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, 10 March 2013

Saved by the Owl

Saturday morning was filled with optimism, a walk along Crabtree Lane produced 44 Tree Sparrows, 9 Corn Buntings, hundreds of Pink-footed Geese and a flock of Redwings. This optimisim carried through on the train to Kirkdale, the walk to Goodison and being sat in the main stand. 35 minutes into the F.A. cup tie and all optimisim had vanished without trace - I stuck it to the end and trudged back to Kirkdale where I bumped into my old WWT colleague/birding buddy Charlie Liggett. Charlie and I enjoyed a good old chat on the train and I dropped him off in Croston, less weary and with green shoots of optimisim returning. Ruth and the lads had gone down to Hereford for the weekend, so I decided to nip up the road to Martin Mere for a spot of  late afternoon birding. I really enjoy the evening roost flights at Martin Mere and I wasn't disappointed as 640 Whooper Swans on the mere were joined by incoming groups, ending with a total of 905. Skeins of Pink-footed Geese flighted in with 1840 counted. On the mere 19 Cormorants, 84 Oystercatchers, 660 Shelducks,175 Greylag Geese, 69 Ruff and 43 Pochards caught my eye. As the light faded I rushed over to Miller's Bridge to  check the gull roost; 4300 Black-headed Gulls were joined by 5 Lesser Black Backs and a single Common Gull, 52 Avocets tried and failed to hide themselves amongst the gulls. A pair of Redshanks, a pair of Ringed Plovers and 5 Black-tailed Godwits were noted, but a hunting Barn Owl stole the show, raised my spirits and restored my lust for life. Is there a more beautiful sight than a hunting Barn Owl at dusk?

Barn Owl from Miller's Bridge at Martin Mere. 10/03/13.

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