Black Stork – Getting to 450 in UK!

Black Stork – Getting to 450 in UK!

On Saturday 5th September 2015, I gave a talk at the Oriental Bird Club AGM in Cambridge about my trip to Bangladesh earlier in the year, when I surveyed and highlighted the plight of the rare Spoon-billed Sandpiper which stays over winter there. It was mind-blowing to speak at the AGM of this high profile organisation, along with some of Britain’s most eminent conservationists.

Oriental Bird Club AGM, Cambridge

Afterwards, my mind quickly turned to another bird. There was a rare Black Stork in East Yorkshire which, if I saw it, would be the 450th species that I have seen in the UK.

After dinner with amongst others Dave Buckingham from The RSPB Headquarters, Dad drove us north. We stopped at lots of places, but everywhere was full. I thought we might end up sleeping in the car again, which is whole another story… Eventually, we drove out of our way and stayed in Derbyshire. We were up before dawn the next morning; Dad then drove us to Sunk Island, near Spurn, a thin piece of land jutting out east from the Hull coast. We were there for the first light, spending the day looking for the elusive Black Stork. I spent the day staring into the flat fields and channels with no sign. Eventually, after a day with no sightings, we had to accept that the bird was gone. So then we headed off to count waders at a nearby wetland at Spurn, for World Shorebird Day, for which I am Ambassador. It was a brilliant count, with 9 wader species including 890 Redshank, 200 Dunlin, Greenshank,
Green Sandpiper and Ruff.

Over the following week, there were irregular sightings of the Black Stork, tantalising me. However, it was going to be difficult to try to see it as we were due to be spending the weekend with my Gran in North Yorkshire. After a lovely weekend trying not to think about the Black Stork, we left early afternoon on Sunday to try to get to the Black Stork site before
dark. As we approached, news came over that it had just been seen but was now out of sight. These sightings were an emotional rollercoaster! It was after 4 pm on 13th September 2015 when we arrived at Sunk Island, I knew that there was virtually no chance of me still seeing the bird now before dark.

After a few minutes, a local birder arrived and, taking pity on me, said he would go and speak to the farmer whose land the Black Stork was on. He re-appeared to say that we had permission to walk into the field. Within a few minutes, we had seen the Black Stork standing in the field, only 20 metres away. It was huge, standing there majestically, absolutely still. I was ecstatic – it was a stunning bird standing tall with a massive great long big, but also my 450th British bird, making me the youngest person in the country to see that many birds in Britain (13 years and 4 months). It is always great to hit a milestone.

You can see my list on BUBO Listing http://www.bubo.org/Listing/view-all-lists.html?showlists=1,UK400,0,,0

Black Stork, Sunk Island, East Yorkshire at nearly dusk
Photograph taken by and copyright Young Birder Mya-Rose Craig

Black Stork, Sunk Island, East Yorkshire at dusk
Photograph taken by and copyright Young Birder 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.

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World Shorebirds Day – 4, 5, 6 Sept 2015 – How the day went

World Shorebirds Day – 4, 5, 6 Sept 2015 – How the day went

As well as being a young birder and conservationist, I am also Ambassador for World Shorebirds Day.

I have chosen to champion World Shorebirds Day because it is an organisation that each September celebrates waders (shorebirds) and those trying to conserve them. Waders often migrate long distances along nine flyways worldwide. They stop off to rest in different places along the flyways, making them vulnerable. World Shorebirds Day has been set up to show how important bird surveying is so that people who don’t normally count birds can improve and that the number involved worldwide increases.

Young Birder Mya-Rose on Sonadia Island, Bangladesh looking at waders
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

I have a real connection and love of waders. They are my dad’s favourite bird groups and through years of watching and studying them, he is amazing at identifying them. That love for waders has rubbed off on me.

On Sunday 6 September 2015, World Shorebirds Day, I woke up in a hotel in Derbyshire. We had been in Cambridge the day before, for the Oriental Bird Club AGM. After dinner with a few other people, we set off driving north. We had trouble finding anywhere to stay and I thought we might end up sleeping in the car again (that’s a whole other story!).

In the morning, Dad drove us to Spurn, where we looked for a Black Stork that had been there a few weeks. As we had been away in East Africa, this was my first chance to try and see it. That would be a new British bird for me and if I saw it, would be my 450th. However, it was not to be and by 1 pm we arrived at the Spurn Migfest. I didn’t bump into any Next Generation Birders (NGB) there, who had been around, but did get brilliant views of a Barred Warbler and more importantly, we saw it within 2 minutes of coming out of the barn.

Then it was time for me to do my wader count for World Shorebird Day. I checked out a couple of pools and my wader count was the following, of which the Ruff was my favourite:

  • 1 Greenshank
  • 890 Redshank
  • 1 Green Sandpiper
  • 200 Dunlin
  • 2 Black-tailed Godwit
  • 16 Lapwing
  • 1 Turnstone
  • 2 Ringed Plover
  • 1 Ruff

It would be really great if we can increase the numbers taking part and make it the first huge global birding event.

World Shorebird Day Project, South Korea
Photograph taken by and copyright Eugene Cheah

World Shorebird Day Project, South Korea
Photograph taken by and copyright Eugene Cheah

In Bangladesh they made it into a huge events, involving lots of school children and t-shirts for everyone. In a poor country like Bangladesh, new t-shirts are sought after and I’m sure they will be worn a lot, reminding the children of the day and the importance of looking after waders.

World Shorebird Day Project, Bangladesh
Photograph taken by and copyright Mohsin Kabir Miron

The events in Bangladesh were inspiring and it would be great if they could be replicated next year across the globe. First, we need to raise money for t-shirts and people to get enthused about the project, maybe through the Neotropic, African and Oriental Bird Clubs.

World Shorebird Day Project, Bangladesh
Photograph taken by and copyright Mohsin Kabir Miron

This is another report from the USA

World Shorebirds Day Field Trip Results


Read my first blog on the World Shorebirds Day website, http://bit.ly/18UVWu4 and register to take part, where ever you live in the world.

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