About Graham Clarkson

Born & brought up in Marshside, I started birding there in the mid 1970s & made my first birding trip to Martin Mere in 1977. I'm lucky as I've worked at both sites and have a unique insight into how the sites are managed for birds. I've lived & worked in Abu Dhabi, Northern Ireland & Gloucestershire & I've spent time working in Kazakhstan & Madagascar. I enjoy birding my various West Lancashire patches, making frequent visits to the Ribble coastline & other sites in the north-west of England. I stray elsewhere in the UK & enjoy birding abroad from time to time. I'm particularly interested in wildfowl, with an interest in waders & raptors, bird counts & surveys & in habitat & species conservation. I'm trying to get the hang of photography & digiscoping - I'll get there eventually. My degree is in conservation biology & I work for a conservation charity and volunteer for others. I've guided on numerous birding days out & trips & guided birding holidays to Lesvos, Andalucia, Extremedura, Majorca, Camargue, Hungary, Finland & Florida. I enjoy showing people birds & habitats & helping them learn more about birds & enjoy birding. I'm interested in captive breeding & reintroduction projects & zoos, how they're managed & how they contribute to conservation. I'm a proud Lancastrian & love the Lancashire countryside & landscapes. I'm a keen season ticket holding Evertonian & also keep up with what's happening at Southport, PNE & Bristol Rovers. 2014 may bring a second dog & some chickens - watch this space! I hope you find the blog interesting - please feel free to leave a comment.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Sunday surveys

Today was set aside for completing some squares for the BTO winter thrush survey. Playful Pete text saying he was on his way to Burscough and did I want to go birding, as far as I was concerned that was a clear offer of help. So, off we trotted to the first square; Warper's Moss, just round the corner from home. It was a tad misty but at least we managed to pick up all five species of winter thrush, a female Sparrowhawk, two Reed Buntings, four Yellowhammers, 39 Whooper Swans and four Mute Swans; slim pickings, but a reasonable start. The second square was up in Mawdesley, again all five thrush species with the addition of six Tree Sparrow, two Bullfinches and some flyover Pink-feet. The final square was between Hoscar Moss and Low Meadows; very few thrushes, the avian highlights being four more Yellowhammers and 121 Pink-feet. I still have a square to do but that'll have to wait until tomorrow; I'm still  off then and so is Jacob, he can come and help me.
Playful and I drove down Meadow Lane looking for Corn Buntings and found a flock of eleven perched on the top of a sycamore at the back of one of the farms. I'm a bit worried about my local Corn Buntings, they just haven't been in the usual flocks this winter; maybe it's because there lots of food available (unharvested cereals) and it's mild? Further down Meadow Lane, on the edge of the Low Meadows flood, a large mixed flock of Lapwings and Black-headed Gulls was busily feeding and drew our attention, 27 Ruff were feeding amongst the flock - the highest count I've had here.
A quick tootle down Curlew Lane revealed a large feeding flock of Whoopers and Pink-feet that we had a quick look through, but we both needed a brew and Playful had a train to catch. After a brew and walking the dog I headed back to Curlew Lane alone and looked through and counted the birds there; 2800 Pink-feet; 315 Whooper Swans; two Bewick's Swans; a Mute Swan and a Black Swan. Three year ticks suddenly appeared out of the mist; John Aitchison; Jason Stannage and finally Frank Whitney, all of whom enjoyed the wildfowl spectacle. Frank and I enjoyed a Barn Owl and Sparrowhawk and noted a flock of Ruff heading towards Martin Mere. Another decent day in the field.

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