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

Southport coast birding

Chris Hughes one of the Ribble RSPB volunteers and a Birdwatching and Beyond participant joined me at 8a.m. at Weld Rd car park this morning for the WeBS count. Brian Hopkins and Dave Fletcher also took up thier repective posts and we set off counting. It was a morning to keep moving - the icy wind soon cooling you down when standing. Huge wader flocks were travelling up and down the beach between Southport Pier and Ainsdale, Chris and I right in the thick of it. Chris enjoyed the various challenges that counting moving, hard to identify targets presents and he certainly gave a good account of himself - nice one Chris! 

Some good totals today with highlights being; 2270 Dunlin, 603 Sanderling, 11600 Knot, 2260 Bar-tailed Godwit,  1355 Oystercatcher, 253 Grey Plover, 36 Ringd Plover, 2 Jack Snipe & 6 Common Snipe. A pair of Red-breasted Mergansers and numerous Common Scoters offshore were good to see and both Brian and Dave saw a hunting Merlin, while  Dave also saw a pair of hunting Peregrines that Chris and I saw a single of. 68 Twite feeding along the top of the beach were a good end to a good, if cold, count.

Feeding Twite on the Green Beach, Birkdale. 10/03/13.
Straight after the count I nipped over to Steve Sweetnam's for a brew and bacon butty (that suddenly also had black pudding and a fried egg added......). Steve and I headed out to Marshside and quickly picked up a female Hen Harrier hunting over the saltmarsh, she alighted on the ground and disappeared from view and was joined by a male, who I only managed to get a brief view of.
Female Hen Harrier distantly over Marshside saltmarsh with the White Church at Fairhaven in the backgound. 10/03/13.
A female Stonechaton the sandworks was my first of the year, as was the Spoonbill feeding on Sutton's marsh. The reserve at Marshside really is a special place and the birding spectacle is superb at this time of year. Do try and visit if you've never been to this part of the Lancashire coast - I'll show you round.

Female Stonechat at Marshside 10/03/13.
Spoonbill showing full spoon at Marshside. 10/03/13
Steve and I searched for the Crossens Waxwings but didn't see them and then headed inland to check a heronry that I keep an eye on, 12 nests of which 7 had incubating birds that was good news. I dropped Steve off home and saw a couple of Grey Partridge and a flock of 85 Linnets on the way home. The final birding of the day was along Crabtree Lane, one of my regular dog walking routes - 48 Fieldfares,  14 Redwings  and a happy Labrador made that final effort worthwhile. A good day, I must do it all again soon.......

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