Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Laughing Gull Twitch - 9th Feb 2015



There had been a Laughing Gull around on The Wirral for a few days, but Sunday was the first day we could try and see it, as I had school all week and then had a paintballing party on the Saturday with friends.  We also had a 40th party to go to in the nearby village of Chew Magna, which I went to as well as quite a few people from school were going to.  In we end, Mum and I got to bed at 10.30 pm, which is late when you have an early start the next morning.  Dad stayed in to watch the football and get a really early night, ready to drive us to Merseyside the next morning.

The next morning, Dad had us up at 5.30 am.  I definitely found it hard to get up because I was tired and by the time we are sorted and in the car it was 6.30 am, a late start by twitching standards. By this point we were running at least 30 minutes late.  Mum and I slept all the way and only woke, when we arrived in New Brighton at 10 am.  Dad said that it had been foggy all the way, which is why the journey had taken so long.  The Laughing Gull had not been seen yet, so we were worried about whether it was still there and I could not help but feel a little pessimistic.

I had not really woken up and was still fuzzy headed sitting in the car.  I had not even put my boots on, or my fleece or a cap to cover my bad hair day.   We decided to have our breakfast in the car but I had not even poured out the milk when a man ran past the car shouting that the Laughing Gull had been on the pontoon and he was running back to get his camera.  The pontoon was not far from us, just outside some cafes and fancy restaurants.  This must have been Wirral’s version of the Watershed.



Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

When we jumped out of the warm car, it was really cold.  I was tired, stiff and bruised from the paintballing.   I still had my trainers on, but without my feet inside.  Hopefully no one would notice.  We ran towards the pontoon without spending much time getting wrapped up for the weather.  When we reached the pontoon, the gull had already flown off over a wall towards the sea.  One of the people who had seen it said that they had been sitting in a café, when they saw the Laughing Gull land on the pontoon and they had immediately ran outside.  I don’t know if they had left their food and drink behind them in the café.




Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig



Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig


So we walked across the sea wall to where we could see the sea when someone shouted that they had the bird.  It was really misty and foggy and we could not see very far at all.  Then another man ran past and shouted that he had seen the gull by the lighthouse but it was too misty to see the lighthouse but we quickly headed for that direction.  So we then ran down to the lighthouse and I immediately saw the Laughing Gull flying around.  That was such a relief…and I did a little dance whilst no one was looking.  Now I just had to get better views, which did not take long.  This was a new bird for me in Britain but I had seen lots abroad, especially in South America where they are common.



Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig


We then took our time watching the Gull running around, but too distantly to get a decent digiscoped photo with my I-Phone, as I had forgotten my camera.  At this point, it was hopping in and out of the groins.

After a while, after watching, we walked back towards the car but heard news that the gull was back at the Pontoon.  We quickly walked to the Pontoon, where we got much closer views of the gull and where I was able to take some digiscoped photos.


Laughing Gull, New Brighton, The Wirral
Photograph taken by and copyright young birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig


After those closer views, I was much happier and ecstatic with the day.  We then heard that there were couple of wintering Snow Bunting at the end of the beach.  So we drove that way and when we got onto the beach, the directions were to walk quite a long way along the beach.  But luck was with us, as just then someone called the Buntings right next to us.  So we managed to see them really well and get back to the car before we got hypothermia.



Snow Bunting on The Wirral
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig


We have some friends who live only a couple of miles away, but Mum and Dad left it until then to call them.  Not surprisingly, they did not answer their phone which was a shame as their daughter Ruby is the same age as me and it would have been good to see her.

It was still foggy going back south, so the journey took a little longer than usual.  Mum was straight off to sleep but I read all the way back, as I have given myself a reading of 42 books in 4 weeks.

A Young Birder's visit to WWT Slimbridge


It was 4 pm when we arrived at WWT Slimbridge, to have another go at seeing the Ferruginous Duck that we missed last weekend.  The weather was beautiful and sunny but cold as well.  This time we did see the duck, which was a great year tick.  



WWT Slimbridge
Photograph taken by and copyright young birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig


Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at WWT Slimbridge
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig



Ferruginous Duck at WWT Slimbridge
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig


It is always lovely to visit Slimbridge, even though we had only been here last week.  We popped into the shop and found the books had been re-stocked and so bought a copy of the “Birds of East Africa” which has going to be handy for our summer trip to Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya.



WWT Slimbridge
Photograph taken by and copyright young birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig


By the time we got home, it had been a 12 hour trip, with time left in the day for me to do a bit of homework, read and write my blog.


About the writer



Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig


Mya-Rose Craig is a 12 year old young birder, conservationist, writer and speaker.    She is based near Bristol and writes the successful Birdgirl Blog, with posts about birding and conservation from around the world.  She has recently 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













4 comments:

  1. Replies
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