Arctic Warbler twitch – Kilnsea 14 October 2017

Arctic Warbler twitch – Kilnsea 14 October 2017

Having got back from an after school twitch to see a Rock Thrush the day before at 9 pm, I was straight to bed.  The next day was a Saturday and I had another bird to see!

Arctic Warbler is a non-rarity in the UK but is one of only 3 non-rarity birds that I have not seen. They all tend to occur on the east coast of England, which is across the country to where I live, as we are based on the South West coast.
We were up very early (meaning the middle of the night!) again on Saturday 14th October 2017, the first day of my half-term holiday.    There was an Artic Warbler at Kilnsea in East Yorkshire which is next to Spurn a huge birding hotspot.  I slept whilst Dad drove us to the bird and we arrived at about 8.30am. The Artic Warbler was being seen in the pub car park and so we joined about another 30 birders to look for it. 

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Arctic Warbler twitch, Kilnsea, East Yorkshire 14 October 2017
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

It wasn’t long before we saw the Arctic Warbler, showing high in the trees about the car park, getting really great views. We watched it off for another couple of hours before we headed off. It was really flighty so, despite my best efforts, I didn’t get a photograph of it. It was really amazing to see this bird. It wasn’t the rarest but it was special. Now only two non-rarities to see in the UK, Little Auk and Icterine Warbler which are both also east coast birds. It was also a new world for me, number 4725, not that I’m counting.

We then drove down the road to Easington, to see a Rose-coloured Starling which was in someone’s front garden and actually managed to get some photographs of it.

Rose-coloured Starling, Easington, East Yorkshire 14 October 2017
Photograph taken by and copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Rose-coloured Starling, Easington, East Yorkshire 14 October 2017
Photograph taken by and copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

I had revision to do on the way home and Dad drove me home as quick as he could, as I had a party and sleepover with friends at 3 pm. As usual, I didn’t mention what I had been doing…all my friends had been sleeping in all morning in preparation for the party.

It was my 3rd new bird of the season and I was hopeful that there would be more to come.

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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Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush twitch 13 October 2017

Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush twitch 13 October 2017

Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush 30 October 2017
Photograph taken by and copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

There are some days that stand out in terms of how lucky I am to have the parents I do – obsessed with birds as much as me but still prepared to put their passion alongside rather than ahead of mine.

There had been news of a Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush found in the Brecon Beacons on a Thursday, whilst I was at school. I headed to school the next day which was Friday 13th October 2017 with no sitting of the bird before I left home, so I assumed that like many others, it was a one day bird. It was my last day of term before the autumn half term holiday, so I was hoping that the holidays was going to be good for birds. This year I am in Year 11 and taking my GCSE exams in June. I have my mock exams in November so really need to do lots of revision during the holiday too.

Mum was in London and expected back that evening so that Friday was just an average day for me. We are not allowed to look at our phones at school and so I didn’t pick up the texts from my dad.

I boarded my school bus home at 3.25 pm as usual, when I saw my dad making his way from one bus to another. He knocked on our bus window and asked if I was on board? I knew I had to get off the bus, so told my mates that I probably had a dentist appointment. As I got off the bus, he whispered (so as not to embarrass me) that the Rock Thrush was still there and that we had just about enough time to get there.  What a legend my dad is. He had already seen a Rock Thrush before and all this effort was just so that Mum and I could see it.

We drove straight towards Bristol and met up in a car park with Mum and her friend Lorna, who was staying with us. It was to be Lorna’s first twitch! They had been in London for a couple of nights and Mum had rushed back early to meet us.

Dad drove pretty fast to get to the beautiful Brecon Beacons in Mid Wales, getting us there at 5.30pm.  As we rushed along the path to where the bird was being seen, we bumped into our long time birding friend and big British twitcher Julian Thomas. He told us that the Rock Thrush was still there but was being seen a little way away from the path. It had been raining and was very cloudy, so the light was fading fast.

