Thursday, 26 February 2015

Interview with Bangla Channel S (UK)




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


In the middle of January 2015, my Mum got in touch with Mr Samad Ahmed Chowdhury, the Chair of Channel S UK, a Bangladeshi satellite TV station based in East London (the heart of the British Bangladeshi community).  The channel is the most watched Bengali satellite TV station in Europe.  Mr Chowdhury is an uncle of my mum’s and my Nana.  He was amazing about the story, as although he knew that his audience would not be that interested in the environmental disaster in the Sundarbans, he was prepared to give it a go on the basis that it could be sold as a humanitarian disaster (which it was for the people living there).

My Mum’s family are from Sylhet, North East Bangladesh where more of Britain’s Bangladeshi’s are from.  


Chris Craig, Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig, Helena Craig and Ayesha Ahmed-Mendoza
Photograph taken by Alex Price and copyright Helena Craig



Chris Craig, Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig, Ayesha Ahmed-Mendoza and Laila Price
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig


The channel had looked at my blog and was interested in the fact that I had seen so many birds around the world, had become the youngest to see 3000 birds and also the work I had done to publicise the Sundarbans oil spill and help raise money for the American charity Water Defense to go out there are clean up the oil spill.


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


A week later, Tanvir Ahmed, their main reporter came to interview me with a cameraman at Chew Valley Lake, where we had a great time.  We talked about the birding I did, in the UK, Bangladesh and around the world.  I also spoke about the Sundarbans oil spill and the rare Spoon-billed Sandpiper.



Child collecting oil in Sundarbans, Bangladesh


Spoon-billed Sandpiper Sonadia Island, Bangladesh
Photograph taken by and copyright Bangladesh Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation Project


Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig with Tanvir Ahmed and crew
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig



Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig with Tanvir Ahmed and crew
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig


Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig with Tanvir Ahmed and crew
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig


Also, they talked to my Mum about why she thought other Bangladeshi girls were not interacting with nature.  There are the usual problems encountered by all children across the cultural divide, but on top of that, lots of Bangladeshi teenage girls are not allowed out on their own and their parents do not think it important to take them into nature even parks.  This is such a shame are most of those same parents, growing up in Bangladesh, would have been surrounded by nature growing up in rural Bangladesh.   It is sad that things have changed so much just in one generation.



Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig with Tanvir Ahmed and crew
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig


My interview was shown on Channel S UK on Wednesday 11th February 2015 on the 10 pm News and then repeated again on the 1 am News.  It was then shown again on Friday 13th February 2015 on Ekattor TV in Bangladesh, a 24 hour News Channel.  The broadcast was planned to tie in with my trip to Bangladesh http://on.fb.me/1E1kBcZ


A few days later I was spotted by a girl in a parlour (beauty salon) who recognised me from Ekattor TV News, which was a bit of a funny co-incidence.


Unfortunately, the section about the Sundarbans oil spill was cut back, probably because Water Defense had not started their clean up operation, even though they had raised the money they needed more than a month before.


Channel S are planning to show a longer programme about my visit to Bangladesh and the rare Spoon-billed Sandpiper.


About the writer



Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig on Scilly
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
















Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Dhaka - My Born to Bird Talk





Young birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Lalakal, Sylhet, Bangladesh
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig


I have come to Bangladesh to go bird watching near Cox's Bazar, to see a very rare bird, the Spoon-billed Sandpiper.


Spoon-billed Sandpiper Sonadia Island, Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh
Taken by and copyright Baz Scampion


I was interviewed for the Bangla UK satellite station Channel S, which was shown on Ekattor TV in Bangladesh on Saturday about my birding and the Sundarbans oil spill. I have been letting people know about my world record, being the youngest person to see 3000 birds in the world and about my media attention in the UK (and around the world) over the last 12 months.




Young birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Lalakal, Sylhet, Bangladesh
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig


I am giving a talk in conjunction with Bangladesh Bird Club about my travels (which is very funny and also aimed at people not interested in birds). There will be refreshments and snacks afterwards and I hope to be able to talk to people then.


Young birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig giving her Born to Bird talk
Photograph taken by and copyright WWT Sam Stafford
with Baz Scampion's photograph of Spoon-biled Sandpiper in the background


My talk is being filmed and there is also going to be journalists there to report on my talk and exhibition from various TV stations and newspapers. Our trip is being filmed by a three person camera crew and is being made into a film to be shown in UK and Bangladesh. I gave a high profile talk 2 weeks ago at WWT Slimbridge Festival of birds, when 3 people came from the BBC to film me.

As it is a Friday, I hope that there will be no hortal on Friday and I would be really pleased if as many people as possible can make it. I understand that it is not easy to drive in Dhaka at the moment, but still hope it will be safe enough to come.

