags out and be at breakfast at 4.30 am. Joseph came with us on our 5 am speed boat. It was pretty rough and probably too early in the morning for the Humpback Whale.

By 7 am we had a day room in a local lodge. After hot showers and warm, dry clothes we did feel better. I spent the morning in bed, reading and relaxing.

 

After lunch, we were at the airport for our afternoon flights back to Taba. It was 7 pm when we got back to the Saka Manga hotel for dinner, a regroup and then off to get our flight home via Nairobi.

About The Author

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

Buy My Book

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Find Out More

To find out more about working with me or to buy my book, please use the links below.

Work With MeBuy Book

Madagascar Post 5 – Days 16 – 20

Madagascar Post 5 – Days 16 – 20

 

Our birding trip was organised by Madagascar Tour Guide (madagascar.tour.guide@gmail.com), who was really well organised. Our guide for most of the trip was Julian, who was brilliant at digging the birds as well as sorting things out for us along the way. The company is owned by Andre who came to meet us as we passed through Tena. I would highly recommend them and the prices were modest.

 

Day 16 – 23/08/2018

Thursday 23rd August 2018 our new guide NDrema met us at the Sakamanga Hotel in Tena at 6.30 am for our long drive to the North West of Madagascar to Ankarafansika NP, where he is from. The traffic was pretty bad getting out of Tena so it was about 8 am before we hit the countryside. It was dry and mountainous most of the way with really really bendy, stomach-churning, roads.
We stopped at about 10.45 am to try and find a Madagascan Harrier, which we found miles away, eventually.

Today was the day my GCSE exam results came out. So I had agreed with my sister Ayesha Ahmed-Mendoza that she would go to my school at 9 am GMT to pick up my exam results. My mum had already given a letter giving consent for her to collect by results. Then she was going to phone me, open the envelope and read me my grades. The only problem was that there was virtually no reception in the mountains.

So as I was standing there in a red, dusty, desert mountain watching and ticking a Madagascar Harriers, my dad’s phone started ringing. I picked up the phone and Ayesha started reading my results. It was the clash of my two worlds; the most important things to me juxtaposed together. Some of my results were better than expected and some worse but overall I was relieved and happy.

Day 17 – 24/08/2018

Friday 24th August  2018 we set out early to bird at Ankarafansika NP with Ndrema. The forest was a dry deciduous forest, with a proper criss-cross of paths, making it easy to bird.New birds for the day were Frances’s Sparrowhawk, Madagascan Sparrowhawk, White-breasted Mesite, Madagascan Green Pigeon, Coquerel’s Coua, Van Dam’s Vanga and Rufous Vanga,
However, we just could not get onto Schlegel’s Asity.

Then in the afternoon, we got a boat onto the lake next to the reserve, Ravelobe Lake. Here we saw Nile Crocodiles and 2 pairs of our target, Madagascan Fish Eagle.
We then went back to the forest, again trying for Schlegel’s Asity, but although we heard them going to roost we didn’t see any.

 

Day 18 – 25/08/2018

Saturday 25th August 2018 we started birding at 5.45 am at Ankarafansika NP, trying for Schlegel’s Asity where we heard them go to roost the night before. Our luck was in, as they started calling at 6 am in the same place. After a few minutes, we had some fantastic of a pair showing really well.

We then went back to the lodge for a 6.30 am breakfast before heading northwest to Mahajanga for the night. First, en route, we stopped at two wetlands/lakes. The first was great for Madagascar Jacana, a new bird for us. African Pygmy Goose was also new for the trip. At the second we saw Hottentot Teal as well as the Jacana.

It was interesting to visit the first as there were lots of adults and children who were friendly and interested in what we’re doing.

We arrived in Mahajanga in the early afternoon, which was a big city. We were staying at the Badamier Hotel which was lovely and a bit different as it had a Lebanese vegetarian menu. We had the rest of the day off to use the internet or catch up on sleep.

 

Day 19 – 26/08/2018

On Sunday 26th August 2018, we had to be at the harbourside at 7 am, where we took a speedboat out to the estuary, to bird the Betsiboka Estuary.

The two new birds that were targeted were Bernier’s Teal and Malagasy Sacred Ibis. We saw quite a few of the Teal but only 2-3 of the Ibis. I was hoping to see returning migrants, Crab Plover and Sandersons’ Tern, but they weren’t back to Madagascar yet.

We then had a quick lunch in a place in Mahajanga which overlooked the sea. We are all at the point of being fed up with terrible veggie food, usually a tasteless choice of rice and veg, noodles & veg and maybe veg soup.

We then started our journey back to Ankarafansika NP, where we arrived in the early evening. We went out for a night safari and saw Mouse Lemur.

Before we arrived in Madagascar, my Dad Chris Craig worked out which birds were possible targets taking into account the ones we weren’t within range for (eg Madagascar Pochard), the ones that were migrants in Africa that time of year (eg Madagascar Pratincole and Crab Plover) and the ones on the list that were unknown or extinct. That gave us a target list of 132 new birds. Based on that, he thought that if we saw 120 birds, we would be doing brilliantly.

At the end of today, we had seen 120 new world birds in Madagascar, bang on target.  We were targeting two more new birds in the North East but apart from those, it was unlikely we would see anything else, although obviously, we would try. So at the moment, we were likely to end the trip on 122 new world birds.
With 120 new birds, that takes my world list up to 4,956, with 44 to get to 5,000.

 

Day 20 – 27/08/2018

Monday 27th August 2018 we had our long reverse journey back to Tana. Ndrema stayed with us for the first four hours whilst we looked for Madagascan Pratincole on any suitable stretches of river with rocks on them. We had no luck, which was not surprising as they normally don’t return until September.

We then said goodbye to Ndrema who headed back to Ankarafansika NP, whilst we carried onto Tena and the Saka Manga Hotel. Ndrema said that he had a group of two birders arriving that evening, so had to return.

