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, 9 December 2012

Bleak but worthwhile

Sean and Kim Ashton and I met at a bleak Marshside pre-dawn to count the Ribble Pink-footed Goose roost. It was a little disappoining as the usual numbers weren't out on the river and we settled for the odds and ends roosting on the RSPB reserve, with a few more on the saltmarsh and c.800 that we later discovered further up the NNR on Banks marsh; our total was 3457. Banks marsh held c.25,000 Wigeon, most of them close in on the splashes and that's always worth getting out early for. Whooper Swans were a feature this morning, with 28 on the NNR; 307 at Hundred End; 265 at Windmill farm and 190 on Burscough Moss.

Kim and Sean headed to Martin Mere where they were delighted to see the obliging Woodcock in front of the Janet Kear hide. I nipped in there later on as Kim and Sean were leaving, and managed to see the Woodcock again, pretty much where it was yesterday, hunkered down a bramble patch. A male and female Brambling were visiting the feeders in front of the hide, interesting to see that they were both ringed; presumably a result of the fine work the South West Lancashire ringing group were doing at the recent North West Birdwatching festival on site. Lots of Whooper Swans on the mere, I estimated 800.

Counters have been sending me Pink-footed Goose counts throught the day; Nick Godden and Jean Roberts counted 20,300 at Pilling; Graham Stirzaker counted 3650 on the Wyre (seven Eurasian White-fronts there too); Tom Clare counted 9950 at Martin Mere (most of these seemed to be feeding near my house in Burscough early this afternoon); and lastly Dave Mallett counted 110 off Hightown on Taylor's bank. The counts for Simonswood, Cocker's Dyke, Low Meadows will get to me in the week and I'll publish the counts in due course.

Male Brambling on the feeders in front of Janet Kear hide at Martin Mere today.

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