Sunday, 31 May 2015

Camp Avalon 2015 - A weekend birding camp for young people

Shapwick Heath, Somerset Levels, March 2015
Photograph taken by and copyright Mya-Rose Craig

Friday 19 June 2015 to Sunday 21 June 2015

We have a few spaces left for those who wish to camp or come as for the day.

This is a camp for young birders and is also suitable for those who have not experience of nature at all.  We are pleased that we have some children coming from inner city Bristol who have not experience of birds and nature and have never camped.  We have plenty to help to ensure that both groups are catered for. 

Shapwick Heath, Somerset Levels, March 2015
Photograph taken by and copyright Mya-Rose Craig 

Come to a camping weekend on the Somerset Levels for young birders between the ages of 13 to 18 and at secondary school or 6th form.   Please contact us if you are a little bit younger and still wish to come.

Under 16's need to be accompanied at all times by a responsible adult.  Two CRB checked adults will be with on site at all times.

Based on the ABA Camp Colorado and Camp Avocet in the USA (ABA Young Birder Camps), where 40 young birders each summer experience a week of new birds, people and learning.  The idea that those with experience share it with young birders.  The USA camp is relatively expensive and is for a week compared with what we are trying to do here at Camp Avalon. 

Ham Wall RSPB Reserve, Somerset Levels, March 2015
Photograph taken by and copyright Mya-Rose Craig 

Camp Avalon – Programme

Friday 19th June 2015

6.00 pm – 7.30 pm (CS)
Set up tents & time to socialize

7.30 pm – 8.45 pm (CS)
Dinner cooked on fires at campsite

8.45 pm – 9.45 pm (HW)
Evening bird and otter walk at Ham Wall.  Meet at SHCP.
Led by Chris & Helena Craig

9.45 pm - 11.00 pm (SHCP)
Mothing on Discovery Trail, Shapwick Heath 
Bill Urwin, RoAM

Saturday 20th June 2015

7.00 am – 7.30 am (CS)
Breakfast at campsite

7.30 am - 10.00 am (SH & HW)
Birding at Shapwick Heath and Ham Wall, searching for Great White Egret, Bittern, Cuckoo and lots of other great birds.  Meet at SHCP
Led by Julian Thomas, Somerset birder, British and day lister and world birder (with Chris Griffin assisting)

9.00 am – 10.00 am (optional for beginners)(SHCP)
Small Mammals – inspecting traps – Discovery Trail, Shapwick Heath
Jon Macauley, Reserve Manager

10.00 am – 10.30 am (AMC)
Refreshment break
Avalon Marshes Centre

10.30 am – 11.30 am (AMC)
An introduction to world birding and volunteering with conservation projects abroad
Andy Mears, World birder, Oriental Bird Club active Member and one of only a few birders to have accomplished the huge feat of seeing all the Pittas of the World 

11.30 am - 12.30 pm (AMC or SHCP)
How to keep and submit good records and understanding fieldcraft (for the keen young birder)
Brian Gibbs, Somerset County Recorder or
Bio Blitzing at Shapwick Heath (optional for beginners)
Mike Urwin, RoAM

12.30 pm – 1.30 pm (AMC)
Avalon Marshes Centre

1.30 am – 3.30 pm (AMC)
Bird Photography for the more experienced
Chris Griffin, Wildlife photographer or,
Bird Photography for the beginner
Brian Gibbs, Somerset County Recorder and bird photographer and
James Packer, who writes the blog The Somerset Birder and is a Somerset birder and bird photographer 

3.30 pm – 4.00 pm (AMC)
Refreshment break
Avalon Marshes Centre

4.00 pm – 6.00 pm (AMC)
Sketching for birders
John Gale, acclaimed bird illustrator for ID publications around the world as well as a bird artist with his talented son, Tom Gale (age 14), a wildlife artist in his own right 

6.00 pm – 8.30 pm (CS)
Dinner cooked on fires at campsite

8.30 pm – 10.30 pm (MD)
Looking for Nightjar on the Mendips (dependant on weather) and 20 minutes drive
Led by Chris Craig, Avon and Somerset, British and world birder 

