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, 3 September 2012

Golden time

Mrs C went back to work today after six weeks off and young Samuel went to nursery. Jacob doesn't go back until Wednesday, so he and I hung out on the Ribble today enjoying a mixture of cycling, birding, playing on the beach and visiting relatives.

We started off at RSPB Hesketh Out Marsh, which was quicker to get to than usual, thanks to the newly tarmaced access track (except the last bit which still has a few holes to catch out the unwary). Four juvenile Marsh Harriers were on show, two hunting over the marsh and two thermaling and heading towards the Fylde. Other raptors seen were two Buzzards, a Sparrowhawk and five Kestrels. At least three Yellow Wagtails headed over and Jacob enjoyed learning the calls of Greenshank (four present) and Green Sandpiper (one calling in the inland ditches). A Raven cronking overhead caused some questions and comment; "Dad is that Huggin or Munnin?" and "let's check your tattoo and see which one it is". The Raven headed off inland and was ignored by the 28 Carrion Crows on the reserve.

Over at Old Hollow we counted 270 Golden Plovers (see photo below of one there today), 680 Wigeon, 640 Teal and an Avocet. A juvenile Merlin and a juvenile Peregrine flushed the waterfowl, creating a smashing spectacle for my youngster to enjoy.

Jacob enjoying Hesketh Out Marsh.
We had our bikes on the back of the car and parked up at Marshside and cycled up to Southport pier. Scanning out to sea we could see numerous, distant flocks of Common Scoters heading north out in Liverpool Bay, heading towards Blackpool. I estimated 5500 Scoters, difficult to get an accurate count given the distance and shimmer. As Jacob played on the beach, on a dropping tide, clouds of flying waders changed shaped and began to land on the shore, I counted c.3600 Knot.
After the beach we cycled back to Marshside to visit my Uncle and Aunt for a brew. Post brew we headed for the seawall and counted 46 Pink-footed Geese and nine Little Egrets on Sutton's marsh and marvelled at the wheeling flocks of Black-tailed Godwits. Definitely golden time. Priceless.
Some of the 46 Pink-footed Geese that have been on Sutton's marsh for the past three days.

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