Full details of the talk are set out below:

Bangladesh Bird Club Event with 12 year old Mya-Rose Craig AKA Birdgirl


The Bangladesh Bird Club invite you to join special guest 12 year old Mya-Rose Craig, young ornithologist, conservationist, writer and world record breaker, for a unique gala fundraising evening at Long Beach Suites Hotel, House # CEN 4 (G), Road #104, Gulshan-2, Dhaka 1212, Bangladesh at 4.00 pm on Friday 20th February 2015. This is sure to be a wonderful afternoon of stories and anecdotes. 

The Bangladesh Bird Club, Bangladesh’s oldest not-for-profit conservation organisation and the only one dedicated to its unique birdlife, present an exclusive afternoon with this young and inspiring birder. She will speak of her passions, birds, wildlife and travel. Mya-Rose is a Bangladeshi living in Britain and has a particularly love of Bangladesh and its birds.

Mya has been birding all her life and became the youngest person to see 3,000 birds when she was only 11 years old. She has now seen more than a third of the world’s birds and in her talk “Born to Bird”, she talks about her passion for birds and tales along the way. She has had much media attention including from the BBC who sent a three person team to film her recent talk. Her trip and talk will be filmed for use by various channels and events. Journalists will also be attending the event.




Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig with Dannie Godwin, BBC Natural History Unit
Photograph taken by and copyright 
Helena Craig



The ‘voice of young birding’ and Ambassador for World Shorebirds Day



As Ambassador of the international conservation initiative, World Shorebirds Day, she is helping raise awareness about shorebirds and their conservation.



She will give a captivating talk on being born into a birding family, her path to 3,700 birds and her passion for conservation, particularly saving the Spoon-billed Sandpiper and the Sundarbans oil spill.


Mya hopes you will all attend to enjoy an entertaining afternoon to help Bangladesh birds enjoy a bright future.


Event details




Before Mya-Rose’s talk, you will have an opportunity to browse the raffle prizes, followed by welcomes from a Bangladesh Bird Club Member, followed by the engaging Birdgirl.



Date: Friday 20 February 2015
Venue: Long Beach Suites Hotel, House # CEN 4 (G), Road #104, Gulshan-2, Dhaka 1212


Timing:




15.30–16:15 Reception

16:15–16:30 Bangladesh Address

16:30–17:30 12 year old Mya-Rose Craig AKA Birdgirl giving her talk “Born to Bird”
17:30–18.30 Tea and Coffee, snacks and charity raffle


Tickets Tickets are free but please e-mail Bangladesh Bird Club or helenabcraig@hotmail.co.uk to be placed on the list as ticket numbers are limited.


Raffle tickets will be on sale with prizes including binoculars.



About the Writer



Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig on Scilly
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













Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Our Bangladesh trip from planning to reality




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


Our trip to Bangladesh has been planned for a long time.

Originally, the idea was that Mum would use her knowledge of the people and place to organise Bangladesh's first bird tour, which Dad would lead.  Not for profit but to try and bring bird tourism to Bangladesh.

We couldn't organise anything for February 2014 because of political unrest for 6 months before. By the summer, things were looking more settled and so the trip organisation went ahead.

The plan was two full days in Cox's Bazar, to go to Sonadia Island for Spoon-billed Sandpiper and Nordmann's Greenshank and a day of forest birding, then back to Dhaka for an over night stay before flying to Jessore and 3 days cruising the Sundarbans for Masked Finfoot and other great birds.

The idea is, from what we have seen around the world, that Eco tourism brings money to local birds and people who live near them, making their future more secure.

Mum was worried about the birds and whether they were pinned down enough in terms of getting over for the Spoon-billed Sandpiper due to tide times and finding the so in the end decided to cancel the tour.

It was lucky that she had cancelled as within 2 weeks, the oil spill happened in the Sundarbans and we would have had to have cancelled anyway.
 
Then about 6 civil unrest broke out on the anniversary of the last elections. Things have been dire with week long "hortals" which are strikes and blockades with buses and cars being firebombed especially out side of Dhaka.

 


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


The last month we've been talking to lots of people about whether it was safe enough come. In the end, we decided to come to Bangladesh but only to stay in Gulshan, an upmarket area where it's relatively safe. It is also where I am doing my Birdgirl "Born to Bird" at Long Beach Suites Hotel, Gulshan 2 at 4 pm on Friday 20th February 2015. Hopefully, as it's the weekend it will be safe for people to travel to get there.

We are flying to Cox's Bazar, where the town itself seems ok. It's too dangerous to go by road anywhere, so we have abandoned birding anywhere else, like the forest in Teknaf. Last week a family returning from a holiday in Cox's Bazar died when their car was firebombed on the main highway, so we have to be really safe.

