American Birding Association – My Guest Blog

American Birding Association – My Guest Blog

On 10 November 2015, The American Birding Association published a guest blog by me about my summer trip to Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya

Open Mic: On Being the Youngest to 4000 Species

I wrote about seeing Shoebill, Green-breasted Pitta and Red-throated Tit, my 4000th bird in the world.

Shoebill, Mabamba Wetland, Uganda
Photograph taken by and copyright Young Birder Mya-Rose Craig

Green-breasted Pitta, Uganda
Photograph taken by and copyright Young Birder Mya-Rose Craig

Zebra, Nairobi NP, Kenya
Photograph taken by and copyright Young Birder Mya-Rose Craig

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig taking a photo of a Red-throated Tit, Kenya
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Red-throated Tit, Swaro Plains, Kenya
Photograph taken by and copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Black Rhino, Kenya
Photograph taken by and copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

As well as this, I wrote about seeing Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, the highlight of my trip.

Mountain Gorilla, Uganda
Photograph taken by and copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Mountain Gorilla and Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig, Uganda
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

A few days later, American birding legend, Debi Love Shearwater, got in contact with me and invited me to join her Facebook page, World Girl Birders, after someone had put a link to my blog post on the page. I couldn’t join as I don’t have my own Facebook account, but it was fantastic to hear from her.

Also on the Audubon Magazine website, there is an article about me, which I am very proud of:

https://www.audubon.org/news/the-little-twitcher-who-could

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

November Media Interest

November Media Interest

November was an exciting month for me.
First, it started with this photo of me in Birdwatching Magazine. They had bought the photo of a child and nest box from an agency and I was really pleased that the magazine had chosen one of me…an amusing start.

Birdwatching Magazine – November Edition Page 79
Then a local online newspaper, The Western Daily Press, picked up on my Chew Valley Gazette article about seeing my 4000th bird and being the youngest person to see this many. They interviewed me and published a piece online on 1st November 2015 https://t.co/o0MWldq6VS

Then, another local online paper, The Western Morning News, published an article online on 2nd November 2015 about my birding and seeing my 4000th bird

http://www.westernmorningnews.co.uk/Somerset-girl-13-youngest-bird-spotter-record-4/story-28098718-detail/story.html?00

This was followed by a later online article about me in the ITV West Country News also on 2nd November 2015
https://t.co/uR3MFomHR6

https://t.co/XwG5uR80FF

This is the article published in the Metro Nationwide about me on 4th November 2015. It was really exciting as lots of people I know had read the article, not knowing that I was going to be in it (The Metro is a free newspaper distributed in cities including London and Bristol, particularly on public transport).

The Metro

So this is another article in the popular National newspaper, The Daily Express, also published on 4th November 2015.

The Daily Express

So this is another article about my birding, published in the weekly Somerset Guardian, on 5th November 2015 thankfully with more recent photos!

The Somerset Guardian

Finally, this is the article about me in the weekly Midsomer Norton & Radstock Journal on 5th November 2015.

The Midsomer Norton & Radstock Journal
This blog post is about the huge amount of media attention that I had in November, about my seeing my 4000th world bird in the summer. It was a beautiful Red-throated Tit which I saw in Swaro Plains on my first day in Kenya. For me, it’s all about the birding and not about the number, but it was still nice to have lots of articles about me. Even if it catches the interest of a few people and they start birding, then it will have been worth it.

It was really exciting to find these articles and not know that they were being published. Thank you to everyone who sent their congratulations and let me know if you see anything else. Roll on 5000!

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

East Africa – Day 43

East Africa – Day 43

Kenya 30 August 2015

I have not been able to upload photographs to my blog because there has not been any wifi or decent band width but will add my photographs to my blog post as soon as I can.

Today is the thirteenth day of our birding trip to Kenya which we have organised through a local ground agent and bird guide Moses Kandie of Birdwatching Express Tours. He provided lots of references, who all said that Moses was a brilliant guide and well organised. Having now birded with him, I can honestly say that he is a great birder, very focused on what we want, which I seeing our target birds, and a great guy. He knows the calls and can whistle most things in and has recordings for the most birds.

Today was our last day in Kenya, with a night flight home tonight. It seemed apt that our Kenya section started and ended in the same Nairobi hotel.