In the middle of the Mountains, our driver started reversing and we wondered if he had seen a bird. But then we saw Julian who was with the group of two birders, travelling to meet up with Ndrema. It was really lovely to see him and say hello, even for 2 minutes. The group was actually a Spanish guy and his young teenage daughter. He wasn’t friendly I didn’t try and speak Spanish with them.

That evening we arrived at the Saka Manca Hotel in Tena for another night stop.

About The Author

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

Buy My Book

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Find Out More

To find out more about working with me or to buy my book, please use the links below.

Work With MeBuy Book

Madagascar Post 4 – Days 15 – 20

Madagascar Post 4 – Days 15 – 20

Our birding trip was organised by Madagascar Tour Guide (madagascar.tour.guide@gmail.com), who was really well organised. Our guide for most of the trip was Julian, who was brilliant at digging the birds as well as sorting things out for us along the way. The company is owned by Andre who came to meet us as we passed through Tena. I would highly recommend them and the prices were modest.

 

Day 15 – 19/08/2018

Sunday 19th August 2018 we had breakfast at what had become the usual time of 6 am. However, it was 6.20 am at the Cristo Hotel before anything arrived on our table and so it ended up being nearly 7 am before we were actually in the forest. There is no point getting stressed about things like this when you are world birding, as there is nothing much you can do apart from starving. I think it was more that there was a large table which arrived after us but was served before us.

So, at 7 am we arrived in Andasibe NP, which is a stunning forest full of birds. As Julian is from this place, he knew the forest really well and where exactly you get particular birds.

The only new bird for the day was Nuthatch Vanga, after a lot of hard work.

 

Day 16 – 20/08/2018

Monday 20th August 2018 we went to the close-by Mantadia NP, again a forested area.

We spent the whole day there, with new birds being Collared Nightjar, Short-legged, Scaly and Rufous-headed Ground Roller. An amazing 3 Ground Roller day.

Julian had narrowed the Short-legged Ground Roller down to an island in the forest. So being the hard-core world birders that we are, we took off our boots and socks, waded across a rivered, walked around the leech-infested island in our bare feet before finding the bird, watching it for ages before walking back to the river, putting socks back onto our wet feet, getting our boots on and carrying on birding.

 

Day 17 – 21/08/2018

Tuesday 21st August 2018, we were back at Andasibe NP, birding in the forest. It was a hard day of birding, working hard for everything.

New birds were Red-breasted Coua, which I was gripped off by my parents yesterday, so is always sweet to catch up; Malagasy Turtle Dove, Malagasy Blue Pigeon and Madagascan Owl on a roost site.

In terms of Lemur, we saw two amazing new Lemur Indri and Diademed Sefaqua. There was a large National Geographic tour group watching these animals but they were very quiet compared to the previous forests.

 

Day 18 – 22/8/2018

Wednesday 22nd August 2018 we did a little birding first thing around the lodge but saw nothing worth noting. Then we headed on our long journey north to Tana.

On the way, not far from Andasibe NP., we stopped at Torotorofotsy Marsh which is run by Asity. We spoke to the manager about a net and dead Snipe which I’m sure he just have known about.

We walked around the wetland area and were really lucky to see Madagascan Snipe and Buttonquail.

From here we carried on north to Tana where we arrived early evening and said goodbye to Julian, who had been the most amazing guide. We were back at the Saka Manga hotel, which was good to be back at.

 

About The Author

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

Buy My Book

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Find Out More

To find out more about working with me or to buy my book, please use the links below.

Work With MeBuy Book

Madagascar Post 3 – Days 10 – 14

Madagascar Post 3 – Days 10 – 14

Our birding trip was organised by Madagascar Tour Guide (madagascar.tour.guide@gmail.com), who was really well organised. Our guide for most of the trip was Julian, who was brilliant at digging the birds as well as sorting things out for us along the way. The company is owned by Andre who came to meet us as we passed through Tena. I would highly recommend them and the prices were modest with much of the money going back into local communities.

 

Day 10 – 14/08/2018

Tuesday 14th August 2018 we were up early again for a 5.30 am breakfast so that we could start out on our long journey to Ranomafana NP, which is a tropical jungle. Unfortunately, we didn’t see anything on the route except for Olive Bee-eater, Grey-headed Vanga and Common Myna which is introduced. We were staying at The Cristo Hotel, which was mid-range but the owner went out of her way to be accommodating.

 

Day 11 – 15/08/2018

Wednesday 15th August 2018, we were up for a 6 am breakfast, so that we could go birding into the Ranomafana NP, which is a tropical jungle. The forest is big and the paths go up and down steeply, keeping you fit in the heat. Our local guide was Emele (jery.ra@gmail.com), who was the best local guide in the area and had helped with many research projects. He was very friendly and told us very proudly about how he had two animals named after him, which was impressive for anyone. He told us that some parts of the forest had not even been investigated and that if he could get researchers and funding, they were bound to find new species.  That is exactly what I would like to do in the future but with a camera person filming. We also had a spotter with us for our visit.

We had a fantastic first-morning birding, with birds of the day being Malagasy Blue Pigeon, Red-fronted Coua, Velvety Asity,  Common Sunbird-asity, Wards Flycatcher, Crossley’s, Blue, Tylas and Rufous Vanga, White-throated Oxylabes, Spectacled Tetraka, Rand’s Warber, Malagasy White-eye, Nelicouvi Weaver and Forest Fody.

For most of the morning and afternoon, we tried for Rufous-headed Ground Roller again. Whilst we did hear one a few times very briefly, by the time we had followed the call, the birds had gone quiet. Maybe tomorrow?

 

Day 12 – 16/08/2018

Thursday 16th August 2018, we were back at Ranomafana Forest birding from 6.30 am. We had another tough day of birding, climbing up and down the steep paths and off-roading through thick forest, with one new bird, Long-billed Bernieria.

