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, 7 April 2013

Ducking out of Easter Sunday

I managed to get out on Easter Sunday and headed to Bodenham Lake nature reserve (halfway between Hereford and Leominster). Redwings, Fieldfares, Redpolls, Siskins and a yaffling Green Woodpecker initially brightened things up on this freezing cold and dull day. I set off insearch of Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and failed so  scoped the ducks on the lake counting 10 Goldeneye, c.30 Teal and 52 Eurasian Wigeon. I noticed an odd looking female Wigeon floating about in the flock, I only had distant views and managed some record shots of what I'm convinced was a female American Wigeon - I shall probably not submit a description seeing as I didn't see its greater coverts of axillaries for clinching the ID, but I'm happy it was one and Phil Whittaker, another visiting birder, also saw the bird a couple of times.

Female American Wigeon, Bodenham Lake Nature Reserve, Herefordshire. 31/03/13.

Female American Wigeon (left) and female Eurasian Wigeon (right), Bodenham Lake Nature Reserve, Herefordshire. 31/03/13.

Anyway, I had to get back to Hereford for Easter Sunday lunch and left the bird. I came back later and had more poor views. I bumped into Paul Downes (he of CCC fame....) and we had another look before heading off to Wellington gravel pits. At Wellington we had good views of the drake Lesser Scaup Paul had found a couple of weeks earlier and also managed to see two drake and a duck Garganey hiding on one of the 'hidden' pits (I'd managed to see both these species late of Good Friday too). Otherwise things were quite with just a couple of Chiffchaffs representing spring migrants, although 74 Shovelers was a good count.

Drake Lesser Scaup, Wellington Gravel Pits, Herefordshire. 31/03/13.

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