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, 5 August 2012

Tale of three marshes

First bit of birding today was unintentional. My eldest son, Jacob, and I cycled down Meadow Lane near Burscough and counted eight singing Corn Buntings and two singing Yellowhammers. Jacob's seven and not really a birder but he knows both these songs well.

Post lunch I headed to Hesketh Out Marsh for the high tide. It was worth it as I immediately picked up three juvenile Marsh Harriers perched in the dead trees that run along the edge of the large eastern creek, they headed of hunting; two onto Crane field, the other out onto the NNR. Twelve Greenshanks, 45 Redshanks,  two Wigeon, twelve Teal, five Grey Herons and seven Little Egrets were pushed into lagoons by the tide. All good stuff but nothing to hold me there so I headed for the seawall at Old Hollow Farm near Banks. The splashes on the NNR from Old Hollow sea wall were full of birds; c.6600 Dunlin, c.800 Ringed Plover, 85 Grey Plover, 130 Teal, 275 Shelduck; the waders were just too far out to consider picking out any goodies. On the saltmarsh 1090 Canada Geese,  212 Greylags and nine Grey Herons lazed in the sunshine. 380 Swallows were flying around the seawall and twelve Sand Martins with them, other passerines in the area including three Yellow Wagtails, 18 Pied Wagtails, 45 Linnets, eight Tree Sparrows and c.350 Starlings. All of the passerines were bound to attract a predator and a female Merlin obliged by blasting low over the seawall, much to the distress of the scattering hirundines! The waders scatttered too and that was that. Next stop Marshside.

Female Garganey, Rimmer's marsh, Marshside 05/08/12

Juvenile Yellow Wagtail, Banks Marsh, 05/08/12

Had a feeling some good stuff would be at Marshside. I nipped into the hide to say hello and Shelagh Parsons (volunteer on duty) had seen a Kingfisher and a Spoonbill had been reported on the saltmarsh. I checked the saltmarsh and picked up nine Little Egrets and numerous Black-tailed Godwits. A walk across the sandworks (Obs garden in Bannon-speak) produced a male Blackbird, a Whitethroat and a juv Wheatear. Plenty of Small Skippers, Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns, Small Tortoiseshells and a magnificent looking Peacock were on show there too. Down at Nel's I picked up three Ruff (two males and a juv) with 229 Redshanks. 22 Gadwall, 13 Shoveler, a Pintail, a Wigeon, four Teal, a female Tufted Duck with two well grown chicks were all on show and scanning through groups I picked up a distant female Garganey that had the good manners to sail past Nel's allowing me to get some reasonable record shots - well worth nipping out for a couple of hours! A couple of Reed Warblers in front of Nel's and c.80 Black-tailed Godwits, plenty of Lapwings and c.10 Snipe there.
Small Skipper, Marshside sandworks, 05/08/12

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