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've lived, worked & birdied in Abu Dhabi, Northern Ireland & Gloucestershire & I've spent time working in Kazakhstan & Madagascar. I enjoy birding my various West Lancashire patches, making frequent birding visits throughout the north-west of England and North Wales. I stray elsewhere in the UK & enjoy birding abroad from time to time. I'm particularly interested in wildfowl (especially pink-footed geese) with an interest in waders & raptors, bird counts & surveys & conservation. I'm trying to get the hang of photography & digiscoping - I'll get there eventually.

My degree from Edge Hill University is in conservation biology. 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 currently involved with the Birdwatching and Beyond course at Edge Hill and a brand new venture; Skein Birding.

As well as 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 an Evertonian & also keep up with what's happening at Southport, PNE & Bristol Rovers. Gardening, dogs (I have a Labrador & a Tibetan Terrier) and keeping chickens (especially Marsh Daisys & Scots Dumpy Bantams). Ruth & I have two marvellous boys who both love nature too. I hope you find the blog and subjects covered interesting; please feel free to leave a comment.

Monday, 16 July 2012

First of the Sea Aster at Hesketh Out Marsh

Sea Aster is just starting to flower at Hesketh Out Marsh

Met up with Tony Baker, RSPB Ribble sites manager, early this morning at Hesketh Out Marsh to carry out the fourth and last breeding wader survey of the year there. A grey and miserable morning is always brightened up by peace, freedom and bird song and this morning was no exception. Numerous singing Skylarks always seem to ease the burden don't they? Plenty of waders in evidence out on the marsh (marsh, eh? Who'd have thought it seven or eight years back?), Oystercatchers are still getting annoyed out there, c.80 Curlew were milling around, several juvenile Redshanks were in the creeks and nine Common Sandpipers, a Greenshank, an Avocet and Lapwings are allways good to see. Tony also bumped into a flock of 80 Dunlin. Four Common Terns and an Arctic Tern were  fishing  the lagoons and creeks and the single Little Egret I saw still seemed exotic to me. Mallards are moulting out there and c.40 Sheluck were feeding in the creeks, two near fledged juveniles legged it when I peered into one of the creeks.

Wandering out amongst the creeks isn't conducive to carrying a 'scope, so  two distant Marsh Harriers were left unaged. Two Kestrels seemed to be finding plenty amongst the thick grass on the old, breached, seawall. A Yellow Wagtail over was the only other bird of note. The scurvy grass has mainly gone over with just a few sweet smelling flowers remaining, whereas Sea Aster is just starting to flower; any ungrazed parts of the saltmarsh sward with erupt into a sea of purple n the next couple of weeks. A productive way to start the day and get the blood pumping ready for work.

Creek four looking towards BAE at Warton

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