This morning we were up at 4.30 am, for a 5.00 am breakfast and then a long drive south to Magadi. Here it was arid and barren and we were in Southern Kenya, only 30 km from the Tanzania border, or twenty minutes drive. Moses said the habitat was pretty similar to the Masai Mara except there are a lot more water pools there.

There were also traditionally dressed men herding their cows, especially ones in a pool drinking. One got stuck in the mud and had to be rescued by a herder. Moses said that the border was porous here, as the tribes have relatives on both sides.

Our reason for driving two hours was our main target, Chestnut-banded Plover, which we saw pretty quickly at the edge of the water. Its range is really restricted to an area crossing the border with Tanzania. Soon afterwards, we saw some Sandgrouse in flight, at first thinking they were the same as the ones we have seen. Then Moses said that they were Chestnut-breasted Sandgrouse which was new for us. We walked to a pool, to get good views and then birded in the heat along the roadside. From here we carried on back towards Nairobi, stopping for roadside birding all the way. It was really hot by now, especially in the midday heat.

Once in Nairobi, we visited the new Galleria shopping centre on the Southern side of the city. It was in an upmarket part of the city with lots of ex-pats. We went into KFC for chips, ice cream and fast wifi. It was a Sunday and the last day of the school holidays and so lots of families out enjoying the last gasp of summer. It felt really good to mingle with normal people in Nairobi, as staying in lodges doesn’t give you a feel for life here.

We then needed to go inside the centre to use the bathroom. We had some backpacks with us, as Max had told us to take anything valuable with us as they weren’t safe left in the vehicle, as because of the huge length of the vehicle, he thought he might have to park outside the centre. I’m the end, he stayed with the vehicle to keep everything safe. To go into the shopping centre we were scanned and our bags opened, checked and scanned. It seemed pretty high security, even compared to two armed Rangers in Uganda. Then I remembered about the Westgate Shopping Centre killing in the centre of Nairobi two years ago. Moses said that the shopping centre had only just reopened in July 2015 because of the damage. I’m sure people here prefer to live with high security then be at risk to terrorists.

We then went the short distance to Nairobi National Park, which is probably the only game reserve in a city anywhere in the world. It’s about 300 square kilometres and is the smallest of Kenya’s reserves. There were lots of people just out for a drive and a few with loud music playing. There are three big cats here, which we didn’t see one of but we did see Giraffe, Zebra, Buffalo, Wildebeest, antelope, Jackal with a baby sitting in its hole and a snake on the road.

We saw a few new bird species here, which was great to sneak it.

Moses and Max dropped us at the airport, which was really close to one of the park gates. We said our goodbyes and were sent to the airport at 6.30 pm, with plenty of time for checking in, having dinner and catching our night flight.

At the gate, Mum and I noticed 2 Kenyan women with four young girls about 10 years old. There were no husbands or other children and we speculated whether the girls had been brought here over the summer for FGM. If we’d seen them on the way out, Mum might have reported them, just to be on the safe side but there was nothing we could do now.

We have had really great trips with some brilliant birds and animals. There are so many questions that I have about conservation projects out there. Poaching and big game hunting are obvious issues but the positive is that there are still huge areas of National Park here.

List – 585 birds for Uganda, 183 birds for Rwanda, a total trip list of 612 for Uganda and Rwanda, 753 total trip list and 399 lifers for me.

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

East Africa – Week 6

East Africa – Week 6

Uganda 23 August 2015 to 29 August 2015

I have not been able to upload photographs to my blog without wifi or decent band width but will add my photographs to my blog post as soon as I can.

Today is the eleventh day of our birding trip to Kenya which we have organised through a local ground agent and bird guide Moses Kandie of Birdwatching Express Tours. He provided lots of references, who all said that Moses was a brilliant guide and well organised. Having now birded with him, he is a great birder, very focused on what we want, which is seeing our target birds, and a great guy too.

The highlight of our sixth week, which was in Kenya was visiting Samburu National Park and getting close up views of all the animals, including unbeatable views of Leopard, Lion, Elephant and different species of Giraffe and Zebra. It was also fantastic to see some Somali specialist birds like Somali Bunting, Bee-eater, Ostrich and Crombec.