Other birds for the day were Brown Mesite, Madagascan Wood-Rail, Pitta-like Ground Roller, Common Sunbird-asity, Pollen’s, Blue Vanga and Tylas Vanga and Wards Flycatcher.

We drove up to Sahamalaotra Forest at 5.30 pm, which was at the top of the mountainside, to look at Lemurs, frogs and try for Madagascar Long-eared Owl,  which we didn’t see. However, we did see Brown Mouse Lemur.

 

Day 13 – 17/08/2018

Today, Friday 17th August 2018, we went up to the mountain early to go birding in Sahamalaotra Forest all day. It was another tough day, running up and down steep paths and climbing through dense forest with most of it spent trying to see Rufous-headed Ground Roller, which was only calling briefly. It’s frustrating when you spend a whole day trying for one bird and you just hear a 20-second burst every two hours or so. Eventually, I saw one but only managed to get mum and dad onto it briefly. When that happens, you can’t really celebrate and you know that you have to keep looking until everyone sees it well. Other birds were Blue Coua, Grey-crowned Tetraka, Green Jery, Madagascan Yellowbrow, Red Fody and Madagascan Mannikin.

 

Day 14 – 18/08/2018

We were up early again today and headed up to Sahamalaotra Forest for a final try before we had to start a long journey. It’s hard when you are trying for specific but without any joy. The forest paths here were steep, with lots of steps. We were listening for Rufous-headed Ground Roller the whole time. If we heard it, we would have to run to the part of the forest where the bird was calling from, go into the forest and sit quietly still. Julian and Emile would play the tape and the spotter would look for the bird. For all our hard work, we weren’t rewarded with the bird and by 8am we had to leave. New birds for the day were Cryptic Warbler and a Madagascar Flufftail, which we saw well, just as we were leaving the forest.

We then left this stunning location to make our way to Andasibe NP, another great forest. On the way, we stopped at wetlands where we saw Black Heron, Madagascan Lark and Stonechat.

We arrived at Andasibe NP at about 6 pm, in time to get sorted in our lower mid-range lodge Feon’ny Ala Hotel. This was the only place where the staff seemed disinterested but every time mum was about to complain, a different staff member would serve us who could speak English and seemed vaguely interested. This is where Julian lived and so he went off that evening to see his daughter and granddaughter who had been born the day before.

It’s been really hard blogging in Madagascar as the internet has been really weak, so I’ll just have to wait until we get home to upload any images.

Today was my niece Laila’s 10th birthday. We were all really missing her and it was great to have a WhatApp call to her.

About The Author

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

Buy My Book

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Find Out More

To find out more about working with me or to buy my book, please use the links below.

Work With MeBuy Book

In the last footsteps of Phoebe Snetsinger – Madagascar Post 1 – Days 1 – 5

In the last footsteps of Phoebe Snetsinger – Madagascar Post 1 – Days 1 – 5

Our birding trip was organised by Madagascar Tour Guide (madagascar.tour.guide@gmail.com), who was really well organised. Our guide for most of the trip was Julian, who was brilliant at digging out the birds as well as sorting things out for us along the way. The company is owned by Andre who came to meet us as we passed through Tena. I would highly recommend them and the prices were modest.

Day 1 – 05/08/2018

On Sunday 5th August 2018, my mum and dad picked me up at 7.30 am for Nairobi YMCA, to go straight to Nairobi NP for a final day of birding.

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig on her trip with Chew Valley School
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

With a new bird snuck in right at the end, I was pretty happy to be finishing that bit of the trip on 4,836 including a couple of new birds I found after taking into account the latest IOC World List update. The latest total list for the world is 10,711, so if I want to see half by the time I’m 18 years old, then that would be 5,356 which it will be touch and go whether I manage in time.
We were dropped at the airport at 6 pm for our 10.05 pm Air Kenya flight to Tana, the capital of Madagascar.

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig with Chris Craig at Nairobi Airport, Kenya
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

After dinner at the airport, we finally took off about 45 minutes late. Our flight was actually stopping on the Comoros Islands, which didn’t seem so bad, except that loads of people got off, they cleaned the plane, loads of people got on and they had to do lots of swapping people around presumably because the checking in process wasn’t very efficient. I was so exhausted after 16 nights of camping and late nights with my friends, I passed out on the flight, somehow flat over two seats with my head on mum’s lap.

Day 2 – 06/08/2018

Our Madagascar Tour with Madagascar Tours
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Monday 6th August 2018, we arrived in Madagascar.  Unsurprisingly, our fight was very late arriving in Tana and then our pick up wasn’t there, so we got a taxi in a VERY old french taxi with a guy whose passengers hadn’t turned up either, so we were both happy. Tana is in the mid-east of the country.

Our hotel was called The Saka Manga, which is the title of one of the Tin Tin books that were based on Madagascar. It was a lovely hotel and we had a fantastic 2 bedroom apartment, which was great to hang out in. We decided to stay up for 15 mins, have a 6 am breakfast, before heading to bed. Madagascar was a French colony and got independence around 1960. French is the second language and lots of people speak it as it is taught in schools and so it is also popular with french speaking tourists. You could also tell it was a French colony from the food. At breakfast, they had the very best soft french bread and pain au chocolate, which was brilliant.

By 7 am we were in bed, exhausted from our night flight. We were being picked up at 3.30 pm and so plenty of time to sleep through.

We got up at 3 pm, having skipped lunch, with a quick change before meeting Andre’s brother, who runs Madagascar Tours. We drove to Tsarasoatra Wetland, to try and get a few of our first endemics. The Lake is an artificial one and apparently a Madagascan Queen in about 1840 had the lake built by lots of slaves.

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig, Tsarasoatra Wetland, Tana, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl, Mya-Rose Craig

Almost the first bird I saw was a Dimorphic Egret, which is my favourite type of new bird, a tick back. Mum and Dad saw this without me toward the end of their time in Kenya and so it was brilliant to catch it up. As well as this, I saw 12 endemics for Madagascar which were fantastic, the best being Meller’s Duck, Malagasy Kingfisher, Malagasy White-eye, Malagasy Kestrel and Malagasy Mannikin.