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig digiscoping Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Brecon Beacons 13 October 2017
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig digiscoping Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Brecon Beacons 13 October 2017
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig  at Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush twitch, Brecon Beacons 13 October 2017
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig  at Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush twitch, Brecon Beacons 13 October 2017
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

When we got to the bird, it was perched in view, but some way away.  Once we had seen it, although not fantastically, it was a big relief.  We then watched and waited and eventually were rewarded with slightly better views just as it started to rain. It was my second new bird of the autumn and great to see this European Rock Thrush.

Record shot of Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Brecon Beacons 13 October 2017
Photograph taken by and copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Record shot of Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Brecon Beacons 13 October 2017
Photograph taken by and copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Needless to say, Lorna was not overly impressed with her first (and probably last) twitch!
After some chips in Abergavenny, we made it home by 9 pm. On the way home, I posted my very terrible “record shots” on twitter, much to the hilarity of my birding followers. The Rock Thrush was also a new bird in the world for me (4724), which was fantastic.

Postscript

The Rock Thrush stayed around for a while, which was lucky, as we were able to return on Monday 30th October 2017, which was an inset day before I went back the next day.

Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush 23 October 2017
Photograph taken by and copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush 23 October 2017
Photograph taken by and copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush 23 October 2017
Photograph taken by and copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

This time the weather was clear and sunny and the bird really confiding. We got some brilliant views and had another lovely birding day out with my parents.

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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Ringing a Tawny Owl Pulli (Chick) on 11 May 2017

Ringing a Tawny Owl Pulli (Chick) on 11 May 2017

I know that I am really lucky to live in a beautiful place near Chew Valley Lake, South of Bristol, surrounded by nature and wildlife and having parents that are so interested in birds and who have so much to teach me.

My Mum has a lot of passion but my Dad has trained himself in birds to a really high level. He has had a lot of commitment and patience to do that. He has also been putting a lot of time into his bird ringing skills. That means that even though I am a teenager and think I know best about most things when it comes to birds, I listen when my Dad speaks (or almost always).

A few days ago Dad and I went to check out an owl nest box and found some pull (chicks) inside, which we took photos of. At first, it was hard to make out what was inside, but then we realised it was a Tawny Owl pulli.

Last Thursday evening after school, we went back and I got to ring the pulley, my first owl ringed.
I was a little anxious about holding it because of its sharp talons, but it was quite sleepy and so not a problem to hold or ring. OMG, what an amazing experience! How lucky am I? I feel really blessed.

Young Birder Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig ringing a Tawny Owl Pulli
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig

 

Young Birder Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig ringing a Tawny Owl Pulli
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris 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

BTO Nest Recording Scheme (NRS) – surveying nests for research

BTO Nest Recording Scheme (NRS) – surveying nests for research

This is the second year I have been taking part in the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) Nest Recording Scheme (NRS), surveying the 35 nest boxes that I am responsible for checking on the shores of Chew Valley Lake. You have to survey and record what you find in terms of whether the nest boxes are empty, partially lined, fully lined, eggs warm, eggs cold, adult on nest, chicks etc.

As I am also a trainee ringer, I also ring the pulli (the scientific work for chick) but it has to be when they are old enough but not old enough to try and fly out. So long as you follow all the regulations and have someone experienced with you, and are careful, there is virtually no chance of injuring the chicks.
Training to get your full “C” Licence for ringing is pretty tough as you have to know a lot about bird ID before you can even start and then have to learn a lot about bird ringing safety and the technical aspect of extracting birds, ringing them and how to assess details such as age and sex of birds that look the same. If you have a couple of years to give to it, then it is very worthwhile. I do think that the BTO need to do work to make ringing more inclusive.

These photos are from last night, before going out to see a band in Bristol for my 15th birthday (which was yesterday). The first two photos are a Great Tit pulli (chick) which were pretty early for Great Tit and the last two are of a Dunnock pulli. It’s quite delicate work ringing pulli, but great for me with my smaller hands.

