Saturday 4 March 2017

Meet Marvellous Milly Formby.

Imagine the thought process that must have gone on to get from watching a red traffic light, waiting for it to change, to deciding, on the spot, that you are going to combine your passion for wader conservation, with a desire to learn to fly. Then, before the lights had time to go green (no red and amber in Australia it seems) to then transform that bizarre combination into an extravaganza to eclipse all others in raising awareness about the problems the East-Asian Australasian Flyway (EAAF) is facing; not so much a process, more of a flash, dare I say, a flash of inspiration?* 

Milly Formby: photo Gordon Marshall
Milly Formby (for it was she that had this life changing revelation) decided she would fly the length of the EAAF to highlight the conservation nightmare that it has become, and that was before she had even learned to fly! What makes this all the more adventurous is that she isn't going to do it in a cosy aeroplane, she plans to do in a microlight aircraft!

The EAAF and its waders are in a perilous state, if you are unaware of the destruction of the intertidal zone in the key Yellow Sea region then please understand that the problem is likely, if not addressed in the very short term, to cause the annihilation of several wader species such as Spoon-billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea, Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris, Eastern Curlew Numenius madagascariensis and Nordmann's Greenshank Tringa guttifer and regional populations of more widespread species such as Bar-tailed Godwits Limosa lapponica baueri.

Eastern Curlew, a species under pressure. Cairns Australia September 2013

What Milly is doing is nothing short of incredible and reflects the passion that she has for these birds. It is also a reflection of how inspiring waders can be, once you are caught by the bug, it is impossible to shake it off, we can confirm this from our own personal experience.

Milly learning to fly a microlight: photo Gordon Marshall
So, all of this is going to cost money, obviously, and Milly isn't some super rich attention seeking celeb, she is just like you and me and wants to do her bit to improve the world for our ailing wader populations. Wader Quest fully supports her initiative and we will help out where we can, and we urge you to do the same if you have any concern for our waders, to help to fund this effort through Milly's fundraising site. It doesn't mean you have to give a lot, it would actually be much more satisfying to know that many people gave a little than a few people gave a lot. So do your bit if you can for the waders of the EAAF and support Milly and the Wing Threads project**.

Facebook / Twitter @wing_threads #wingthreads 

See Wader Quest the newsletter: Vol. 3 Issue 3 October 2016 pp1-2 The Inspiration of Waders.We are campaigning for 'an Inspiration of waders' to become the official collective noun for a mixed aggregation of waders dancing and pirouetting over our beloved estuaries (blog to follow soon). 

** See Wader Quest the newsletter: Vol. 3 Issue 3 October 2016 pp18-19 Wing Threads – Flight to the Tundra

Wader Quest the newsletter is a quarterly e-newsletter that we publish with news and views about waders and their conservation available to Friends and Sponsors of Wader Quest (Subscriptions for as little as £5.00 per year for individuals).

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