Sunday 21st June 2015

7.00 am – 7.30 am (AMC)
Avalon Marshes Centre

7.30 am - 11.00 am (AMC)
Bird ringing demonstration at Avalon Marshes Centre
Mike Bailey Chair of Chew Valley Ringing Station and BTO ringing trainer (with Chris Craig assisting)

11.00 am – 11.30 am (AMC)
Refreshment break
Avalon Marshes Centre

11.30 am – 12.00 pm (AMC)
An introduction to Bird Ringing
Mike Bailey Chair of Chew Valley Ringing Station and BTO ringing trainer 

12.00 pm – 1.00 pm (AMC)
Avalon Marshes Centre

1.00 pm – 1.30 pm (AMC)
Born to Bird including World Shorebird Day and the threat to waders
Mya-Rose Craig (age 13), Ambassador World Shorebird Day

1.30 pm – 3.30 pm (AMC)
ID techniques and birding with Keith Vinicombe, ornithologist and author of numerous bird ID books and articles.  Meet at Avalon Marshes Centre.

3.30 pm – 4.00 pm (AMC)
Close and looking forward to Camp Avalon 2016 (8-10 July 2016)
Mya-Rose Craig, Young Birder

4.00 pm 

Key to locations

AMC – Avalon Marshes Centre, Shapwick Road, Westhay, Glastonbury, Somerset, BA6 9TT, telephone 01458 860556

CS – The Isle of Avalon Touring Caravan Park, Godney Road, Glastonbury, Somerset, BA6 9AF, telephone 01458 833618

HW - Ham Wall RSPB Reserve, park in the new Ham Wall Car Park if open or Shapwick Heath Car Park opposite, Ashcott Road, Glastonbury, Somerset BA6 9SX

MP – Stockhill Woods, Priddy, Mendips, Somerset BA5 3BE (drive through Wells and then follow A39 towards Bristol and Bath, turn left onto Priddy Road and at the crossroads (with the Hunters Rest on the corner) turn right, the woods are on your right and park in the pull-in before the car park).

SHCP – Shapwick Heath NNR English Nature Car Park, Ashcott Road, Glastonbury, Somerset BA6 9SX (bio blitzing on the Discovery Trail off the car park)

Bittern, Shapwick Heath, Somerset Levels, March 2015
Photograph taken by and copyright Mya-Rose Craig


£20.00 per person including carers, excluding camping costs (£16 per night for two people). 

Those on a tight budget may be able to stay for free with local birders.


There will be a limited number of grants available to those young people (and a parent if they are under 16 years old) from an inner city area who have little or no experience of engaging with nature and whose family are receiving means tested benefits. Camp Avalon recognises that there are almost no young birders from black or ethnic minority backgrounds and so hope that these grants will encourage disadvantaged young people to be able to attend.  All equipment needed will also be loaned for the weekend.


Free transport is available to and from Bristol train or coach station. The camp site is a 5 minute drive, 10 minute bike ride or 30 minute walk to Ashcott Corner car park. Bring bikes to get around much more quickly between sites.

Thank you to Avalon Marshes Centre for their support and to the birders who have offered their time in order to pass on their knowledge to young birders. Please get in touch if you would like to get involved by e-mailing

Shapwick Heath, Somerset Levels, March 2015
Photograph taken by and copyright Mya-Rose Craig 

How to Book

E-mail with your name, age, who is bringing you if you are under 16 years old and any dietary requirements or post a comment on the Camp Avalon blog.

Hudsonian Godwit, Shapwick Heath, Somerset Levels, April 2015
Photograph taken by and copyright Mya-Rose Craig

Grass Snake, Shapwick Heath, Somerset Levels, April 2015
Photograph taken by and copyright Mya-Rose Craig

About the writer

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig on Scilly
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig

Mya-Rose Craig is a 13 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 is looking forward to going Mountain Gorilla Trekking in East Africa in the summer and watching Penguins in Antarctica in December 2015, which will be her 7th continent. 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

1 comment:


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    Posted by Steve Finnell at 8:35 AM No comments:
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