Top 5 birding hotspots for Wonderlust

Top 5 birding hotspots for Wonderlust

Being asked to write a piece for Wonderlist – The Original Travel Magazine – was really exciting!

My article was about my top 5 birding hotspots – the fantastic places where you can see lots of different bird species. It was hard to choose 5, but here it is:

https://bit.ly/2ZNdhPV

Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig, USA

Copyright Mya-Rose Craig

Work With Me

If you would like to know more about what I do or what services I offer, you can find out more below.

Find Out More

 

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

 

Work With Me

If you would like to know more about what I do or what services I offer, you can find out more below.

Find Out More

 

 

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.

Work With Me

If you would like to know more about what I do or what services I offer, you can find out more below.

Find Out More

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.

Work With Me

If you would like to know more about what I do or what services I offer, you can find out more below.

Find Out More

Birding in Tanzania Blog Post 3 – Days 8 -11

Birding in Tanzania Blog Post 3 – Days 8 -11

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 8 – 4 July 2018

On Wednesday 4th July, we left The Country Lodge after breakfast and birded in the Lake Manyara area trying to pick up a couple of birds we had still missed. We managed to catch up with Straw-tailed Whydah from a roadside stop.  At the Manyara Lake area itself, we saw Steel-blue Whydah, Abyssinian Wheatear, Rufous-tailed Weaver and looked again for Bare-eyed Thrush.

Straw-tailed Whydah, Manyara Lake area, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig & Chris Craig, Manyara Lake area, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

From the lake area, we travelled to Tarangire National Park, to the southeast, in time for a picnic lunch before birding the outer road from our vehicle.  We were specifically looking for Pangani Longclaw, which we didn’t see, but had to keep swatting the Tsu flies which have a nasty bite.

Buffalo, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Giraffe with baby, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

We arrived at Tarangire Lodge within the park when it was still light. The views from the verandah over the park and flood plains were stunning. We also managed to speak to my sister Ayesha on WhatsApp which was fantastic.

Our bungalow was a little walk from the main building and again we were told to be careful, as there was no fence, look for eye shine with our torches (flashlights). After dinner, I wanted to back to our room alone but was told by my Dad I had to wait for them. There were lots of sounds around but the loud roar of a Lion close by when I was in bed kept things real.

Day 9 – 5 July 2018

On Thursday 5th July, after an early breakfast, our guide, Anthony, asked us if we wanted to go back and look for Pangani Longclaw or go to look for more animals. We were unanimous; we wanted to go and look for a brown drab bird in a biting-fly infested area of the park. After about an hour, there they were, 4 Pangani Longclaw, a new bird for us.

Warthog, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Elephants with baby, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Pangani Longclaw, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Pygmy Falcon, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Love-collared Lovebird, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Next, we drove back to Arusha, where we were back staying at the Korona Villa. Arusha is Tanzania’s third city and it was where The Rwandan war trials were held.

Day 10 – 6 July 2018

Greater and Lesser Flamingo, Arusha National Park, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

On the morning of Friday 6th July, we drove to Arusha National Park. It has a large lake which we birded for ducks and other water birds. A large section of the park was flooded from recent heavy rains and so the roads couldn’t be passed and lots of habitats had been washed away. More signs of climate change being seen here.

Flooding, Arusha National Park, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Flooding, Arusha National Park, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Some of the birds we saw were Mountain Green-bull, Striped-faced Greenbull, Grey-olive Greenbull, Augur Falcon and another Pangani Longclaw.

Augar Buzzard, Arusha National Park, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Colobus Monkey, Arusha National Park, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Narina Trogon, Arusha National Park, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
White-fronted Bee-eater, Arusha National Park, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

 

Pagani Longclaw, Arusha National Park, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Day 11 – 7 July 2018

On Saturday 7th July, we drove east from Arusha to the Lark plains close to Mount Kilimanjaro and the border with Kenya. Tanzania Birding and Beyond had set up a bird tourism conservation project that provides income to the local Masai community. They have trained 2 young men to find the 3 rare Larks that occur here, Beesley’s, Athi Short-toed and Short-tailed Lark. The first of these is endemic to this tiny area with only about 200 birds left. If you go birding to Tanzania, please make sure you fit this site into your itinerary. The contact details are 076348921, 0758508163 or beesleyslarkengikarat@gmail.com .

The Masai men had found 3 Beesley’s Larks and waited for us to arrive, to show us. The other 2 larks were a bit easier to find, in these small plains in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig with Masai guides, Lark Plains, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig with guide Anthony, Lark Plains, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig, Lark Plains, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Lark Plains, Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig, Lark Plains, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Athi Short-toed Lark, Lark Plains, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Beesley’s Lark, Lark Plains, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Short-talled Lark, Lark Plains, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig and Chris Craig, Lark Plains, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig with Chris Craig, Lark Plains, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
 Lark Plains, Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig, Lark Plains, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig, Lark Plains, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Lark Plains, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

The afternoon was time off, so the vehicle could be checked over, which fitted in well, with the England V Sweden World Cup quarter-finals. So at 5 pm, we found a working TV to watch England win 2-0. A fantastic end to the day!

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig and Chris Craig watching football, Arusha, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Work With Me

If you would like to know more about what I do or what services I offer, you can find out more below.

Find Out More