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.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Funny ducks, funny day

Nipped down the road to Martin Mere again today for work reasons. I had a chat with a couple of the staff about a neurotic crowned-crane and a young flamingo. Generally all good though. I took a couple snaps while I wandered around, while doing so I noticed a familiar hybrids duck that I've seen on Southport Marine lake a couple of time and also at Martin Mere earlier this winter. He's a funny looking beast and I'm certain he's a mallard x red-crested pochard hybrid. 

Drake mallard x red-crested pochard hybrid (free-flying and not of WWT origin) Martin Mere 14/01/14. 

Captive drake bufflehead. My favourite duck species, beautiful, tiny and full of character. I've seen them in the USA a few times. 

Juvenile drake comb duck (captive, Martin Mere).

Grey crowned-crane (captive, Martin Mere).

As usual when I'm at Martin Mere I nipped into the Infocus shop to say hello to Andy Bunting and get the up to date reserve info. Andy was otherwise engaged but it was a pleasure to bump into Chris Galvin from Opticron (top man - a birding Evertonian!) who was demonstrating a new Opticron product - a tiny ED zoom scope. I had a look at it and I have to say I was very impressed. Do take a look when you're next in Infocus. 

Chris Galvin showing off his brilliant new Opticron product. 

I finished my duties at Martin Mere and headed over to Mere Sands Wood for a lunchtime walk, adding pied wagtail, great black-backed gull and chiffchaff to the Patchwork Challenge year list. Plenty of goosanders, gadwalls and over 400 teal present so a pleasant walk. Also had nice views of nuthatch, some of the other common woodland birds and a cracking Dandie Dinmont Terrier (dog year list now on 59) 

Nuthatch at Mere Sands Wood. 14/01/14. 

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