After a Summer packed full of wonderful wildlife experiences, fascinating chats with inspiring people, and plenty of fundraising, the day had come for my final ’21 Wildlife Walks,’ my 21st birthday.
I woke up in London to a beautiful blue sky and headed on the tube to Woodberry Wetlands, a London Wildlife Trust reserve. For this last walk I had set up a young naturalists walk, in collaboration with the British Trust for Ornithology. I arrived and gathered the group of around 20 young people. After a chat about the project, we began walking around the reserve. It was my first visit here, and I was so glad to see so much wildlife and beautiful green space in such an urban area. The contrast between the high-rise buildings, luscious green vegetation and reservoir populated with wildfowl was something quite spectacular.
There was plenty to show everyone – Cormorants sunbathing, Pochard and Tufted Duck diving, and Shoveler dabbling. Knowledge and experiences were shared amongst the group as we ambled along the footpath surrounding the reservoir. Little grebe were spotted close-by, and the call of the inconspicuous Cetti’s Warbler exploded from the reeds. It was great to be joined by some of the lovely trainees from London Wildlife Trust and hear about what they had been getting up to. A detour off the main footpath led us to a meandering track alongside some woodland. Everyone gazed up at the trees as a Chiffchaff hopped from branch to branch. A bird feeder attracted a group of Long-tailed Tits, or lollipops as they’re sometimes known, as well as Blue Tits and a couple of Chaffinches.
We continued walking around the reservoir and spotted two Sparrowhawk flying above – a real treat to see. They glided over the blocks of flats before disappearing into the clouds. It was lovely to see the delight on everyone’s faces after they had seen this smart bird of prey. The walk ended with a fabulous talk by conservation officer at the reserve, Hadi El Ali. He spoke about the background of the reserve, how they work in partnership with Thames Water to manage the site, and some of the wildlife that is found there. It really is such a brilliant reserve and so accessible too.
As I thanked everyone for coming along, I was presented with a cheque of the money I had raised so far for the BTO by Faye Vogely and Chris Marais, the BTO Youth team. It was a special moment and felt like all the hard work of this Summer had paid off! The last walk was a success, and it was brilliant to spend it with a group of enthusiastic and inspiring young people.
21 Wildlife Walks has been an amazing experience. I’ve seen many new species, learnt about and raised awareness for important conservation issues and the biodiversity crisis, spoken to a variety of fantastic people, and shared it all along the way via my social media and videos. It has also allowed me to share my passion for the natural world and determination to make a difference. To date I’ve raised nearly £2800 with gift aid for the BTO thanks to all your generous donations, shares, and support.
It’s not over yet though! You can still donate on my just giving page: Mya’s fundraiser for BTO – British Trust for Ornithology and keep an eye out on my YouTube Channel or the remaining walk videos to be released soon.
Thank you so much to Leica Sport Optics for their support in this project.