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, 19 January 2014

Wonderful WeBS day

As I was driving across the moos to the count site this morning I was distracted by a spindly legend jogger - it was my old mucker Sinesy.  I pulled over and he mentioned an funny animal he'd seen dead on the pavement up the road.  We set off to look for it and duly found and particularly we'll rotted and rancid medium sized mustelid.  We had a good look at it and concluded it was a Mink - have a look at the photo and see what you think.

Rancid Mink? Or some other rotting mustelid?

I dropped Jim off and headed across New Cut Lane counting 180 Whooper Swans on the moss there,  couldn't stop though - waders to count.

It was truly beautiful weather today on the Lancashire Coast at Birkdale; I'm not using the dodgy 1970s rebranding " The Sefton Coast", either the Lancashire Coast or Southport Coast for me! Anyway, little wind, no rain and warm sunshine makes for good WeBS counting weather and also good weather for locals to get out and about walking dogs.  

Chris Hughes joined me on my BIrkdale sector and Dave Fletcher headed towards Southport Pier and Brian Hopkins took care of AInsdale.  A group of 60 PInk-footed Geese on the rapidly expanding green beach were typical of a growing trend and a male Stonechat was good to see. 

Chris and I headed south along the beach enjoying the warm sunshine in our faces and enjoyed watching the growing wader roost we were tasked to count.  Count we did,  the following totals adding to an enjoyable walk;  Dunlin 5130,  Knot 2780,  Sanderling 173, Grey Plover 374,  Bar-tailed Godwit 230 and Oystercatcher 745. No Cormorants was a major surprise give the regular four figure counts over the past couple of winters, but I did notice reports of big numbers in the RIbble counted on the Fylde side by Stephen Dunstan recently. A Merlin blasted through putting all the waders up and I was pleased to see a couple of dog walkers show real restraint and stop their dogs charging through the flocks - made a nice change.

One of the dog walkers leaving the wader roost alone today

Waders coming into the roost thick  and fast


Post counting I drove Marshside and regretted not being able to marvel at the water bird spectacle (I see Chris Fyles had two drake Hen Harriers there this afternoon),  I felt the same way as I drove down Fish Lane noticing thousands of PInk-feet on Tarlscough Moss - can't count everything or look through every flock through eh? This did remind me though what a bird rich are I'm in the middle of; I wouldn't swap it for anywhere in the world.

Headed out again with the family this afternoon and took a walk down Southport Pier. Lovely. 

from Southport Pier looking south

Pier tram

Mrs C and the rascals

Marine Lake bridge

Looking towards Marshside from the Pier

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