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
Making a spectacle of yourself
Living in West Lancashire you can get used to wildlife spectacles! Whether it's the Whooper Swans and Pink-footed Geese during the winter at Martin Mere, the Marshside Black-tailed Godwits or the Banks Wigeon it's all great to see and I feel lucky to be able to experience it all so easily. One of the possibly overlooked spectacles on the Ribble estuary is the huge assemblages of shorebirds on the beach between Birkdale and Ainsdale during the summer months. This is a superb section of the Lancashire coastline. Yesterday Frank Whitney and I walked south down the beach from Weld Road car park and enjoyed a wonderful shorebird spectacle - the best the Ribble estuary can offer. 14,000 birds swirling around in huge cloulds and landing on the wet sand and scurrying off and probing to find food certainly is a spectacle worth making the effort to see. I recommend it. Do it while it's warm and the birds are still in there breeding finery.You won't regret it. Frank and I reckoned the most numerous waders were Dunlin (c.7000), then followed by Knot (c.3000), Sanderling (c.1500), Ringed Plover (c.1000) with 100's each of Oystercatcher, Bar-tailed Godwit and Grey Plover. Other birds noted included c.230 Sandwich Terns, 9 Common Terns, c.10 Gannets, adult Peregrine, female Kestrel, 48 Swifts (heading south) and a juv Wheatear (my first on the coast of the ornithological autumn). Two Grey Seals bobbing about offshore are always a pleasure to see and topped off a smashing beach walk.