Madagascar Kestrel, Tsarasoatra Wetland, Tana, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl, Mya-Rose Craig
Malagasy White-eye, Tsarasoatra Wetland, Tana, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl, Mya-Rose Craig
Malagasy Kingfisher, Tsarasoatra Wetland, Tana, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl, Mya-Rose Craig

 

Meller’s Duck, Tsarasoatra Wetland, Tana, Madagascar
Photograph digiscoped by Birdgirl, Mya-Rose Craig using a Leica scope

 

Back at the hotel, we met up with Andre by the pool to go through the itinerary and check a few things over. There had been talking of being picked up at 4.30 am for our morning flight which I was not looking forward to, but Andre had been to the airport himself to find out what time our flight was due to go (as it is not published accurately) and it was agreed that we would be picked up at 6.30 am after breakfast. The thought of a freshly baked pain au chocolate cheered me up. Dinner was at the hotel restaurant which had a great ambience, being full of tourists from across the city. It was also ridiculously cheap with most of the main veggie courses costing only £2.50.
We tried to get an early night so that we didn’t start our trip exhausted.

Day 3 – 07/08/2018

Tuesday 7th August 2018 we were up at 5.30 am for a lovely french baked breakfast, before being picked up to go to the airport. Andre’s brother met us again and explained that the fog was bad which was why they were 10 minutes late. Mum and I immediately fell asleep in the car but dad later told us it was a stressful journey because we were stationary for so much of it. Our flight was at 9.30 am and we managed to get there at 8 am with half an hour to spare before check in closed.  We had heard that Madagascan flights were not that reliable, so we’re not surprised to hear that our flight was delayed because of bad weather in the southwest where the flight was coming from and where we were going. It was 11.30 am before we took off for Toliara in the South West of Madagascar, so once we were picked up by our guide for the trip Julian and the local guide for South West Madagascar Jean-Marie, we went straight to a supermarket to buy water and emergency provisions (like biscuits for me) before going to our hotel, The Victory Hotel for lunch.

We were meant to be going to the Andatabo Forest, which is a dry wooded area for our main target of the endemic and localised Red-shouldered Vanga but because of our delayed flight, we instead visited the nearby privately-owned Toliara Arboretum.

Here we caught up with a few more Madagascan endemic birds, Madagascan Magpie-robin, Malagasy Bulbul, Malagasy Paradise-flycatcher, Sakalava Weaver, Chabert Vanga, and the rare Green-capped Coua which is likely to become an IOC split from Red-capped Coua.

Malagasy Paradise Flycatcher, Toliara Arboreum, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Green-capped Coua, Toliara Arboreum, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Malagascan Magpie-Robin, Toliara Arboreum, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Madagascan Manakin, Toliara Arboreum, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Malagasy Bulbul, Toliara Arboreum, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

 

Sakalava Weaver, Toliara Arboreum, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

 

Here, we bumped into our first group of birders let alone a bird Tour. It was a Rockjumper Tours group, whose leader was really friendly to us. Dad had actually thought about us going on this tour, but it started before I had finished my school trip in Kenya, so had to be ruled out.

When we got back to the hotel, the Rockjumper Tours group arrived just after us, which was another co-incidence.

After dinner, I decided to take advantage of the lull and get an early night.

 

Day 4 – 08/08/2018

Wednesday 8th August 2018, we opted for a 5.30 am breakfast before going straight out birding to Andatabo Forest, which is a dry forest which we had to miss the day before.

The main target was Red-Shouldered Vanga, which you only get in this forest. This is a really special bird for me and one that I really want to see. Phoebe Snetsinger is still the top female world birder, almost 20 years after she died in Madagascar in a car accident. She was an amazing woman who was passionate about birds and who only started world birding after she was diagnosed with cancer. Really inspirational. Red-shouldered Vanga was the last new bird that she saw before she died. I think that seeing one would be really really emotional.

 


 

When I Googled “Phoebe Snetsinger birder”, this is a screenshot of part of the page. It made me giggle, as I love Jack Black and “almost” met Greg Miller (the birder Jack Black was playing) on a mountainside in Arizona a couple of years ago.

After two hours, we had seen Common Newtonia, Crested Drongo, Subdesert Brush Warbler, Soulmanga Sunbird and Lafresnaye’s Vanga but no sign of Red-shouldered Vanga.  I felt so disappointed but this was meant to be. The only thing that cheered me up was that we would be able to try again when we returned to Toliara in a couple of days.

 

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig, Andatabo Forest, Toliara, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Common Jery, Andatabo Forest, Toliara, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Common Newtonia, Andatabo Forest, Toliara, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Lafresnaye’s Vanga, Andatabo Forest, Toliara, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Soumanga Sunbird, Andatabo Forest, Toliara, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

From here, we drove straight to the quayside. First, we loaded our bags into a wooden cart pulled by two zebus, which then took us across a muddy bay as the tide was out, to a waiting speed boat to which we were transferred. Then we had an hour and a half speed boat journey to the beach resort of Anakao which is further south from Toliara and opposite the island of Nosy Ve, where were birded early afternoon.

The target for mum and I was a Red-tailed Tropicbird, which bred on the island, but which dad had seen before. There were still large young on nests under bushes as well adults flying around, which were stunning. We also saw Madagascan Cisticola on the island which was a bonus. I was hoping to catch up with Crab Plover and Sanderson’s Terns, but I think it was too early for them this far south.

