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, 29 July 2012

Frodsham, Gronant, Burton, Frodsham

Big Steve and I got to Frodsham by 8a.m. in order to have a look for the Buff-breasted Sandpiper that had been seen on Saturday. Plenty of waders on show, I counted 1150 Black-tailed Godwits, 420 Dunlin and 90 Ringed Plovers. Steve picked out a Bar-wit with the Black-wits. No Hud-wit though, never was - that was Paul Crawley's take and he saw the bird in question and it was good to chat to him about it.  The small waders were flighty and distant and hard work. I managed an ever so brief view of the Buff-breast at c.9a.m., as I was about to call it, it, and it's host flock flew off! Damn. The birding company didn't seem so interested in my brief encounter. Another hour or so of scanning didn't refind the the BBS and we later found out from Jonny Platt that he'd seen it at the other end of tank six and he'd seen it head in our direction at 9a.m. Other birds on show included a juv Cuckoo, five Yellow Wagtails (ad pair & three juvs), seven Pochard, four Teal, c.40 Tufted Ducks, c.65 Shelduck and three broods of chicks, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Buzzard. We were getting cold and so headed off for a brew and bacon butty.

Post brew we headed for Gronant beach and weren't disappointed; several adult Little Terns and three fledged juvs were present and a pair of Ringed Plovers with three nearly fledged juvs occupied an attractive section of beach. A couple of passing Sandwich Terns and offshore bobbing Grey Seals were also noted.

   Adult Little Tern. Gronant beach

Juvenile Little Tern. Gronant beach

Ringed Plover (above), Juvenile Ringed Plover (left)
& Sea Holly (right), Gronant beach

After Gronant we wandered over to the RSPB reserve at Burton Mere. I've not been for a while and was impressed by the new visitor reception, trails and hides. Top work RSPB. Plenty to see during our brief visit; c.20 Little Egrets, two Spotted Redshanks, c.35 Black-tailed Godwits, six Avocets, two Common Terns and c. 40 Teal. A chat with a couple of folk tempted us back to Frodsham, we'd missed a Spoonbill and the BBS had cleared off and taken most of it's wader pals with it. A pair of Ruddy Shelducks were present though and had been identified as a Ruddy Shelduck and it's hybrid pal. Looked like a pair of Ruddy Shelducks to me, a male and the female in worn, pre moult plumage, hence it's very pale head (which I've seen many times in this species); happy to be proved wrong (no, honestly!) but no good reason so far as I could see why they aren't a pair of Ruddy Shelducks.

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