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, 16 December 2012

Swanning around the Ribble coast and wetlands

Due to various work and family commitments I've hardly been out recently. This morning I really felt the pull of the estuary and headed out at about 9.30. I was briefly distracted by a flock of Whooper Swans on the Burscough Moss side of Curlew lane. Due to the proximity of Martin Mere and it's feeding and roosting potential this area regularly holds good numbers of Whoopers in the winter; 324 were there this morning. I then headed over to the RSPB reserve at Hesketh Out Marsh and decided to have another look for the Bewick's Swans that some other local Ribble patchers have been seeing recently. Colin Bushell, Charlie Liggett and Nick Godden have all reported seeing some lately. Walking along the seawall I could hear a large flock of Swans towards Hundred End; I headed up there and duly found the flock and was able to spend some time counting them, 435 Whoopers, 22 Bewick's and seven Mutes. I'm always delighted to see the Bewick's, the decline of which has been well documented locally. An uncontrolled black Labrador unfortunately flushed the Swans causing Charlie to give me a ring to find out what has caused the flush (he was guiding a walk on the eastern bank); he'd seen a Peregrine. 525 Shelducks and c.350 Pink-footed Geese were feeding in the same general area as the Swans; c.300m form the main fracking base....

Other species noted on the RSPB reserve were a female Merlin, two female Kestrels, a Buzzard, four Little Egrets, seven Herons, 220 Mallard and 315 Wigeon. A decent morning, would have loved to stayed out longer but family duties called and that as that.

Bewick's Swans (six or seven?) mixed with Whooper Swans at Hundred End 16/12/12
Whooper Swans and Bewick's Swans heading towards Hesketh Bank 16/12/12
Whooper Swans flying over the seawall at Hesketh Out Marsh 16/12/12

No comments:

Post a Comment