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig on the way to Anakao, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Anakao, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Sandbank off Nosy Ve, Anakao, Madagascar

Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig on the way to Nosy Ve, Anakao, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig on the way to Nosy Ve, Anakao, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig, Nosy Ve, Anakao, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Nosy Ve, Anakao, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Red-tailed Tropicbird, Nosy Ve, Anakao, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Immature Red-tailed Tropicbird, Nosy Ve, Anakao, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

We were back on the beach by 3.30 pm, so after a quick Littoral Rock Thrush twitch behind our bungalow, we had loads of time to swim and sunbathe, which was fantastic and restful. It always makes a change to get some R & R on a full-on birding trip. It’s really is idyllic here with white sand and the island across the water.

Littoral Rock Thrush, Anakao, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Just as it turned dark, we heard nightjar calling outside and immediately found Madagascan Nightjar behind us. Julian and Jean-Marie came to find us at this point and so we’re able to help us to find another couple of birds.

Madagascar Nightjar, Anakao, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

After a very expensive dinner, we made sure we were in bed by 9.30 pm, as tomorrow we were being picked up at 4.30 am with a packed breakfast.

Day 5  – 09/08/2018

Today, we were up at 4.00 am, to leave at 4.30 am with a few bits for breakfast to drive southeast to Tisimanampetostra Lake and Nature Reserve. It was a two-hour drive to the lake, so I managed to sleep the whole way and still arrived at 6.30 am just as the sun was rising. We had another local guide with us and saw a whole load of endemic birds, especially after birding in the dry forest. The best were Madagascan Plover, which is critically endangered and there are only about 3000 left, Madagascan Sandgrouse which only has a few birds left here due to hunting, Greater and Lesser Vasa Parrots, Archbold’s Newtonia and the stunning Verreaux’s Coua.

 

Tisimanampetostra Lake, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

 

Black-winged Stilt, Tisimanampetostra Lake, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig, Tisimanampetostra Lake, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Madagascan Soundgrouse, Tisimanampetostra Lake, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Madagascan Soundgrouse, Tisimanampetostra Lake, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Madagascan Soundgrouse, Tisimanampetostra Lake, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Madagascan Swamp Warbler, Tisimanampetostra Lake, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Madagascan Plover, Tisimanampetostra Lake, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Red-billed Teal, Tisimanampetostra Lake, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Archbold’s Newtonia, Tisimanampetostra Nature Reserve, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig with a 2000 year old Boabab tree,
Tisimanampetostra Nature Reserve, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Madagascar Lark, Tisimanampetostra Nature Reserve, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Ringtail Lemur, Tisimanampetostra Nature Reserve, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Ringtail Lemur, Tisimanampetostra Nature Reserve, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Verreaux Coua, Tisimanampetostra Nature Reserve, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Verreaux Coua, Tisimanampetostra Nature Reserve, Madagascar
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

 

We looked in the dry forest for Red-shouldered Vaga, but with no luck, as they are even rarer here. Maybe tomorrow…

As it was getting hot, we headed back to the beach and were thereby midday, so that I could spend the whole afternoon sunbathing, swimming and reading.
Madagascar List – 62Number of new life birds – 39

World List – 4,865

About The Author

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

Buy My Book

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Find Out More

To find out more about working with me or to buy my book, please use the links below.

Work With MeBuy Book

Kenya post 2 – Day 18

Kenya post 2 – Day 18

Due to my GCSE exams, I had an especially long summer holiday this year and my family and I decided to take full advantage of this by going to Tanzania for three weeks, Madagascar for 4 weeks, and with a three-week school trip to Kenya wedged between them. I had one day of birding at the beginning and end of my school trip to Kenya.

Day 18 – 5 August 2018

Our bird guide, Moses Kandie (kandyrop@yahoo.com) had guided us around Kenya in 2014. Funnily enough, I saw my 4,000th bird in the world with him on my first morning of birding in Kenya. It was good to see him again. He was a great guide, which was why we were birding with him again.

This morning Moses and my parents picked me up from the Nairobi YMCA at 7.30 am. It was sad to say goodbye to all my friends, having had a really great time in Kisii and Masai Mara getting to know the communities there.

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig in Kisii, Kenya with Chew Valley School
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

We birded in Nairobi National Park, which is just on the outskirts of the city. It was strange looking out on the savannah and seeing skyscrapers in the background, but I really love it.  This was the third time I had birded here.

The new bird for the morning was Striped Crake, which was a fantastic bonus. Moses had told us that he did not even have a reliable site for this.

We also saw a Saddlebilled Stork, which was new for this trip. A Black-backed Jackal did try it’s luck, but didn’t get far!

 

Saddlebilled Stork, Nairobi NP, Kenya
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Saddle-billed Stork, Nairobi NP, Kenya
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Black-backed Jackal, Nairobi National Park, Kenya
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

 

White-winged Widowbird, Nairobi NP, Kenya
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

 

Gabar Goshawk dark morph, Nairobi NP, Kenya
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Lesser Swamp Warbler, Nairobi NP, Kenya
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

 

Grey-crowned Cranes, Nairobi National Park, Kenya
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Trip list Kenya – 80

New birds Kenya – 4World List – 4835

Topi, Nairobi National Park, Kenya
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Giraffe, Nairobi National Park, Kenya
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

We had seen the site where the government has burnt stashes of ivory in 2012. There had been another burning since we last visited, on 30 April 2016, with over 105 tons of ivory destroyed which amounted to the tusks of 6,000 elephants and worth 68 million pounds. I agree with them that any kind trade in ivory creates a market for it and leads to more poaching. We must stop governments around the world going back on this promise.

Ivory Burning Memorial, Nairobi National Park, Kenya
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Burnt ivory, Ivory Burning Memorial, Nairobi National Park, Kenya
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

We then went to Nairobi Airport for our evening flight to Madagascar.

About The Author

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

Buy My Book

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Find Out More

To find out more about working with me or to buy my book, please use the links below.

Work With MeBuy Book

Kenya Blog Post 1 – Days 1-2

Kenya Blog Post 1 – Days 1-2

 

Due to my GCSE exams, I had an especially long summer holiday this year and my family and I decided to take full advantage of this by going to Tanzania for three weeks, Madagascar for 4 weeks, and with a three week school trip to Kenya wedged between them. I had one day of birding at the beginning and end of my school trip to Kenya.

