Thursday 9 October 2014

Birdgirl's South American Wader Quest Part 1: Guest blog by Mya-Rose Craig

My name is Mya-Rose Craig AKA Birdgirl.  I am 12 years old and live in Somerset, in the UK.  I am obsessed with birds, passionate about conservation and love writing. I am really honoured to have been asked to write a guest blog for Wader Quest.  When I was asked, I had to rack my brains for the most magical wader that I have seen.  When you have seen 3,700 birds, it’s quite hard to choose….

In 2012, my parents home schooled me for six months whilst we headed off to South America for the birding trip of a lifetime (or at least until the next big trip!).  I was 9 years old and I loved seeing so many birds and experiencing all those new places.  We went to Colombia, Bolivia and Peru, trying to see as many birds as we could and fitting in schooling in between.

Studying while travelling © Helena Craig

First, we went to Colombia for a six week endemic chasing trip. I thought that we hadn’t seen any particularly special waders there, but I was completely wrong.  On our first day, we had a really early start setting off at 4.45 am. We went to Chingaza National Park on the Eastern slope of the Andes, a couple of hours from Bogota. Here we saw Southern Lapwing, Noble Snipe and Wilson’s Snipe (it’s always fantastic to see something with Wilson in the name).  The Noble Snipe was a new bird for me, so that was great.  We visited in March/April and so there were plenty of American waders.  Back in the UK, we had driven miles to twitch these. The American waders that we saw included Semipalmated Plover, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs and Solitary, Least and Stilt Sandpiper.  They were great birds but none were world ticks.
Noble Snipe Gallinago nobilis © Trevor Ellery

Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus. © Trevor Ellery
Solitary Sandpiper Tringa solitaria. © Trevor Ellery

Then on the northern coast, we saw Collared Plover and Black-Bellied Plover at Salamanca and American Oystercatcher, Double-striped Thick-knee and Willet at Guajira, which is near the border with Venezuela.  Maybe one day I will find a Willet in the UK and I will able to identify it!
Double-striped Thick-knee Burhinus bistriatus. © Trevor Ellery

That’s an amazing group of waders to have seen in Colombia, without trying too much.  However, none of these was my most magical wader.  I was still looking for this.

© Helena Craig
Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig is a young birder, writer and conservationist, her South American wader quest continues in Part Two.

Please like her Facebook page

Trevor Ellery

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