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.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

RCP in the rain

Bank holiday Monday was typically wet and I'd found all manner of things to do before eventually deciding to go birding in the rain to Martin Mere at 4p.m. It's not a long journey for me to the mere; all of 1.5 miles, a three minute drive!

I headed to the Ron Barker hide and the rain had battered down large numbers of hirudines, c.180 Swallows and c.80 House Martins, who kep two Swifts company. With little else to look at I countd the Teal, 440 on Vinsons and Sunleys (I ended up with a total of 850 after I'd counted other areas). Also on Vinsons were five Black-tailed Godwits, c.30 Snipe, an eclipse drake Pintail and two Shoveler. During a brief dry spell a little raptor activity erupted; a Kestrel hovering, a juv Marsh Harrier drifitng and best of all a juv Hobby chasing Starlings on the farmland beyond Lord's Mere.

A vist to the Harrier hide produced 31 Gadwall and an adult female Red-crested Pochard (photo below) was busily feeding with Mallard and Gadwall on the Buttonweed infested peninsulas. One can only speculate regarding it's origins. Certainly not from Martin Mere, the staff rigorously implemtn a ringing and no escapre policy. It was fulll-winged and unringed, perhaps the same bird, in the same place as earlier in the year? The rain didn't stop and I headed home before the car park was locked.

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