This evening we arrived in Nairobi Airport, having travelled East all day and fly out of Dar.  We were met at the airport by a driver from our accommodation Wildebeest Eco Camp. It had been recommended to us and had a great vibe, with loads of young people and even a lorry overland trip.
With the wifi not working, I wasn’t able to upload by blog posts of photographs, so left Mum with strict instructions to do that the next evening if there was wifi.

Day 2 – 20 July 2018

Our bird guide, Moses Kandie (kandyrop@yahoo.com) had guided us around Kenya in 2014. Funnily enough, I saw my 4,000th bird in the world with him on my first morning of birding in Kenya. It was good to see him again. He was a great guide, which was why we were birding with him again.

This morning we birded in Nairobi National Park, which is just on the outskirts of the city. It was strange looking out on a savannah and seeing skyscrapers in the background. We had birded here on our last afternoon in We had one real target for the morning, Shelley’s Francolin. As well as getting amazingly close views of this, we saw A Fan-tailed Grassbird and Cuckoo-finch, both of which were new birds for us.

Trip list Kenya – 71

New birds Kenya – 3

Variable Sunbird, Nairobi National Park, Kenya
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Dusky Turtle Dove, Nairobi National Park, Kenya
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Nile Crocodile, Nairobi National Park, Kenya
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Brimstone Canary, Nairobi National Park, Kenya
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Secretary Bird on Nest, Nairobi National Park, Kenya
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Long-tailed Fiscal, Nairobi National Park, Kenya
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Yellow-throated Longclaw, Nairobi National Park, Kenya
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Black-backed Jackal, Nairobi National Park, Kenya
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Mum birdingl, Nairobi National Park, Kenya
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Shelley’s Francolin, Nairobi National Park, Kenya
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Topi, Nairobi National Park, Kenya
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Nairobi National Park, Kenya
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Grey-crowned Cranes, Nairobi National Park, Kenya
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Giraffel, Nairobi National Park, Kenya
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
African Python, Nairobi National Park, Kenya
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

 

We had lunch at the Nairobi National Park and what was incredible was that there were literally thousands of mainly primary age children visiting the national park, visiting the animal sanctuary and hopefully educated about the need to conserve animals.

We had seen the site where the government has burnt stashes of ivory in 2012. There had been another burning since we last visited, on 30 April 2016, with over 105 tons of ivory destroyed which amounted to the tusks of 6,000 elephants and worth 68 million pounds. I agree with them that any kind trade in ivory creates a market for it and leads to more poaching.

Ivory Burning Memorial, Nairobi National Park, Kenya
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Burnt ivory, Ivory Burning Memorial, Nairobi National Park, Kenya
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Ivory Burning Memorial, Nairobi National Park, Kenya
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Burnt ivory, Ivory Burning Memorial, Nairobi National Park, Kenya
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Ivory Burning Memorial, Nairobi National Park, Kenya
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Kenya is the only country in the area to ba n trophy hunting altogether.How can you have a National Park stopping poaching on one side of a line and people paying $100,000 dollars for a weeks’ poaching (AKA hunting) permit on the other side of the line such as in Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa. No wonder some poachers who are poor locals feel aggrieved. One rule for them and another for each white people. If you feel like me, write to these governments and say you will boycott their countries until they stop  trophy hunting.

We then went to Nairobi Airport and met up with my school group. I left my parents and Moses at this point, to meet up again in 16 days.

We were spending the night in Nairobi YMCA before travelling to Kisii in West Kenya. We were visiting a community project which was organised by Mend The Gap.

We then had a week off on safari in the Masai Mara and followed by a week with the Masai putting in solar panels to power up phones, whilst half the group did a walk in Mount Kenya.

My school, Chew Valley School were visiting at the same time as Gordano School, Churchill School and Clevedon School which are all close to my school and now in the same Lighthouse Academy.

About The Author

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

Buy My Book

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Find Out More

To find out more about working with me or to buy my book, please use the links below.

Work With MeBuy Book

Birding in Tanzania Blog – Days 20-23

Birding in Tanzania Blog – Days 20-23

Due to my GCSE exams, I had an especially long summer holiday this year and my family and I decided to take full advantage of this by going to Tanzania for three weeks, Madagascar for 4 weeks, and with a three week school trip to Kenya wedged between them.

We had booked our 22 day birding trip with Tanzania Birding and Beyond (www.tanzaniabirding.com/about-us.html). Tina in the office was very responsive and sorted queries out very quickly. It is a Tanzanian owned company which is also great. Our guide was Anthony Raphael who was excellent at digging out the target species for us, staying focussed and not giving up. Our driver Gaiten was also brilliant, having some very long journeys to do. Anthony is at the Bird Fair 2018, so go an talk to him.

Day 20 – 16 July 2018

Monday 16th July 2018, we woke up in the lovely Swiss Tan Hotel and headed off to dry woodland, Miombo Forest, next to Mikumi National Park, starting at 5.30am. We were birding in an area run by the the military because there is an oil pipe running through to Malawi. For this reason we had to be out by 7.30 am and couldn’t take cameras in with us (so no photos).

We had a long list of birds to see here, so we birded until 8 am, went back to the hotel for breakfast, birded again until a late lunch, back to the hotel for lunch and that back again birding until dusk.
Birds we saw were Racket-tailed Roller, Pale-billed Hornbill, Speckle-throated Woodpecker, Stierling’s Woodpecker, Pale Batis, White-breasted Cuckoo-shrike, Cinnamon-breasted Tit, Neddicky, Stierling’s Wren-babbler, Western Violet-backed Sunbird, Yellow-throated Petronia, Broad-tailed Paradise Whydah and another Miombo Blue-eared Starling.

