Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig's Birding Achievements

This is where I get to brag….though they are just numbers and don’t matter that much.


As well as birding in my garden and locally, I sometimes go twitching.  This is a lot of fun, especially if the bird is from a long way away or is particularly attractive.  It’s exciting to wonder whether the bird will still be there when you arrive.  A lot of the birds have travelled a long way and it’s amazing to be looking at a tiny little bird and think “that has somehow flown across the Atlantic Sea”.  I got to 400 when I was 9 years old, which is a British record.  This was beating my older sister Ayesha, who had reached 400 when she was 12 years old.  My British list is now 437.   My next target is getting to 450.

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig twitching a Pine Grosbeak, Shetland Islands, February 2013 
Photograph taken by and copyright Mark Rayment

I have put my full British on Bubo Listing:

I quite often look at my lists and enjoy remembering the birds I have seen and the twitches I have been on.

Dusky Thrush twitch, Margate, Kent,  May 2013
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig

My birding skills have become really quite good now, as well being able to recognise calls, though I still want to learn more British birds.  When we went looking for a Sardinian Warbler last autumn, it was really late, we didn’t have much time and so we split up.  I managed to re-find the bird really quickly, picking it up on call and then seeing it briefly fly across the path.  I was really pleased with myself and I know that many adult British birders would not have been able to do that.

European Roller, Hampshire, May 2013
Photograph taken by and copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

My Big Year - Year Listing in 2009

In 2009, we tried to see as many birds in Britain as possible in one year, just for fun.  It was really good for my bird identification to be out birding so much.  Some scarcities we saw two or three times during the year, so that my ability to identify them really improved.

Dad had decided to try and see 300 birds because he had never done it.  Then after 3-4 of days, I decided that I would year list as well.  It seemed like it would be fun.  Mum hung on a few more days, then, on the 10th of Jan, she caved in and decided to join me and dad in year listing!

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig, Highland, Scotland, April 2009
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

My full 2009 year list is on Bubo Listing:

I love looking at my Bubo list for 2009, as it reminds me of the birds I saw.  I also like looking at my notebooks for the year, looking at my babyish drawings and cute notes.  They bring back great memories of the year.

My year list for 2009 was 334.  I was really pleased with this, as we only birded at the weekend and didn’t go to Scottish off islands.

For my 7th birthday, we hired a 
mini bus and took my whole class 
to WWT Slimbridge, May 2009
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

 My 7th birthday party 
at WWT Slimbridge, May 2009
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

My amazing twitcher birthday cake made by 
my big sister Ayesha Ahmed-Mendoza,
May 2009
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

I have seen people on the internet say about me that all you need is money and time to year list.  I think this is a mean attitude to take and comes from people who have never tried year listed.  You shouldn't generalise.  Dad had free petrol from work, so year listing hardly cost us anything at all.  Actually, it's funny because we ended up spending less that year as we didn't have time to shopping!  Also, we only birded at the weekend and my school holidays, if mum and dad could get time off.

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig, Year Listing and Birding in 2009
Photograph taken by  and copyright Helena Craig

My best bird year listing in 2009

My best bird of the year was definitely Black-browed Albatross at Porthgwarra, on a sea watch.  It came in really close, circled around, before heading off.  I think that might end up being the British birding highlight of my life.

Black-browed Albatross seen at Mooloolaba,
Queensland, Australia, July 2013

Photograph taken by and copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

‘Biking Birder’ stayed with us in 2010 when he was doing in cycling year list and gave me a cuddly albatross called Albert.  He always sleeps with me and reminds me of the Black-browed Albatross I saw and how kind ‘Biking Birder’ was to me.

World Birding

I’m very lucky to be able to go world birding once or twice a year during school holidays.  We work really hard: getting up at 5 am every morning (sometimes as early as 3 am), doing intensive birding all day, hiking up mountains and through forest up to our ankles in mud.  Then sometimes going out owling in the evening as well, finally getting to bed at 10 pm or 11 pm and still getting up at 5 am.  