This is an early Dunnock Pulli I ringed on 27 April 2017 from one of my nest boxes.

Young Birder Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig ringing a Dunnock Pulli at Chew Valley Lake
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig
Young Birder Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig ringing a Great Tit Pulli at Chew Valley Lake
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig
Young Birder Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig ringing a Dunnock Pulli at Chew Valley Lake
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig
Young Birder Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig ringing a Dunnock Pulli at Chew Valley Lake
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris 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

Ringing another Marsh Tit in my Garden on 30 March 2017

Ringing another Marsh Tit in my Garden on 30 March 2017

On Thursday evening, I did some ringing in the garden. My Dad, Chris Craig, and I had seen a Marsh Tit flying in and out of the garden, coming to our feeders and hoped that we might be able to have a look at it. I really love ringing in my garden as I feel quite possessive over “my” birds. I enjoy ringing with my Dad on a one-to-one basis away from the noise of the ringing station and he is a really good teacher. My trainer is Mike Bailey, who has been involved with the Chew Valley Ringing Station for years and is really patient, knowledgeable and a brilliant trainer. Although I always feel more confident at home, which I hate to admit is a bit of a teenage girl thing.

Ringing a Marsh Tit in my Garden was amazing, as it is a really scarce bird. It was also fantastic to ring a Willow Warbler at Chew Valley Ringing Station this morning which is the first one ringed there this spring.

Marsh Tit ringed by Young Birder Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig
Marsh Tit ringed by Young Birder Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig
Willow Warbler ringed by Young Birder Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig
Willow Warbler ringed by Young Birder Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris 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

Blue Rock Thrush

Blue Rock Thrush

Yesterday, as we were visiting a relative, news came over of a Blue Rock Thrush which is widespread in Europe and Asia. As soon as we were in the car, I got as much information as possible. As sometimes can happen, twitchers can turn against a bird. First, it had a droopy wing, then the wing was OK but a foot was deformed.

My parents and older sister Ayesha had seen the one on the Isles of Scilly in 1999, a twitch which I had heard about many times! The last twitchable bird was in 2000, which was before I was born.

Looking at the images en-route, the bird looked fine and so we decided to twitch it the next day. We arrived home at 1 am and so were not up at dawn. It was in Stow-on-the-Wold in Gloucestershire, which was only 1 1/2 hours from home. A very short journey compared to some others we’d made in the past.

Blue Rock Thrush Stow-in-the-Wold
Taken by young birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

It was a cold but sunny morning and we watched the first-year male Blue Rock Thrush for a couple of hours and it was a lovely bird and looked in good condition. There was nothing at all wrong with the wing and certainly, I couldn’t see anything wrong with the foot. They occur in Asia and as it had arrived with other Asian birds and was fly-catching both added to its credentials.

It was really nice to see another new bird in Britain and my British list is now at 466.

Blue Rock Thrush Stow-in-the-Wold
Taken by young birder 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

Interview on BBC Points West News

Interview on BBC Points West News

On Thursday 1st December 2016 I did a live interview on BBC Radio Bristol breakfast show about Black2Nature, my Race Equality in Nature Conference and getting ethnic Minority people out into nature.

That morning and evening, BBC1 Points West News also showed an interview with me about Black2Nature, Camp Avalon and why getting Minority ethnic people outside into nature was important.

This is my interview on BBC West Local News, Points West https://youtu.be/9kR_BCEMU5c with Hamza Khandker who attended both Camps Avalon for young people and Dr Richard Benwell from WWT who spoke at my Race Equality in Nature Conference in June about the citizen’s right to access Nature.

Lots of people at school saw my interview, even though I didn’t tell anyone about it, which made me realise that the piece reached out to a large audience on this topic, which is great news.

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig and Mike Bailey in filming
Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig on BBC1 Points West News

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

Siberian Accentor Influx

Siberian Accentor Influx

Siberian Accentor Easington
Copyright Young Birder Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig

Sometimes strange things happen with birds.

