This year has been a fantastic year for me. It started with a new UK bird on the 1st January, Little Bustard. Then a February trip to survey Spoon-billed Sandpiper in Bangladesh, 6 weeks over the summer in Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya ending the year in Chile and Antarctica.
I saw my 4000th bird in the world, my 450th bird species in Britain and visited my 7th continent.
My best birds of 2015
Seeing Emperor Penguin away from their breeding site is a once in a lifetime event even for those who travel there through lots of times each season. To jam in on that in my first Antarctica trip is beyond unbelievable. As well as that they are 130 cm tall, stunning and iconic. We saw it twice.
|Emperor Penguin, Antarctica|
These Penguins are 90 cm tall and are beautiful with their colourful orange patches. We visited a colony of 130 birds and I loved the spectacle of seeing so many well.
|King Penguin, Chile|
Lots of reasons for being number 3; a wader, cute, extremely rare, my connection to Bangladesh where they winter, my connection to WWT Slimbridge near my home, recording 19 birds almost 10% of the remaining population and the connection to my role as World Shorebird Day Ambassador. Gave a talk about them in Dhaka and at the OBC AGM in September.
|Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Bangladesh|
Photograph copyright Bangladesh Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation Project
A crazy looking bird with an amazing and evil clog shaped bill and in its own family.
Always great to see a Pitta but especially watching it do its mating dance.
|Green-breasted Pitta, Uganda|
This was one of my most common birds that I hadn't seen in the UK. It had turned up whilst I was away over the summer and dipped it the first weekend we were home. The following weekend, despite the odds, I managed to see this bird just before dusk. It was especially important, as it was my 450th bird I've seen in the UK.
|Black Stork, UK|
A new bird for me but very special as it was on the Somerset Levels, my local patch. I missed it the first weekend but then caught up with it after school midweek after it was re-found.
|Hudsonian Godwit, UK|
Before I left for Antarctica, this was top of my list of birds I wanted to see. Normally you would expect to see them close to the boat. Dad saw one early one day before I was up for breakfast, but I had to wait 4 more days before I got really close views of two above our Zodiac, in a stunning ice covered location.
|Snow Petrel, Antarctica|
I really thought that this bird would have gone and so a fantastic start to 2015.
My Best Animals of 2015:
4. Elephant – Uganda & Kenya
7. Chimpanzees - Uganda
|Chimpanzee, Kibale, UgandaCopyright notes from Camelidcoutry.net|
8. Big Hairy Armadillo - Chile
|Big Hairy Armadillo|
10. Tarantula - Chile
About the Writer
Mya-Rose Craig is a 13 year old young birder, naturalist, conservationist, environmentalist, 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 loved seeing Mountain Gorillas in East Africa and Penguins in Antarctica over Christmas 2015, her 7th continent.
Mya-Rose is a Bristol European Green Capital 2015 Ambassador along with Kevin McCloud, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Tony Juniper, Simon King, Miranda Krestovnikoff and Shaun the Sheep! See the full list of Bristol 2015 Ambassadors. She has also 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