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.

Monday, 7 January 2013

The party's over

Today was the last day of our holiday and we'd made a gentleman's agreement to help each other out. Jacob stoically agreed to come along on my last BTO winter thrush survey, so we headed to Sollom and set about our work. Thrushes were initially thin on the ground but some other bits and pieces brightened things up; five Yellowhammers, 12 Corn Buntings, three Goosanders, four Whooper Swans, a Peregrine and a hunting Merlin that scattered a mixed flock of Meadow Pipits and Pied Wagtails. Jacob was distracted by a friendly pony and once I had his attention we recorded a few Redwings, Blackbirds and Mistle Thrushes. Back towards the Croston road we spotted a flock of distant Fieldfares and counted 113, a decent return for our efforts. Back at the car a mixed tit flock contained a single Willow Tit, which I was delighted to see.

Jacob and his new best mate at Sollom
 
Dodgy digi effort of a male Yellowhammer at Sollom
 
After the delights of Sollom Jacob was keen to see a Kingfisher, so we headed for Mere Sands Wood. Despite others seeing one we just couldn't find a Kingfisher, but we were pleased to see a Water Rail, 22 Tree Sparrows and 17 Goosanders. Jacob was made up to spot a Great Spotted Woodpecker and point it out to me and also pleased to point out a Wren - his ID skills are coming on and he's got a good pair of eyes! We watched a couple of Goldcrests hovering in midair having a scrap and one of them  knocked the other into the ditch near to the tower hide, it managed a getaway though; an amazing sight. Our visit was brief as I'd promised to take Jacob for a pizza for his dinner. After our pizza we walked the dog and a text came through regarding a Crane at Martin Mere. Jacob cheerfully agreed to give a Crane twitch a try, so, off we drove, all three minutes down Red Cat Lane. On arrival no current news was avialable so we had a quick look but failed to find the Crane. The consolation prize for Jacob was great views of a hunting Barn Owl at Miller's Bridge. I also picked up hunting Merlin and Sparrowhawk. 57 Ruff were amongst the 1850 Lapwings and numerous Teal were busily displaying. As the light departed herds of Whooper Swans arrived in the twilight quickly followed by huge skiens of Pink-feet rapidly whiffling down to roost on Vinson's marsh. A decent end to a prolonged festive break, made even better by the company of my cheerful buddy.  

1 comment:

  1. You live a beautiful life Graham. Thank you for sharing your special day :)

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