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, 21 January 2013

Beans for dinner

I worked at Slimbridge much of today, setting off at 5.30 a.m. and arriving at 8.15 a.m., very little traffic. The work was taken up with admin and then a long meeting. At dinner time fresh air beckoned and Marshy (Paul Marshall; WWT web manager and top birder/Naturetrek tour guide) and I called Slimbridge reserve warden Martin McGill to get info on a couple of Tundra Bean Geese a visitor had recently found. Martin duly obliged with information on the birds, he'd seen one earlier in the moring, so Marshy and I set off walking along the towpath of the Sharpness canal looking for  geese. A flock of c.30 Eurasian White-fronted Geese didn't seem to have a bean amongst them, however a couple of birders alerted us to the fact that one of the beans was indeed there. So, we checked again and a first winter Tundra Bean Geese was quickly 'in the bag'. The other birders mentioned that some more geese were in fields further up the towpath, so off we trudged. Seeing as I was scopeless Marshy did the scoping honours and quickly picked up the second Tundra Ben Goose, a fine adult. As Marshy commented nothing better that Anser gees in the snow. We reckoned on their being about 150 Eurasian White-fronts, along with several Bewick's Swans, hedgerow birds included Siskins, Redpolls and Redwings. It was great catching up with Marshy we reminisced about birding tours we'd guided to Lesvo, Mallorca and Florida together and discussed the possibility of guiding more trips in the future. I hope so, nothing I like more than good company and good birding (along with an Everton win. Come on blues......).

Dodgyscoped shot of a very distant adult Tundra Bean Goose with Eurasian White-fronted Geese near to WWT Slimbridge. 21/01/13.
Falcon's tower with the Forest of Dean in the backgound at WWT Slimbridge. In winter 82/84 I saw a Red-breasted Goose in a flock of c.2000 White-fronts from Falcon's tower (since closed and condemed); those were the days!
Marshy showing well

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