Day 36 – Lake Baringo, Lake Bogoria and Thomsons Falls

Day 37 – Nyahururu Lake and Mukuruweini

Day 38 – Aberdares National Park

Day 39 – Castle Forest and Mwea irrigation Scheme

Day 40 – Samburu National Park

Day 41 – Samburu National Park

Day 42 – Samburu National Park

Trip List – 585 birds for Uganda, 183 birds for Rwanda, total trip list of 612 for Uganda and Rwanda, 391 trips for Kenya, 753 total trip list and 399 lifers for me, taking me over 4,100.

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

East Africa – Day 42

East Africa – Day 42

Kenya 29 August 2015

I have not been able to upload photographs to my blog because there has not been any wifi or decent band width but will add my photographs to my blog post as soon as I can.

Today is the eleventh day of our birding trip to Kenya which we have organised through a local ground agent and bird guide Moses Kandie of Birdwatching Express Tours. He provided lots of references, who all said that Moses was a brilliant guide and well organised. Having now birded with him, he is a great birder, very focused on what we want, which is seeing our target birds, and a great guy too. I would highly recommend him. Our driver Max was also great and we had loads of space in our extended Toyota Land Cruiser. He drove quite fast, but that speeded up our journey time and I didn’t mind the ‘African massage’ as it didn’t stop me from sleeping or reading, though blogging was challenging!

The story of everyone we met in East Africa was the same. Tourism had been devastated everywhere for the last eightieth months, with almost no one coming. This was since the Nairobi Westgate shopping centre massacre at the beginning of last year and Ebola, even though this was 1000 miles away. When I told people at school that I was coming to East Africa, virtually everyone said ‘don’t get ebola’. I couldn’t be bothered to give them a geography lesson. When you are sitting at home, it’s easy to not appreciate your decision not to travel with people abroad. East Africa is safe to travel to, so long as you avoid the border with Somalia. I hope some people reading my blog decide to go there for birding or wildlife.

This morning we were up at 5.30 am, for a 6.00 am breakfast and then out into Samburu National Park birding on our way out of the park. Here we are in North Central Kenya, but also getting a little close to the border with Somalia than is comfortable. Certainly, we wouldn’t want to get any closer.

There were a couple of Genet cats that came in close to the dining area, which came in for food. They were like a long-necked Civet and were stunning. It must have been up all night and was still there at our early breakfast time.
We were north of Mount Kenya, where you get specialist birds, many with Somali in the name.

In terms of a game reserve, although Samburu NP is relatively small, it was fantastic for animals and to see them close up. I would highly recommend it. Also, I liked the lodge, especially as our room was next door to the dining room and reception, so easy to get in and out. With the river being bone dry, there was a high risk that animals such as Elephants and Lions would try and cross the river bed during the night and maybe get into the compound. It definitely felt safer to not have to walk far.

We saw lots of elephants right next to the track, including quite a few cute babies with the herd. We also saw some Mongoose, antelope and Monkeys.

We didn’t see any new birds during the morning but got some good views of Somali Bee-eater, White-headed Mousebird, Red-neck Falcon, Taita Fiscal and Black-faced Sandgrouse. Samburu was an excellent birding destination and one of my favourite places for birding in Kenya. We also got much closer to the animals than anywhere else we’d been.

We then drove the long journey to Nairobi, where we were staying the night. We didn’t stop en route because the journey was so long and Nairobi traffic can be really heavy.

It can be frustrating having pretty much a whole travel day, but there’s no point in having that kind of attitude. You have to take the travel time into account when going somewhere as good for birds as Samburu. It was about 6 pm by the time we got to our hotel, so time so Mum and Dad could re-arrange stuff in the bags before we had dinner in the hotel.

It’s strange when you get to the end of a long trip. I always want the trip to carry on but at the same time I look forward to getting home, to my room and my own bed even if it’s just for a couple of weeks like in 2012, when we went to South America,

Trip List – 585 birds for Uganda, 183 birds for Rwanda, total trip list of 612 for Uganda and Rwanda, 391 trips for Kenya, 753 total trip list and 399 lifers for me.

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

East Africa – Day 41

East Africa – Day 41

Kenya 28 August 2015

I have not been able to upload photographs to my blog because there has not been any wifi or decent band width but will add my photographs to my blog post as soon as I can.