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Machu Picchu,
Peru, August 2012
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

You get to see a lot of new birds and I feel it really improved my birding skills.  You have to pick up birds quickly, look at them carefully, pick up all the ID features and then try to identify them.  That can be quite tricky when you visit somewhere new with whole new families of birds.

Giant Antpitta, Tandayapa Lodge, Ecuador, August 2010
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig

In 2012, my parents home-schooled me for a term and we went on trips to Colombia, Bolivia and Peru.  We came back in between, so that I could see my friends and my big sister, Ayesha and little niece Laila.  Whilst we were birding in Colombia, our friend Digby Munns taught me English, as he is a Secondary School English teacher.  Mum taught me Maths, Geography and general studies (like human rights, and politics) and Dad taught me the whole Science syllabus.  

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig studying on the minibus
in Bolivia, June 2012
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig reading her Kindle on the 
minibus in Bolivia, June 2012
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig studying on an afternoon off birding (in readiness for and evening of owling) in Peru, July 2012
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

I’m doing really well at school in biology, geography and Spanish because of my travels to South America.  

We wrote a blog of our trips.  Our blog from our trip is:

It was in Australia last summer, which I got to 3000 in my world list with Regent Bowerbird.  It was a lovely black and gold bird.  My world list is now 3383.

Regent Bowerbird at Lamington National Park, Queensland, Australia, July 2013 
Photograph taken by and copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Lamington National Park, 
Queensland, Australia, July 2013
Photograph taken by and copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

It’s up to me whether I go on foreign birding trips.  Mum and Dad used to go on short Naturetrek trips and leave me with my big sister.  If I didn’t want to go on birding trips now, Ayesha (who is 24 years old) would just come and stay to look after me.  It would be cheaper for Mum and Dad to go away in term time and they would save the money it costs to take me.  I used to beg them not to go on trips without me, so now they have agreed not to leave me, which is really great of them (except Dad is heading off to West Papua in a few weeks).

In January 2014, leading optics manufacturer, Swarovski Optik, wrote a lovely article about me and my world birding on their blog.  I had a great pair of Swarovski binoculars which I managed to break into two pieces, by falling in the Andes.  I was devastated when it happened. Dale Forbes, Head of Marketing for Swarovski Optik was brilliant, getting my binoculars repaired within week and without any charge.  I was so relieved and will definitely be a Swarovski Optik customer for life.   The Swarovski Optik blog address is:

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig with her Swarovski Optik CL Companion 10 x 30 B Binoculars

It was also brilliant because lots of my friends and family posted encouraging comments on the Swarovski Optik blog, as well as lots of British birders.  So far there have been 775 comments! What was also amazing was that lots of World Birders that I have met and birded with abroad as well as foreign bird guides also commented about my birding.  Here are some of those comments:

Andres Vasquez - Guide in Ecuador
Posted on January 27, 2014, 00:33

I had the great luck to guide Mya and her dad and mom during their visit to Ecuador; it was a great trip with almost 700 spp recorded in about 22 days. Mya spotted the Andean Condor and several other nice birds. I will never forget her beautiful smile when she would see a species she wanted. She for sure will be one of the greatest birders of our generation. Andres Vasquez - Tropical Birding Tours (‎).

Diablo (local guide) Andres Vasquez, Paola Villalba,
Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig and my dad, Chris Craig
In the Amazon, Ecuador, August 2010
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Trevor Ellery - Guide in Colombia
Posted on March 30, 2014, 18:31

Hi Mya, Great birding with you in Colombia and really impressed to see how you coped with some of the trials and tribulations, including the 12 hour walk to see the Baudo Oropendola, the two-day wait for see the Gorgeted Wood Quail and the occasionally delayed and/or cancelled flights. Oh and of course the Spiders!. I think with your patience, tenacity, quick eye and sense of humor you have a great future as a world class birder. I thoroughly enjoyed your company and look forward to birding with you again in the future. Best Wishes Trevor Ellery (

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at San Augustin, 
Colombia, April 2012
An ancient site and the only one for the endemic 
Dusky-headed Brush-finch
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Digby Munns - Birder who birded with us in Colombia for 4 weeks
Posted on January 14, 2014, 20:56

Having shared four weeks of Mya's South American adventure (in Columbia), I particularly remember the fleeting view her Swarovski's gave her of the wonderful White-tipped Sicklebill that gripped off mum and dad!