On Sunday 9 October 2016 a Siberian Accentor turned up in a quarry on Shetland, a “First” for Britain. They are extremely rare in Western Europe and had come all the way from Northern Siberia and the Urals or its wintering grounds in South East Asia.

Every single twitcher around the country was in what was practically physical pain. This was as a result of a combination of it being a “First” for Britain, hard to see even in its native habitat and they were not able to get to Shetland to see it. I was included in they. I had various commitments; such as school that I wasn’t able to miss and it was a long way from Somerset to Shetland. In the end, we braced ourselves for the situation and decided we’d just have to learn to live with it. However, it stayed for only two days and was gone before many twitchers could get up there.

However, there was a tiny bit of hope, a mini influx of Siberian Accentor had turned into a mass influx with around 80 arriving into Western Europe during the next few days.

Then as we had been praying for, another one turned up on Thursday 13th October 2016 in Easington near Spurn, East Yorkshire. A Second for Britain.

People couldn’t believe their ears, but the disbelief didn’t last long and almost everyone made their way as soon as they could. Unfortunately for me, I still had the pesky obligation of school. I was sitting at home that evening seeing everyone’s photos on social media. Eventually, it got too much for dad, and mum and I sent him up on Friday before he actually imploded. One parent had to stay home with me, though, as they couldn’t just leave me for a cross country road trip (as much as they probably wanted to), and so Mum decided to be the bigger person and stayed behind. Dad came home that evening on cloud nine but wisely didn’t gloat.

The next day, Saturday, I had AONB Mendip Hills Young Rangers, which I can’t miss. I get a John Muir Gold Conservation Award at the end, but only if I don’t miss sessions. Dad didn’t mind too much, but mum certainly wasn’t happy. I had a great time finding out about ancient lead mines but I had an underlying sense of stress. Was the bird going to stay for just one more day?

Then came news of another Siberian Accentor near Teeside, a third for Britain. This one was being hard to see and not our first choice to try for.

Finally, Sunday morning, we left the house at 5.30 am. The entire drive up, the stress was almost palpable. During a trip to the Amazon in Peru, one evening Mum missed a bird that was new for us that Dad and I saw. She was not happy and it was somehow Dad’s fault (for not giving better directions). The next day, we went back to the same spot and Mum this time managed to see the bird well. Our bird guide, Gunnar Engblom exclaimed with relief that the “Craig Family Harmony Index” had been restored! So the phrase was coined. Right now, there was a high risk of the Craig Family Harmony Index remaining fairly un-harmonious. Dad wasn’t stupid and so wanted us to see the bird just as much as Mum and I. Otherwise a few years down the line Mum would have no recollection of agreeing to him going without her.

When I woke up a few hours later we had arrived, and it was raining. It was fine until we were out of the car and it was like a switch had been flicked and suddenly it went from drizzle to torrential rain. That would have been fine as well, except when we got to where the bird had been seen that morning and discovered that we had missed the Siberian Accentor by 5 minutes. For over an hour we waited in this pouring rain when finally someone started yelling for their mate to come over. There was a lot of confusion; did he just want to have a chat with his friend, or had he seen the bird and forgotten to tell everyone else? Everyone started frantically looking around and then we saw it!

It was a terrible view, my bins were foggy from the rain, the rain was making everything harder and there was a large fence in my way. Besides all this, I was ecstatic. But, 10 minutes later, I managed to see it again! This time it was a bit better. Siberian Accentor basically looks like a Dunnock with a stripey head and is not hard to identify.

After twenty minutes the bird disappeared again and so after a while, we decided we should probably get back in the car before the rain completely soaked through our coats.

Shorelark, Spurn
Copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

We then went to Spurn to see a Shorelark and bumped into our good friend Ruth Peacey. She had been thinking of going to Cornwall for a Red-eyed Vireo but my message last night telling her she was insane had swayed her to make the sensible decision. There is only one rule of twitching, always go to see the rarest bird that is least likely to turn up again, asap! We then all got soaked looking for the Shorelark on the beach. At this point, we had enough and we retreated to the car. Eventually, the rain stopped and we jumped out of the car to join people watching the Shorelark just a few metres away. I took loads of photos of it and enjoyed the close views.