Today is the tenth day of our birding trip to Kenya which we have organised through a local ground agent and bird guide Moses Kandie of Birdwatching Express Tours. He provided lots of references, who all said that Moses was a brilliant guide and well organised. Having now birded with him, he is a great birder, very focused on what we want, which is seeing our target birds, and a great guy too. I would highly recommend him. Our driver Max was also great and we had loads of space in our extended Toyota Land Cruiser. He drove quite fast, but that speeded up our journey time and I didn’t mind the ‘African massage’ as it didn’t stop me from sleeping or reading, though blogging was challenging!

This morning we were up at 5.30 am this morning, for breakfast at 6.00 am and then out into Samburu National Park.

We were on the north of Mount Kenya, where you get specialist birds many with Somali in the name.

As soon as we came out of Samburu Game Lodge, there was a large Bull Elephant by the road and I was able to get some photos. During our morning safari drive, we had stunning views of a young leopard, close up views of an adult male lion, a lioness and three young males and quite a few elephants. There were animals everywhere here. We also saw more water, so felt better for the animals that have to survive here.

We had some brilliant and special birds during the morning game drive the best of which were Vulturine Guinea-fowl (we saw loads but this was the only time were saw them), Golden-breasted Starling, Somali Bunting, Yellow-vented Eremomola, Blue-naped Cordon-bleu, African Silverbill, Black-bellied Sunbird, White-headed Mousebird, Donaldson’s Bulbul and Fischer’s Starling.

We came back to the lodge for lunch followed by a 3.30 pm safari drive going until 6.30 pm when we had to be back for the curfew. We saw Red and Yellow Barbet, Ashy Cisticola, Somali Long-billed Crombec, Mouse-coloured Penduline-tit and Taita Fiscal. We also saw the same lions walking in the dry riverbed, which was brilliant as all the lions we had seen so far were lying down.

It was an amazing day’s birding with lots of animals thrown in.

Trip List – 585 birds for Uganda, 183 birds for Rwanda, total trip list of 612 for Uganda and Rwanda, 391 trips for Kenya, 753 total trip list and 399 lifers for me, taking me over 4,100.

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

East Africa – Day 40

East Africa – Day 40

Kenya 27 August 2015

I have not been able to upload photographs to my blog because there has not been any wifi or decent band width but will add my photographs to my blog post as soon as I can.

Today is the ninth day of our birding trip to Kenya which we have organised through a local ground agent and bird guide Moses Kandie of Birdwatching Express Tours. He provided lots of references, who all said that Moses was a brilliant guide and well organized having now birded with him, he is a great birder, very focussed on what we want, which is seeing our target birds, and a great guy too.

Today was our ninth birding day in Kenya.

Last night we stayed at Castle Forest Lodge, which is a forest raised at 2,300 metres. It is on the south side of Mount Kenya.

We were up at 6.00 am this morning, a late start for us. We had a brief look in the forest for Green Ibis again with no luck before breakfast.

After another quick look for green Ibis, we headed out of the forest, having to wait for the Forest Guard to get up and dressed before coming and opening the gate to let us out.

We were on our way to the northern side of Mount Kenya, to Samburu National Park, where you get specialist birds many with Somali in the name.

On the way, we stopped at a desert location which was quite high up and very windy. We saw a swirling dust whirlwind here. We were searching for Jackson’s Widowbird which we didn’t see but we did see a Black-winged Plover.

We crossed the Equator today for about the 5th time on this Kenya trip, but this time stopped for photos. I also got to have a scientific fact that I knew in theory, demonstrated to me in practice. Water, when north of the equator, spins clockwise and when south of the equator spins anti-clockwise. On the equator itself, water doesn’t spin at all. This is because of the earth’s magnetic forces and was amazing to see.

We arrived at Samburu Lodge in time for a late lunch, first seeing different species of Giraffe and Zebra, antelope including Giraffe Gazelle and lots of Elephants. We also saw a Somali Ostrich (which was flapping its wings to cool down) and Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill. There was a large river running through the park which had dried up. Moses said that he hadn’t known it to dry up before but this was the second time it had happened this year. As we drove in, there were lots of Elephants, antelope and other animals in the dried up river bed trying to get some moisture out of it. The elephants are able to dig down to get to the water.

I felt really guilty when we arrived at the lodge, firstly there was a large water feature by the entrance. There were no water saving rules in place, eg restricted length showers, no towel changes, and no swimming pool. Apparently, they had their own borehole for water.

