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.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Flash of blue brilliance

Due to family commitments I spent the weekend in Hereford. The woods and hills around the city can be worth visiting in the spring and winter for some decent woodland birding, it's still a stronghold for birds such as Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and Marsh Tit. The Lugg and Wye valleys are home to some decent floodplains and a few gravel pits which attract migrant and wintering waterfowl. On Saturday I spent a couple of hours birding at Wellington gravel pits, just north of the city. Wellington turns up odds and sods, this year I've seen Osprey and Garganey there,  on Saturday I scanned all the waterfowl flocks and watched the hedgerows carefully for migration action. The migrant highlight was two male Yellow Wagtails overhead and calling with eight Pied Wagtails and 18 Meadow Pipits, the most numerous migrant was Swallow, I counted 185 through. Coot and Tufted Duck numbers are building up on the pits and I counted 28 Great Crested Grebes. A gull roost was made up exclusively of Lesser black backs, 144 of them. As I walked past one of the smaller pits, listening to a Chiffchaff, a flash of blue brilliance sped past me, fortunately I caught up with the Kingfisher and I managed a couple of dodgy didgyscoped shots (see below). Other highlights for me were eight Teal, a female Wigeon, twelve Buzzards, two Ravens and a Green Woodpecker.

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