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.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Afternoon delight

A potter around the local lanes this afternoon turned out to be productive. Five wheatears in ploughed  fields along Mere Lane followed by 77 white wagtails, 10 pied wagtails, a yellow wagtail and another wheatear along Cross Meanygate. Blackcap, chiffchaff and nuthatch singing in the small copses provided a truly spring like soundtrack.

                                             Female wheatear

An initial visit to Lathom farm (on Meadow Lane) produced a copulating pair of oystercatchers, grey partridges and a singing yellowhammer, a singing blackcap and sand martin over. A look further up Meadow Lane produced seven wheatears, two hunting barn owls, a pair of ravens and a pair of curlews.

                                                    Barn owl
On the way home another quick look over Lathom farm from the Eller Brook bridge revealed eight wheatears on the field immediately to the south.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Spring sprung

As I fed my chickens at home this morning a pair of bullfinches plaintively called and a goldcrest squeaked out it's high-pitched song in the trees down the back. The longer days and sunshine seem to have things geed up a  little; even if an overflying skein of pink-footed geese were a reminder of winter. 

The daily dog walk along Red Cat Lane was enjoyed with a backdrop of corn bunting and yellowhammer singing and tree sparrows chipping in the hawthorn hedgerows. 

I visited Latom Farm (just up the road) to help with conservation projects there and the place was a joy with bright sunshine and azure sky. Displaying lapwings and squabbling oystercatchers are always fun to watch and a snipe, grey partridges and red-legged partridges were also there today. Great to see so much lesser celandine flowering (photo below) on the Eller Brook flood bank - presumably good news for early emerging bumblebees. 

One of the conservation projects has been the creation of a wildlife pond (see below with Jacob and Samuel inspecting); hopefully lapwings will bring their chicks to feed there later in the spring. 

In the early evening sunshine I managed a walk at the other end of Eller Brook at another private site that's managed with wildlife in mind; Scutchers Acres. Highlights there were singing chiffchaff, nuthatch, goldcrest, treecreeper, coal tit and a pair of kingfishers zooming along the brook - a wonderful end to a lovely spring day. 

The Eller Brook looking good in the sun

Moss in the sunshine at Scutchers Acres

Early spring canopy at Scutchers Acres

Monday, 23 March 2015

A short video of a nuthatch at its nest hole on an oak tree at Crabtree Hill in the Forest of Dean on 22nd March 2015.