After lunch, we went into an open seating area for hot drinks. Dad went off and when I looked up, there was a Vervet Monkey with its nose in someone’s tea dregs. I felt a bit sorry for it, so left it to its drink.

We met up to go birding around the Park and were pleased to see the fountain off. Talking to Moses, he said the Elephants were able to go as far as Mount Kenya for water.

Moses showed us a photograph of 3 Cheetah together on his last visit only two weeks ago, but there was still a little water in the river then, so it might be more difficult now.

We had the pop up top open in the Landcruiser, but because I was in my Tevas (outdoor activity sandals) on for once, I was a bit short to look out. I wasn’t holding on tight enough, so when we went over rocks at speed, my mouth smashed onto the metal side of the vehicle. I thought I’d knocked my front teeth out, but luckily they were fine. I came away with a big cut on my lip, which wasn’t too bad.

We also crossed a small river, so I felt better for the animals and less guilty about their water usage.

We then found a lioness under a tree in the shade, with the carcass of a zebra, with about ten vultures sitting in surrounding trees. Then close by there were three of the cutest cubs. One was tiny and could only be a few months old and the other two may be from last year’s brood. We couldn’t stay long though as we were rushing to get to the site for Somali Courser and back into the lodge by the park enforced curfew of 6.30 pm. That was a bit disappointing as I didn’t get a chance to get a decent photo of the cubs.

As we returned to the lodge, we crossed a bridge over the river bed. In it were three crazy and stupid white girls running along in it. This is where we saw about thirty elephants earlier, as well as lots of animals and not far from the lions. The sun was setting and it would be pitch black in about 15 minutes, as we were so close to the equator. Moses was extremely concerned for their safety and said that he was even more worried that they might be attacked. We almost immediately passed the forest guard’s house, but he had gone leaving the barrier up, even though it was only 6.20 pm and he was meant to be there to check everyone was back before 6.30 pm. We left Moses discussing things with the guards from the lodge. We didn’t hear anything more about them except they were probably from an overland truck. So hopefully they were OK and they were told why they shouldn’t do it again.

The best birds of the afternoon were Donaldson-Smith Sparrow-weaver, Black-capped Social-weaver, Somali Bee-eater, Banded Parasomer, Buff-crested Bustard, Pink-breasted and Foxy Lark, Litchensutein’s and Black-faced Sandgrouse, Rosy-patch Bush-shrike, Orange-bellied Parrot, Somali Courser and Mottled Swift,

Trip List – 585 birds for Uganda, 183 birds for Rwanda, total trip list of 612 for Uganda and Rwanda, 371 trips for Kenya, 733 total trip list and 381 lifers for me.

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

East Africa – Day 39

East Africa – Day 39

Kenya 26 August 2015

I have not been able to upload photographs to my blog because there has not been any wifi or decent band width but will add my photographs to my blog post as soon as I can.

Today is the eighth day of our birding trip to Kenya which we have organised through a local ground agent and bird guide Moses Kandie of Birdwatching Express Tours. He provided lots of references, who all said that Moses was a brilliant guide and well organised having now birded with him, he is a great birder, very focussed on what we want, which is seeing our target birds, and a great guy too. Our driver Max was also very knowledgeable and had good fun.

Last night we stayed at Castle Forest Lodge, which is a forest raised at 2,300 metres. It is on the south side of Mount Kenya. We were staying there again tonight, which was a change from moving on daily.

This was our eighth day of birding in Kenya.

We were up at 6.00 am this morning, a late start for us. We spent the first part of the morning looking in the forest around the compound for Green Ibis. We heard two in flight but despite running through the forest, we had no luck seeing them. We walked down some steep steps to a waterfall but didn’t see them here. Green Ibis are forest birds and are localised to here, which was why we were targeting them. The lodge had quite a few dogs, presumably to warn them about animals or attackers. They were very friendly, following us around all morning, particularly following Moses, which somehow amused me.

