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.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Sanderlings, Sandwiches & Merlin

First stop this morning was Crossens; I scanned the outer marsh for activity, I wasn't disappointed; I picked up a distant female Merlin perched on the big horizontal tree trunk. She blasted off after some Starlings and that was that. My first Merlin of the ornithological autumn. Female Kestrel out there too. Next stop Marshside where c. 300 Black-tailed Godwits flitted between the saltmarsh pools and Polly's pool. Five Little Egrets had learned the same trick.

Two Common Sandpipers were on view from the Sandgrounders screen and over at Nel's two adult male Ruff fed busily alongside c.155 Black-tailed Godwits. The high water levels on Rimmer's marsh are heaven for the 145 or so Coot, 21 Tufted Duck, 18 Mute Swans, 5 Gadwall and six Shoveler loafing there.

The real business of the day was to get my WeBS sector counted down at Birkdale and Ainsdale. Although I had a long, hot walk, I wasn't disappointed with  the following birds counted; 6300 Dunlin, 2600 Sanderling, 110 Knot, 16 Ringed Plover, 228 Grey Plover, 125 Bar-tailed Godwit; 475 Oystercatcher, 318 Sandwich Tern (most I've ever seen there), five Common Tern, 140 Common Gull, 410 Black-headed Gull, 170 Herring Gull, 23 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 22 Greater Black-backed Gull, one Mediterranean Gull, one Great Crested Grebe, 28 Cormarant and a Grey Heron. Five Gannets were fishing offshore - always a delight to see. A good day on the beach.

Black-tailed Godwits on Marshside saltmarsh pools

Dunlin and Sanderling on Birkdale Sands




Common Tern

Sandwich Terns

Sedge Warbler singing in the Alder scrub on the Green Beach at Birkdale

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