Shorelark, Spurn
Copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Shorelark, Spurn
Copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Young Birder Mya-Rose Craig  – birding with my Mum and Dad
Photograph taken by Heather Wilde

We birded around in that area for a while but then decided to try our luck with the Accentor again to see if we could get better views.

When we got back to the site, it was sunny. The bird, again, had been seen just a few minutes before we arrived. But after a few more minutes of patient waiting, it flew out into the open a couple of metres away. We got amazing views in brilliant weather conditions and we all took lots and lots of photos.

Siberian Accentor Easington
Copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

So far, in the last few weeks just under 150 Siberian Accentors have turned up in Western Europe including a total of eight in Britain, 53 in Sweden, 44 in Finland and 9 in Denmark but nobody knows what has caused the influx. In the space of a week, they had gone from “OMG, a First for Britain” to “Just another” Siberian Accentor.  Some really good friends Rob Lambert and Lucy McRoberts were on the Isles of Scilly and so missed the birds. Just hoping for another one for them!

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

California, USA – Week 2 (1 August – 8 August 2016)

California, USA – Week 2 (1 August – 8 August 2016)

Before we arrived in California, I wasn’t sure what to expect. After spending two weeks here, so far, it had been amazing for birds though a little bit tough to find them in this quiet period after breeding when many birds stop singing and disburse from their breeding sites. The views have also been really amazing especially in Yosemite NP.

On Tuesday 2 August 2016 we spent our second day at the stunning Yosemite NP. The park was the first one set up in the USA 150 years ago. This time we took the higher road stopping at Tenaya Lake and Tuolumne Meadows, which were stunning. We had the added bonus that there were a lot fewer people in this area and loads more birds. The best bird of the day was Mountain Bluebird, which was scarce after they had finished breeding and feeding young.


Chris Craig at Yosemite NP, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig


Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Yosemite NP, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Yosemite NP, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig


Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Yosemite NP, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig


Young Mountain Bluebird at Yosemite NP, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig


Mountain Bluebird at Yosemite NP, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig

Although there were very few African American people at this park (maybe because it was midweek and it has a relatively high entrance fee of $30) we met a lovely young African American Ranger, who was really inspiring.

That day, in the late afternoon, we left Yosemite NP on the northeastern road and dropped into Lee Vining in the Eastern Sierra Nevada, with its surrounding canyons and the huge Lake Mono. We had very little knowledge about the birds in this area but went into a tourist information shop where we met staff who were very knowledgeable on local birds and so left with a plan for the following day.

On Wednesday 3 August 2016 we set out early. Our first stop was Bodie, now a ghost town, but in the time of the gold rush a huge town. On the way, we saw a stunning Pinyon Jay.  We saw our target birds, 5 Sage Grouse which were hiding under a building, as well as having a look around this interesting place.


Greater Sage Grouse at Bodie, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig


Pinyon Jay on dirt road to Bodie, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig


Bodie, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig


Chris Craig at Bodie, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig


Bodie, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig


Clark’s Nutcracker at Bodie, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig


Sage Thrasher at  Bodie, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig

Next was Mono Lake where we finally caught up with American Avocet but several hundred of them. It was another hot day but we still spent the afternoons at some small pools, which were like a little oasis with lots of fabulous birds including Yellow-headed Blackbird and Virginia Rail.


Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Mono Lake, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig


Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Mono Lake, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig


American Avocet at Mono Lake, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig


Bewick’s Wren at Mono Lake, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig


Northern ‘Red-shafted’ Flicker at Mono Lake, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig

Thursday 4 August 2016 in the morning we visited Lundy Lake and Canyon which were stunning. We were still in the eastern Sierra Nevada and it was great to see the Beaver dams along the river. There was still no sign of American Dipper but we saw lots of fantastic birds including Townsend’s Solitare.


Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Lundy Canyon, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig


Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Lundy Canyon, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Lundy Canyon, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig

Then in the afternoon, we birded at Lee Vining Canyon where we did see a gorgeous Red-breasted Sapsucker.


Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Lee Vining Canyon, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig


Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Lee Vining Canyon, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig

Red-breasted sapsucker at Lee Vining Canyon, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig


Red-breasted sapsucker at Lee Vining Canyon, California
Photography copyright Mya-Rose Craig

From here we drove south to stay the night in Lone Vining, famous for the concentration camp that Japanese Americans were kept during WW2 and for Hollywood westerns being filmed nearby.

On Friday 5 August 2016 in the morning, we woke up in the little town of Lone Pine in the Southern Sierra Nevada. We visited a local overgrown field as we had heard of a couple of birds seen from there. There, we bumped into a local birder, Russell Kokx, who was a biologist. He was really kind and friendly, showing us the birds on his local patch, around town and two new hummingbirds for us on his feeders at home. It was an amazing morning to have seen these birds and met Russell and so a big thank you.


Russell Kokx, Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig and Chris Craig at Lone Vining, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig


Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig and Helena Craig at Lone Vining, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig


Anna’s Hummingbird  at Lone Vining, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig


Anna’s Hummingbird at Lone Vining, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig


Black-chinned Hummingbird at Lone Vining, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig

From Lone Pine, you could see the view to Mount Whitney, which is around 4,300 meters and is the highest peak in the lower 48 (states).


Mount Whitney from Lone Vining, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig


Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Lone Vining, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig

We then spent the afternoon birding en-route south, in the heat. One stop was at Cactus Flats with lots of Joshua Trees, where we saw Cactus Wren

We also stopped at Diaz Lake and then Isabella Lake where we saw Tri-coloured Blackbird.


Black-necked Stilt and American Avocet at Diaz Lake, California
Photography copyright Mya-Rose Craig

The last stop was Sequoia National Forest South of Lone Pine, which was absolutely beautiful and this was where we finally saw an American Dipper. It was another hot day and so it was great to celebrate our newest bird by hanging our legs in the cool water.


Sequoia National Forest , California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig


Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Sequoia National Forest, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig


Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Sequoia National Forest, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig

Friday night we stayed in the town of Bakersville. After 10 days in California, we had seen 178 birds and 103 of them have been new for me, taking my world list to 4,342.

On Saturday 6 August 2016 in the morning, we left Bakersville and stopped west of Mount Piños. Here we saw a Horned Lark as well as lots of oil derricks. It was really hot, so there was virtually no bird activity.


Derricks. West of Mount Pinos, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig


Derricks. West of Mount Pinos, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig


Horned Lark West of Mount Pinos, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig

We then headed up to the top of Mount Piños, seeing 7 Californian Condor on the way. The best bird of the day was definitely White-headed Woodpecker.

On Sunday 7 August 2016, we spend our second day at Mount Piños, which was an excellent day of birding. The best bird of the day was Mountain Quail.


Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Mount Pinos, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig

Next, we drove to Ventura on the coast, West of LA, where we stayed the night. We were in planning to get a boat the next morning from Ventura to the tiny island of Santa Cruz for a very special bird.

We started the day on Monday 8 August 2016 by birding on the beach at Ventura before visiting the Settling Pools. These were great and we saw birds like Wood Duck there.


Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Ventura Saline Pools, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig


Wood Duck at Ventura Saline Pools, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig


Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Ventura Saline Pools, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig

We then got a boat to Santa Cruz Island where we saw the best bird of the day, the endemic Island Scrub-jay.


Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Santa Cruz Island, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig


Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Santa Cruz Island, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig


Island Scrub-jay at Santa Cruz Island, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig

That evening we walked along the beach at Ventura and caught this stunning sunset. We also saw and photographed Snowy Plover, Marbled Godwit, Willet, Lesser Yellowlegs and Elegant Tern. It would be amazing if one of these turned up on my local patch at home.


Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Ventura Beach, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig


Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Ventura Beach, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig


Snowy Plover at Ventura Beach, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig


Willet and Marbled Godwit at Ventura Beach, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig


Lesser Yellowlegs at Ventura Beach, California
Photograph copyright Mya-Rose Craig


Elegant Tern at Ventura Beach, California
Photograph copyright 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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California, USA – Week 1 (26 Jul-1 Aug 2016)

California, USA – Week 1 (26 Jul-1 Aug 2016)

Before our trip, I was really looking forward to birding in the USA over summer, across California, Arizona and New York City.

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig on flight to San Francisco

At age 14, my world list is 4232 and I was hoping to see at least a couple of hundred new bird species in our month away. It would be fantastic to see a few new hummingbirds as well, as I am trying to see all the hummingbirds of the bird. I am also hoping to add a load more flags for the USA onto my wall world map.

We flew from London Heathrow direct to San Francisco with United Airlines on Tuesday 26 July 2016 on a day flight. Usually, we tend to fly on night flights and so it was was great to watch 6 films without hassle from my parents.

We arrived in San Francisco the same day on Tuesday 26 July 2016 and travelled across to stay with our friends in Oakland, California. Our friends, Dave and Daphne and their lovely girls were great hosts. On Wednesday 27 July 2016, we collected our hire care and then had our first full day birding around Oakland which is across the Bay from San Francisco. First, we birded along The Bay and then into the mountains behind Oakland. We saw lots of new birds including Wilson’s Warbler one of the birds I really wanted to see.  What more can you ask than a bird with Wilson in the name?

 

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig, San Leandro Bay Regional Shoreline, California

 

Jack-tailed Jackrabbit, Hayward, California

The next day, Thursday 28 July 2016, we birded back up in the hills above Oakland before having a fantastic day visiting the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco with lots more birding in that area. The best bird of the day was Hammond’s Flycatcher. From here, we travelled to Monterey Bay, where we were doing a boat trip the next day.

Alcatraz Prison, San Francisco Bay, California

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

 

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

 

Red-tailed Hawk, Lands End, San Francisco

American Coot, Lands End, San Francisco

 

American Coot, Lands End, San Francisco

Hermann’s Gull, Lands End, San Francisco

 

Lighthouse, Pigeon Point, California

 

Seal, Pigeon Point

 

Brandt’s Cormorant, Pigeon Point

 

Friday 29 July 2016 was an unforgettable day on one of the famous Debi Shearwater’s Californian Pelagics out of Monterey Bay. It was interesting to meet Debi, who was Annie Auklet in my favourite film, They Big Year with Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson. Debi has been running pelagics (boat trips to open seas looking for birds) from the coast of California for over 40 years (http://shearwaterjourneys.com/). The best birds from the trip were Scripp’s Murrelet and Black-footed Albatross with my first two huge Blue Whales and also Fin and Humpback Whales.

 

Male and Female Sea Otter,  Monterey Bay, California

 

Male and Female Sea Otter mating, Monterey Bay, California

 

Pigeon Guillemot, Monterey Bay

 

Californian Sealion, Monterey Bay, California

 

Black Oystercatcher, Monterey Bay, California

 

Sun Fish, Monterey Bay, California

 

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig with Debi Shearwater on Pelagic
from Monterey Bay, California

 

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig on Pelagic
from Monterey Bay, California

 

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig on Pelagic
from Monterey Bay, California

 

Blue Whale on Pelagic from Monterey Bay, California

 

Blue Whale, apparently it is rare to see them fluke with their tale
on Pelagic from Monterey Bay, California

 

Black-footed Albatross on Californian Pelagic
from Monterey Bay, California

 

Black-footed Albatross on Pelagic
from Monterey Bay, California

 

Pink-footed Shearwater on Pelagic
from Monterey Bay, California

 

Pink-footed Shearwater on Pelagic
from Monterey Bay, California

 

Rhinoceros Auklet on Pelagic
from Monterey Bay, California

 

We were planning to travel south from Monterey Bay to The Big Sur, for Californian Condor but there was a huge forest fire out of control and blocking the road and reserves. Debi suggested that we go to The Pinnacles National Monument instead, but warned us it would be hot into the day.