We then headed out in the Toyota Land Cruiser, birding along the forest edge from the track, for the morning. We went back to the lodge for lunch and then afterwards, we went back down to the paddy field site, Mwea Irrigation Scheme where we had stopped yesterday to look for African Painted Snipe, a family I had looked for in four continents but never seen before. We drove around looking in the paddy fields, whilst Moses checked out another area. After about 45 minutes, Dad spotted two African Painted in a muddy field. There was no way they were visible when they flew into a paddy field with tall rice or even just into the grass at the edge. Max radioed Moses, who turned up on the back of a motorbike / minutes later. We got amazing views but whilst Dad and I were trying to get closer photographs, Mum suddenly had a massive nose bleed, maybe from the scorching sun.

We could see Max and Moses were helping her and so knew it was fine to carry on birding. When we came back, her nose was still bleeding heavily, but eventually, she was fine and we could get back to the lodge, to look for Green Ibis though without any luck.

Back at the lodge, it was lovely to have fires in the dining room and our room. After dinner, we had to be escorted by a guard to our rooms, as they regularly get elephants into the compound at night and spooked can attack. Moses said that he once had clients who walked to their room alone but halfway across found themselves surrounded by elephants. They had to go back and get the guard to chase the elephants away.

We also talked about how dangerous these places can be and he told us about a guard who after a few drinks had left to walk home in a local village one evening but never reached there. They looked everywhere for him but never had a trace. There was a photograph of him in the bar area.

Trip List – We also had an amazing Trip list – 585 birds for Uganda, 183 birds for Rwanda, a total trip list of 612 for Uganda and Rwanda, 345 trip list for Kenya, 716 total trip list and 365 lifers for me.

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

East Africa – Day 38

East Africa – Day 38

Kenya 25 August 2015

I have not been able to upload photographs to my blog because there has not been any wifi or decent band width but will add my photographs to my blog post as soon as I can.

Today is the seventh day of our birding trip to Kenya which we have organised through a local ground agent and bird guide Moses Kandie of Birdwatching Express Tours. He provided lots of references, who all said that Moses was a brilliant guide and well organised. Having now birded with him, he is a great birder, very focused on what we want, which is seeing our target birds, and a great guy too.

Today was our eighth birding day in Kenya.

We stayed the night in a city type hotel in Nyeri, which was pretty cool temperature wise.

From here we drove the short distance to Aberdares National Park, which was high up in the mountains on the side of Mount Kenya. One of our targets was Jackson’s Franklin, which we saw well a few times.

We stopped at Mwea Irrigation Scheme in the afternoon, looking for Africa Painted Snipe. It was really hot and hard to bird in the bright light, but we couldn’t find one, which was disappointing.

From Nyeri, we had the long drive to Castle Forest Lodge, where we were staying the night. We birded along the track and did some quick birding around the compound for Green Ibis before it got dark.

The lodge was basically in a clearing in the forest. Our rooms were in a basic but lovely building with a fire in the living room. Elephants and other animals come into the compound at night, which made it bizarre that the bathroom was outside and not ensuite.

The best birds of the day were
Trip List – We also had an amazing trip list – 585 birds for Uganda, 183 birds for Rwanda, total trip list of 612 for Uganda and Rwanda.

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

East Africa – Day 37

East Africa – Day 37

Kenya 24 August 2015

I have not been able to upload photographs to my blog as we haven’t had any wifi or decent band width but will add my photographs to my blog post as soon as I can.

Today is the sixth day of our birding trip to Kenya which we have organised through a local ground agent and bird guide Moses Kandie of Birdwatching Express Tours. He provided lots of references, who all said that Moses was a brilliant guide and well organised. Having now birded with him, he is a great birder, very focused on what we want, which is seeing our target birds, and a great guy too.

Our driver was Maxwell, who drove a 7 seater Toyota Landcruiser with a pop-up roof. We chatted to him about Rwanda and he explained that the national language was now English and then Swahili. He said that there was a lot of bad feeling toward the French after the genocide, because of the way French peacekeeping troops had pulled out. We had wondered why no one seemed to speak French and “bonjour” got no response but “hello” did.

Maxwell also told us that once a month in Rwanda everything shut down for half a day, and everyone (including the president) went out and picked up rubbish for the morning and they weren’t allowed to re-open until the road by them was clean. It seems like a good idea to me, as you are less likely to litter yourself or let someone else do it if you have to then pick it up.

We stayed at the Thompsons Falls Lodge and went for a quick bird around the falls area after a 6.30 am breakfast, which was actually 6.45 am before it was ready. It was really cold, even in my fleece. The falls were named in 1883 by a Scottish explorer named Joseph Thompsons.

