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.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Happy New Year at Edinburgh Zoo

The family and I visited Edinburgh 1-3 January for a change of scenery and to do a bit of Panda spotting. None of us had been to Edinburgh before and none of us had seen a Panda in the flesh. All dead excited despite some of the negative comments about the Pandas from supposed conservation 'experts'. You can debate the politics of Pandas in zoos all you lie but their is nothing like seeing one in the flesh! 

Excited family about to meet the Pandas

Some shots of the Edinburgh Giant Pandas. Not great quality - taken through glass I'm afraid

The Pandas were a delight to see and wooed the assembled crowds. Superb. 

The other species the kids were keen to see was Koala. I'd been fortunate to see wild Koalas in the wild near Melbourne a few years back and with little likelihood of us all going to Australia anytime soon it was a good opportunity to see the Eucalyptus munching rascals. 

A decent shot of a Koalas bum. Just wasn't up for facing the camera. 

The think that Edinburgh Zoo was famous for when I was a kid was Penguins. They keep three species nowadays; King, Gentoo and Rockhopper. The numerous visitors appeared to enjoy these most engaging of birds and the zoo have certainly recognised this by investing in Penguin Rock - a bespoke facility for captive management and exhibit. 

King Penguin

Trio of King Penguins

Rockhopper Penguin

Rockhopper Penguin

Gentoo Penguins

Leucistic Gentoo Penguin known as snowflake

Snowflake and 'normal' pal

Feeding time


Gentoo taking a swim


Plenty of other animals to see at Edinburgh zoo, I'll blog some pics of the other inhabitants separately 

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