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig with her dad and
Digby Munns, Paujil Reserve, Colombia, March 2012
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Guy Mirgain - Birder I met in Peru
Posted on January 29, 2014, 23:34

Hya Mya, remember meeting me in Peru 2012 especially during our terrific pelagic trip where we saw so many special birds (even if some people were quite seasick...I think even your mom a little bit...:) I remember you as a delightful overenthusiastic young lady birder, always with your binoculars around your neck...:) I wish you all the best in your future life and....keep on birding ! Guy from Luxemburg.

Dusky Dolphin on a  Pelagic from Lima, Peru
with Kolibri Expeditions, August 2012
Photograph taken by and copyright Benoit Maire

Chris Steeman - Birder I met in Peru
Posted on January 24, 2014, 21:28

Hey Birdgirl, Me and 2 friends met you and your parents at Carpish Tunnel in Peru in August 2012. I remember you had 2 binoculars at that time, or better monoculars :-). I'm happy for you that Swarovski fixed it, but their service is legendary (amongst birders anyway), needless to say I use Swarovski too. Already 3000+, good work, still 7000 to go but your still young so who knows... Anyway I wish you all the best and a lot of new species in near future.

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig and her Swarovski binoculars, broken into two pieces in a fall in Peru, August 2012
Dale Forbes of Swarovski Optik arranged for the 
binoculars to be fixed at no charge and within 10 days
Fantastic customer service
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

We are not rich but are able to go on our trips because we all make a lot of sacrifices, like not going to the cinema or for meals very often. In Peru, I met someone who was in his forties and had a HUGE world list. He lived like a hermit, so that he could save all his money and go on all amazing trips. It makes you realise that to do a lot of trips, you have to focus on what you want to do. It was extra special to have the following comment made by him, knowing that I was able to keep up with the pace of a big World Birder. 

Andy Marshall - Birder who birded with us in Peru for 1 week 
Posted on January 23, 2014, 20:23

Well done Mya, keep it up, there's plenty more to go for! Had a very enjoyable week with you and your folks in Peru.

My Dad, Chris Craig,  Andy Marshall, our driver Henri, 
Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig and our bird guide 
Alex Durand Torres from Kolibri Expeditions
Camping at 3,800 M at Bosque Unchog, Peru, July 2012
In search of Golden-backed Mountain Tanager
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig in Windsor, Cockpit Country, Jamaica, April 2013
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig


  1. WOW sooooo many achievements. And yet
    so many more to accomplish.

    Singed by otto,age 11 year 6 good birder.

    1. Hi Otto, just seen your comment...Thanks, there is so much for us to see and do as young people, I find it exciting. I hope your birding is going well.

  2. In the UK my bird count is 491 and in Africa I counted 678 including Storks and pelicans!

    1. That is fantastic, that is about what my Mum is on. Are you hoping to get to 500 this year? I've been to South Africa and Ghana but are going to East Africa this summer, which will be brilliant.

  3. Have you tried a Green Year List: travelling to twitches on bike or public transport?

  4. Hi George, this isn't something I've tried but I have thought about it quite a bit. Biking Birder (Gary Prescott) is a good friend and is currently doing a British Year List. I haven't tried yet because 1, I'm a rubbish cyclist 2,I don't think it would be safe to cycle or sleep in remote places alone as a girl 3, I live in the countryside where there is no public transport

    When I'm older I might try doing a green local patch year list.


Thank you for posting a comment. Please can you make sure that it is positive and is about me or my blog and not about promoting you or your business. Thanks. Mya-Rose Craig