It was a shame we didn't have Dad to keep us safe, but he had already done a Spoon-billed Sandpiper survey and see 24 birds in one day, 10% of the global population.

I'm not sure if we would have been more or less safe with Dad. We were taking lots of "kurtas" and "kamiz" Asian tops with us to try and blend in. Mum's parents were from Bangladesh but she was born in Britain and so sticks out as a foreigner. I'm dual heritage and my Dad is English and part Scottish hence the Craig.

Either they would have seen Dad and thought killing a foreigner would cause them bad publicity or they might have targeted him as thinking any publicity abroad was good publicity....


Spoon-billed Sandpiper on Sonadia Island, Bangladesh
Taken by and copyright Baz Scampion

I'm hoping that we see out two target birds and a few other things as well. Seeing Spoon-billed Sandpiper is very exciting.

I am also really looking forward to my talk, which I promise will be funny and entertaining whether you are a birder or not. 


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



About the writer



Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig on Scilly
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




















Monday, 16 February 2015

This Week is National Nestbox Week



This week is National Bird Box Week.  The idea is that just as birds start thinking about mating, we get their boxes up and cleaned.

We have three nest boxes in our garden. We never seem to have more than one in use at any one time. We have lots of birds nesting in our garden but they seem to prefer our mature natural mixed hedge and sometimes inside our garage (which is wooden and has a broken glass pane left as it is for birds to fly in and out).



Nestbox on the garage
Photograph taken by Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig 



Nestbox on the garage
Photograph taken by Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig



Nestbox on the hedge
Photograph taken by Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

This year we are putting up something special. A company called SpyCamera CCTV, who are based in Bristol where I live, make nest box cameras. They have sent me a nest box camera to trial and review. Mum and Dad thought about buying me one for Christmas but opted for a camera trap instead, to film wildlife and birds in the garden.  They have sent me
 a SpyCameraCCTV, which is a wireless bird box camera with night vision (700TVL), with a Gardman bird box.  I am really excited looking forward to watching baby birds in our garden this year (hopefully).

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

All our boxes are clean and up, so I'll keep you informed about whether any get inhabited this year.

If you haven't already, remember to clean your nest boxes and maybe get a couple of different ones up as well.  All the ones at the ringing station need cleaning and checking as well, which is a big job.



Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Chew Valley Ringing Station
Photograph taken by and copyright Oliver Edwards Photography


Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Chew Valley Ringing Station
Photograph taken by and copyright Oliver Edwards Photography


  

About the writer



Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig on Scilly
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
















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













Keynsham Evening of Birds



In November, straight after my visit to Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust's offices in Bath, I headed to Keynsham, a small town between Bristol and Bath.

Avon Wildlife Trust's Keynsham Group was holding an "Evening of Birds" at Wellsway School. The event was being organised by Wellsway School's Green Team. Lots of that team came to the event and it was really good to talk to so many teenagers about getting into wildlife.


Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at AWT Keynsham Event
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig


Ed Drewitt was giving a talk about Peregrines in Bath and I was running a stand with the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). 


Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig and Ed Drewitt at AWT Keynsham Event
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig


A Young Birder's tips for children


I was talking to people about how to get children interested in wildlife and nature, with copies of my articles from Bird Watching Magazine "Top 10 tips on how to get children interested in birds" and "Top 5 birds to get children hooked on birding". There were lots of people with children at the event, so it was brilliant to be able to speak to them and encourage them. 


Page in Bird Watching Artcle


My top tip for young children is to buy them a bird sticker book. Children love stickers and will go out birding just to get the next sticker and before long their hooked and don't need the stickers any more. I also talked to the children and their parents about ringing and coming to Chew Valley Ringing Station. Gordon Youdale ran the BTO side of the table, talking to people about ringing and surveying.


Gordon Youdale (BTO) and Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at AWT Keynsham Event
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig


There were also stands for Avon Wildlife Trust, the Keynsham Group as well as other local groups. I brought along a couple of things for the raffle including a “birdgirl” hand silk printed T-shirt.

They had organised for Hawk and Owl Trust to come with some captive owls and birds of prey, which they had flying low over our heads. This had attracted all the young children with their parents, which was a perfect audience for me.

When I was at WWT Slimbridge two weeks ago, lots of people told me that they had met me in Keynsham, which was good to know.

The evening was really successful for all ages and is one that should be replicated in other groups. Getting children into nature and birds is something I not only feel strongly about but is also something that I want to actually do something to help, with talks, workshops and simply talking to and working with children and their parents.



Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at AWT Keynsham Event
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig



About the writer




Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig on Scilly
P
hotograph 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