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, 3 March 2013

North Wales wandering (again.....)

Steve Sweetnam called late last night and asked if I fancied birding today. Of course the answer was yes. So, early this morning Steve came round and picked me up and off we set for North Wales. The first port of call was to look for Black Grouse. Heading across the moors we heard numerous Red Grouse and after checking a couple of known sites we eventually found a group of ten lekking male Black Grouse against a distant hillside - a superb sight and sound, one of my favourites. Unfortunately the birds weren't close and it's simply not on to disturb this mega sensitive birds so I settled for some distant record shots.

Record shot of a male Black Grouse, Denbighshire, North Wales. 03/03/13.

Post lek we headed along the moorland road and parked up and watched a flock of Siskins feeding in larches. We bumped into a group of birders who asked us "have you seen the Shrike?", we replied "no, we're going for that later on", the answer to that was; "oh, there's one over on the hillside" Bonus! We enjoyed scope views of a fantastic, if distant, Great Grey Shrike and also saw another 18 Black Grouse. After the Shrike we headed off into Llangollen for breakfast, checking the the River Dee and seeing Dipper and a drake Mandarin before gladly filling our faces at the Cottage Cafe (highly recommended).

Dipper on the River Dee, Llangollen, North Wales. 03/03/13
Clocaenog forest called us and we met up with a host of birders who'd just seen Goshawks and despite a damn good try we failed to see any and low cloud moved in. The Great Grey Shrike that's been there for months decided to have a lie in so we decided to have a look at the Hawfinches up the road. Driving throught the forest we were amazed at the number of Ravens and watched Buzzards lazily flapping about, Fieldfares were in abundance and a lone Red Kite provided some excitement.
The drive to Llanbedr-y-cennin was brightened by several Goosanders on the Dee near Corwen and a heard of Bison in a field next to the A5. At Llanbedr-y-cennin we enjoyed banter with other birders and eventually saw five Hawfinches; ace big-billed rascals. For the last stop we decided on some duck action and made our way along the A55 to Llandulas. On Saturday a remarkable four Surf Scoters and 12 Velvet Scoters were recorded off there. Steve and I headed to the highest point on Station Road and began to scope the long black ribbon of scoters about 3/4 of a mile offshore. Steve did well and quickly picked up two drake Velvet Scoters and I quickly replied with a drake Surf Scoter, three more Velvets (two drakes and a duck) and a drake Long-tailed Duck amongst an estimated 15,800 Common Scoters. 190 Great Crested Grebes were also out in the bay, some displaying in the sunshine. Another decent day in the field, I'm grateful to Steve for his company and for picking me up; cheers!

1 comment:

  1. I've written a little article on our website called Bird Spotting Locations in North Wales. It would be great if more knowledgeable people, like yourself or your readers on here, could comment and perhaps add more locations in the Guest Book bit at the bottom. Thanks in advance.