The 4000th bird of Birdgirl Mya-Rose
Mya-Rose the Birdgirl is a 13 year old birder, blogger and passionate conservationist. She travels the world for birding and conservation. This summer she travelled through Africa for finding her 4000th bird and Mountain Gorillas:
“It was August and even at 9 am, I was feeling the heat. We had just arrived into Nairobi and after 31 days of birding, I was enthralled. We were at Swara Plains watching new birds but it was the beautiful Red-Throated Tit that felt special. Incredibly, it was my 4000th bird and watching it through my CL Companion 10 x 30 was perfect. Having birded Uganda and Rwanda and seeing a huge 612 birds, I enjoyed watching Tanzanian birds at their northern most range.
Back on our first day in Kampala, we visited Mabamba Wetlands, the home of the strange and rare Shoebill. It is like an enormous pelican with a massive bill the shape of a clog and is in a monotypic family. It evaded us until we tried a different area of the wetlands where we immediately found one. The Shoebill was huge and when it looked our way, it looked positively evil! As we watched, suddenly it reached down and gobbled something up. A few minutes later, it opened its winged and took off, soaring away. I couldn't have wished for a better start to our trip.
Soon after, we arrived in Kibale Forest with a target of Green-breasted Pitta, the only place in the world that this bird is seen. We had to be in the forest pre-dawn and ready to move quickly: The Pitta only calls once and then you have to quickly find it hidden on the forest floor. Our ranger was late and we thought we had missed our chance. Our guide and ranger searched widely but didn't hear one. Mid morning, another ranger telephoned to say that they had seen a Pitta 6 km away. We drove and then ran to the right area. Soon afterwards, our ranger ran towards us whispering "Pitta!". We rushed to the patch of forest from where he had heard the call, to find one 20 feet up in a tree which we watched for 15 minutes. Every few minutes, the Pitta jumped up, flapped its wings and made a 'brmp' call, a fantastic breeding display which was hilarious to watch. A fantastic experience I'm not going to forget.
The highlight of my summer was indisputably travelling deep into Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, trekking for Mountain Gorillas. We had climbed a steep ridge to get to a Mountain Gorilla group of 15, when the Silverback appeared and greeted us at the top of the ridge. We watched as he beat his chest and called out to the rest of the group who were high in the trees, 80 feet above us. Over the hour that we were with them, all of the gorillas in the group came down from the trees. A male Blackback and female almost touched me as they brushed past and I saw a mother holding her 5 day old baby protectively. I feel privileged to have been amongst these majestic creatures, so closely related to us but so gentle. It was especially moving knowing that there are only 880 left in the world and only in two forests.”
About the author
Mya-Rose Craig is a 13 year old young birder, writer, speaker, conservationist and environmentalist. She is based near Bristol, UK and writes the successful Birdgirl Blog, with posts about birding and conservation from around the world. She is looking forward to watching penguins in Antarctica in December, which will be her 7th continent. She has been listed with the singer songwriter George Ezra and actress Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones as one of Bristol's most influential young people. Please like her Birdgirl Facebook Page and follow her on Birdgirl Twitter
Text and photos © Mya-Rose Craig
Read here Mya-Rose’s first blog entry about her 3000th bird.