We then moved on to stay in a lodge by the entrance into East Udzungwas NP.

Day 21 – 17 July 2018

On the morning of Tuesday 17th July, we birded before breakfast in an area of scrub just outside the lodge. Here we heard a East Coast Boubou and saw Southern Brown-throated Weaver, Red-throated Twinspot, Moustached Grass Warbler, and Riechard’s Seedeater. There was another Twinspot species that we were looked for and then couldn’t find.

Southern Brown-throated Weaver, East Udunzungwa NP,  Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Yellow-crowned Canaary, East Udunzungwa NP, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

After breakfast, we then did the long drive to the Kilombero flood planes. However, due to climate change the flood planes were dry and was now mostly cultivated.We saw most of our target species, but not all. West African Darter, Black-winged Bishop (but still no Zanzibar Bishop), Wire-tailed Swallow, Coppery-tailed Coucal, Kilmobero Weaver and two as yet un-described species of Cisticola; White-tailed Cisticola and Kilombero Cisticola. One of these has not been described even though it has been known about for about 25 years. I think there has to be a balance because if species aren’t described, they are not usually protected. Nothing is stopping these birds becoming extinct at the moment.

Black-winged Bishop, Kilombero flood plains, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Kilombero Cisticola, Kilombero flood plains, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Kilombero Weaver, Kilombero flood plains, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Kilombero Weaver, Kilombero flood plains, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Wire-tailed Swallow at nest, Kilombero flood plains, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
African Harrier Hawk, Kilombero flood plains, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Just outside the lodge, by the entrance into the East Udunzungwa NP, we saw the endemic Iringa Colobus Monkeys.

Iringa Red Colobus Monkey, Ugunzungwa, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Then when we were back to the lodge, we walked the scrubland again for still didn’t see the remaining species of Twinspot.

Day 22 – 18 July 2018

The morning of Wednesday 18th July 2018, we spent the morning birding in East Udzungwas NP looking for one species, the  Livington’s Flycatcher.  It’s a bird I wanted to see just for the name.

Retz’s Helmet Shrike, Udzungwas NP, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Yellow Baboon, Udzungwas NP, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

After seeing this, we drove north to bird in Miombo Forest,  on the edge of the National Park in Miombo Forest again and this time managed to see Shelly’s Sunbird and Green-throated Woodpecker on our way back through. It was fantastic to see all the target birds here.
We also saw some other great birds including Red-throated Wryneck, Brown-headed Parrot, Speckle-throated Woodpecker, Crested Barbet, Pale Batis and Racket-tailed Roller.

Brown-headed Parrot, Miombo Forest, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Crested Barbet, Miombo Forest, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Pale Batis, Miombo Forest, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Racket-tailed Roller, Miombo Forest, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Red-throated Wryneck, Miombo Forest, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Speckle-throated Woodpecker, Miombo Forest, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Day 23 – 19 July 2018

Thursday 29th July, we had an early start to drive east to Dar es Salaam. The traffic is always heavy in Dar, due to road works and so we were met on the outskirts who knew the back roads really well and could get us into the airport through the back entrance. It felt sad to say goodbye to Anthony and Geiton after our three weeks together and I hope we meet again, maybe birding Malawi. Six hours later we arrived at Dar for our flight to Nairobi, Kenya.

Tanzania trip list – 451 (+ 2 un-described species)
New birds seen in Tanzania – 92 (+ 2 un-described species)

World List  = 4738 + 92 = 4830

About The Author

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

Buy My Book

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Find Out More

To find out more about working with me or to buy my book, please use the links below.

Work With MeBuy Book

Birding in Tanzania Blog – Days 16 – 19

Birding in Tanzania Blog – Days 16 – 19

Due to my GCSE exams, I had an especially long summer holiday this year and my family and I decided to take full advantage of this by going to Tanzania for three weeks, Madagascar for 4 weeks, and with a three week school trip to Kenya wedged between them.

We had booked our 22 day birding trip with Tanzania Birding and Beyond (www.tanzaniabirding.com/about-us.html). Tina in the office was very responsive and sorted queries out very quickly. It is a Tanzanian owned company which is also great. Our guide was Anthony Raphael who was excellent at digging out the target species for us, staying focussed and not giving up. Our driver Gaiten was also brilliant, having some very long journeys to do. Anthony is at the Bird Fair 2018, so go and talk to him.

Day 16 – 12 July 2018

On Thursday 12th July, we awoke feeling flat and tired from staying up to watch England lose in the World Cup semi-finals. In a way it was good not to be home, will all the disappointment inevitably around. Birding is a great antidote for misery.

As Mum and Dad had missed the Usambara Akalat the evening before, Anthony was taking us to a different site to give it another chance. We were moving on afterwards so didn’t have long to spend looking, which was added pressure.  It’s always particularly painful to miss a bird, but much more so when your 16 year old daughter sees it and you don’t. Then for years to come, every time you look through your world list, the injustice and pain is felt again.

However, luck was with them, as within a short time we heard a Usambara Akalat. We had to then follow the call into the forest on a rough steep trail before catching sight of the bird.  There was a silent relief after both Mum and Dad had seen the bird.

We also saw some of the regional endemics again; Shelley’s, Mountain and Fischer’s Greenbul, Black-headed Apalis, Usambara Double-collared Sunbird and fantastic views of Spot-throat.

Black-headed Apalis, West Usamabara, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Usambara Double-collared Sunbird, West Usamabara, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

By 11 am, we have returned to the Lodge, got our bags and got on our way to the East Usambara.En-route from West to East Usamabara, we looked for Zanzibar Red Bishop at the road-side from the vehicle but we only saw Southern Red Bishop and Yellow Bishop, which was disappointing, as I would love to see something with Zanzibar in the name.