We then drove to meet Paul Muaihu Ibuthu, so that he could take us to see Mckinnleys Eagle Owl. Paul has been studying and conserving these owls for years. He works with the local subsidence farmers to make them appreciate how useful the owls are to them, for keeping rodent levels down. He then encourages them to keep the shrubs close to the cliffs that give them coverage. Last week the Birdquest tour group had seen one in a quarry next to the road, where the farmer had burnt everything on the ground with a pair of eagle owls sitting above it, the female sitting on the nest, which has now been abandoned. Paul said that the tenant farmer had left and a new one had come in, who didn’t know about the owls. He said that he had to work closely with all the farmers. The issue that makes conservation difficult is that the local people think that owls bring bad luck and so they kill them and the young. Paul explained that he submitted his statistics to Nature Kenya, which recorded the figures but did nothing else. They are affiliated with Birdlife International but don’t seem to get involved. He said there had been DNA work, but needed to see what the outcome was in terms of a split from Cape Eagle-owl.

We then went to Bogoria Nature Reserve where we were looking for Longclaw, without luck. We looked into a private reserve and saw 18 white Rhino. Apparently, they are breeding well there.

From here we went to Nyeri to check into our hotel and had lunch. It was pretty cool in the shade here again.

Straight afterwards, we drove the thirty minutes to meet Lazarus at the Hinde’s Babbler sight at Mukuruweini. Normally they are quite showy, but today they were really hard to pin down. Eventually, after a bit of running around, we got some decent views of them. Lazarus told us his that he had met Noah Stryker here, who was doing the Big World Year, but he had missed it which was a shame.

From here, we returned to the hotel, going straight to dinner followed by a bit of inefficient Internet surfing by me and bed.

Trip List – We also had an amazing Trip list – 585 birds for Uganda, 183 birds for Rwanda, a total trip list of 612 for Uganda and Rwanda, 297 trips for Kenya, 701 total trip lists and 355 lifers for me.

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

East Africa – Day 36

East Africa – Day 36

Kenya 23 August 2015

I have not been able to upload photographs to my blog because we didn’t have any wifi or decent band width but will add my photographs to my blog post as soon as I can.

Today is the fifth day of our birding trip to Kenya which we have organised through a local ground agent and bird guide Moses Kandie of Birdwatching Express Tours. He provided lots of references, who all said that Moses was a brilliant guide and well organised. Having now birded with him, he is a great birder, very focused on what we want, which is seeing our target birds, and a great guy too.

We stayed at Soi Safari Lodge at Baringo Lake. This morning Dad grabbed a coffee before we headed off at 6.15 am. We saw Nik Borrows and the Birdquest tour group for a quick chat and to say goodbye.

We then went out to a local cliff, where Hornbill roost and then fly out to feed first thing in the morning. We were here to look for Hemprich’s Hornbill, which we saw two of as well as Jackson’s Hornbill. We carried on birding in the area for another couple of hours seeing Abyssinian Scimitarbill and another lovely Beautiful Sunbird before going back to the lodge for breakfast.

We then went to Bogoria Nature Reserve where we saw thousands of Lesser and some Greater Flamingos. We came here to try for African Skimmer, but couldn’t find any. The new bird for the afternoon was Steel-blue Whydah.

We then travelled some hours on dirt road and pothole tarmac road to Thomsons Falls. 5the falls themselves were quite lovely. He was an explorer and ‘discovered’ the falls as presumably it was considered not to have been discovered before the British! We were staying at an amazing old hotel, built by the British for the settlers in the region. It was built in 1931 and was built in that style, identical to much of Frasers Hill in Malaysia. The hotel has been kept as it was and was lovely. We made a quick visit to the falls before the evening and a quick bird around the gardens.

Thomsons Falls is at 2,370 metres on the slopes of the Aberdares range with the highest point being at Satima which is 3,900 metres. It was much colder here, but there were lots of fires including one in Mum and Dad’s room. I had an adjoining room but was tempted momentarily to have the extra bed in their room. In the end, having my own space won.

Trip List – We also had an amazing Trip list – 585 birds for Uganda, 183 birds for Rwanda, total trip list of 612 for Uganda and Rwanda.

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.