Saturday 30 July 2016 we were up early and birded at The Pinnacles National Monument in California. The highlight was 3+ Californian Condor. It was fantastic to see these birds after recovery from extinction in the wild. Today was my Dad, Chris Craig’s birthday and so the Condor’s were a great birthday present. In the evening it was 90 degrees at 7.30 pm, so it was a balmy night for us.

 

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at The Pinnacles National Monument

 

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig watching 3 Californian Condor
at The Pinnacles National Monument

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at The Pinnacles National Monument

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig with Chris Craig at The Pinnacles National Monument

 

The Pinnacles National Monument, California

 

First of many Stellar’s Jay during the trip, Pinnacles National Monument

 

Temperature at The Pinnacles National Monument

 

The morning of Sunday 31 July 2016, we started our day birding at Lake Luis, Basalt Camp. The campsite had sections of trees, amongst the desert about it.  Here we found our target, a Californian endemic, Yellow-billed Magpie.

It was interesting for birds here as we flushed birds from the small woods, which held over twenty Barn Owl as well as other birds of prey.  We searched for other owls in the heat of the day with no luck.

It was also really uplifting to bird in a campsite where virtually all the families were African Americans. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to see this in the UK one day?

We then spent the rest of the day birding in this central Californian area seeing some specialised birds.

 

Yellow-billed Magpie at Lake Luis, Basalt Campsite, California

 

Yellow-billed Magpie at Lake Luis, Basalt Campsite, California

 

Barn Owl at Lake Luis, Basalt Campsite, California

 

Swainson’s Hawk at Lake Luis, Basalt Campsite, California

 

Red-tailed Hawk at Lake Luis, Basalt Campsite, California

 

Western Yellow-bellied Racer snake at Lake Luis, Basalt Campsite, California

 

Western Yellow-bellied Racer snake at Lake Luis, Basalt Campsite, California

 

Osprey, Lake Luis, California

 

Great Blue Heron, Los Banos Wildlife Centre, California

 

On Monday 1 August 2016, we spent the day birding on the southern end of Yosemite (pronounced U-cem-eti) NP, which is east of San Francisco. It was difficult birding as the park had lots of people in it and birds seemed quiet post-breeding. We birded up the road to Glacier Point, seeing a handful of new species by the end of the day. A common but great looking bird for the day was Audubon’s Warbler.

Then something amazing happened; as we were waiting in the shop, my old teacher from primary school (with only 70 pupils) Mrs Jo Brady came up to us with her children. A fantastic coincidence!

After catching up, we went for a walk on the highest path. We were pishing as we birded (though mainly Dad). That’s when you make a p’shing noise that birds hopefully come out to investigate. However, here Dad got more than he bargained for when a ground squirrel came close to him, sat on a rock and started shouting at him. Not a good plan with some carrying fleas infected with the plague.

 

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Yosemite NP, California

 

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Yosemite NP, California

 

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Yosemite NP, California

 

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Yosemite NP, California

 

Yosemite NP, California

 

Yosemite NP, California

 

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig and Chris Craig at Yosemite NP, California

 

Chris Craig at Yosemite NP, California

 

Chris Craig at Yosemite NP, California

 

Audubon Warbler, Yosemite NP, California

 

Ground Squirrel at Yosemite NP, California

 

Ground Squirrel at Yosemite NP, California

 

It was a really wonderful first week of our trip. I had only spent a day birding in Atlanta, Georgia in 2012 on our way from South America when I saw 64 bird species and 60 new birds. The trip has started well with 136 birds seen and I’m really hoping to see 200 new species on this trip.

 

A great road trip, California

 

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.