Southern Red Bishop, On road between West and East Usambara, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

We were staying at the Amani Research Station at the top of the mountain road, in Amani Nature Reserve which was at about 1400 metres. As we reached the approach road at the bottom, we stopped to look for Kretchmer’s Longbill which is resident at about 1000 metres. After about 45 minutes of searching, we managed to find one and went to find out accommodation.  The research station was clean and comfortable, though apparently not luxurious enough for lots of birders who don’t stay here. I would say that it’s a site you cant afford to miss in Tanzania.

New sign at Armani Forest, East Usambara, Tanzania – notice what’s wrong with the birds??
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

 

Old sign at Armani Forest, East Usambara, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

 

Day 17 – 13 July 2018

On Friday 13th July we got up early bird the trails around the research station, before going back for a late breakfast. We then birded until lunchtime and in the afternoon again in the Amani area.

 

Sunrise, East Usambara, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Birds of the day were critically endangered Long-billed Forest Warbler (Tailorbird). There are only a few birds left in this location and so few that they don’t know how many. IUCN had paid for the research station, in an effort to find out more about this species and try and save it from extinction. It is therefore an extremely difficult bird to see and Anthony told us that he had not seen it for the last 4 visits here. We found one calling and managed to get some brilliant views, so were ecstatic. Other great birds were Montane Tiny Greenbul, Banded Green Sunbird and Amani Sunbird.

Lizard Buzzard, Amani Forest Reserve, East Usamabara, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
East Coast Boubou, Amani Forest Reserve, East Usamabara, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Fischer’s Turaco, Amani Forest Reserve, East Usamabara, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Chestnut-fronted Helmet-shrike, Amani Forest Reserve, East Usamabara, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Trumpeter Hornbill, Amani Forest Reserve, East Usamabara, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

During our trip so far, dad had decided to cross-reference my world list of 4725 against his world list of 6050, to see if there were missing birds on either of our lists. He researched the missing birds to see if they were birds I really didn’t see or ones that had been missed off my list. Tonight he finished his check, with a few more he still had to do when we were home. Add in my Tanzanian new birds so far, my world list total is 4,800!

Day 18 – 14 July 2018

On the morning of Saturday 14th July, we decided to have an early breakfast before birding the local trails, as there wasn’t much activity the previous morning until about 8 am. We birded a different trail and managed to see Usambara Hyliota and Banded Green Sunbird, which were both target birds here. We were starting to connect with all our targets, with just a couple left.

After lunch and a bit of downtime, we were out birding the trail above the research station. Anthony said that this was a good area for Sharp’s Akalat. Within about half an hour, we heard a Sharp’s Akalat and almost immediately it flew across the path, giving us all flight views. We tried there for a while and carried on to a viewpoint before turning back. On the way back, we found an Akalat calling and preening only a metre from the path. We were able to watch it for 5 minutes. Amazing!

As we walked back to the lodge, we discussed that the Usambara Eagle Owl did roost in the forests around the lodge but that they hadn’t been calling for a month. So that would have to wait on the wanted list for the next time we visited.

That night at the research station, there was a large group of people attended a conference from around Tanzania. They worked in tourism and were there to see what Tanzanian tourists can do at Amani. There was a BBQ and a group of local young men dancing for entertainment. I decided to get to bed early and had just drifted off when I could hear mum running and panting towards the building. She had told us this morning that the night before she was sitting outside in the one place the WIFI worked when she had heard an animal with a large bite chomping loudly on fruit, which had scared her. Was she being chased by a Monkey?? The next minute, she burst into my room, “Eagle Owl!”. I jumped out of bed, as mum grabbed my binoculars and handed them to me and the next minute we were running down the hill. Anthony and two of the rangers were watching a Usambara Eagle Owl perched above the road. As we watched it, Anthony told us that there were three owls calling, which was unbelievable after a month of silence and that he had never seen the owls from the road itself. Just at this moment, another owl flew in. That was the last of our target Usamabara birds. Every single one. Anthony told us that he had never seen all of them in one visit before. On that high note, I went to bed.

Usambara Eagle Owl, Amani Forest Reserve, East Usamabara, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

I couldn’t sleep but could hear the local guys singing and dancing for a few hours. At one point, dad came into my room. Mum had brought one of dad’s unworn Liverpool FC T-shirts with her and said she would give into the first person who said they supported Liverpool. So, for the whole trip waiters & rangers said they supported Man U, Man City, Arsenal but no Liverpool. When Dad came in to get the T-shirt from my room, he said that Anthony had asked the group if anyone supported Liverpool and the lad at the front (who couldn’t speak English) started jumping up and down, shouting “Mo Salah,  Mo Salah, Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, Sadio Mane”. Dad told me that when Anthony told him we had a  Liverpool FC T-Shirt and were giving it to him, he had been jumping up and down, shouting “Mo Salah”, giving Mum and him hugs and saying “I love you”. On that even happier note, I did manage to get to sleep, ready for our early start and long 10 hour journey tomorrow.

A local Liverpool FC fan who was really happy with the T-shirt Mum and dad gave him
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Day 19 – 15 July 2018

The morning of Sunday 15th July, we were up early after the excitement of the previous night. We had a 6.30 am breakfast so that we could get on the way as we had a 10 hour drive down to Mikumi National Park, where you get all the big game. We drove south down the main highway and then took the right fork where the left goes to Dar es Salaam (Dar) and we were using the highway to all the landlocked central African countries. The highway was full of lorries with supplies going from Dar bound inland and was jointly funded by the landlocked countries.

The highway that goes through adjoining countries actually goes through the National Park for 50 kilometres with lorries going far too fast for the wildlife. There was too much roadkill including a poor hyena. The Tanzanian Government want to divert the highway around the park border but have been blocked by the neighbouring countries who will not contribute to the building of a new road. Something has to be done though, as the situation is ridiculous.

We saw a Dickinson’s Kestrel before we entered Mikumi National Park and then within the park, we saw White-headed Vulture and Miombo Blue-eared Starling.

Number of new birds – 73
Trip list –  407

About The Author

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

Buy My Book