Jeff Clarke Ecology

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By the dawn of the 10th March Australia had long receded from the aft deck view as Black Watch set course for a true ‘Wonder of the World’ in the shape of Komodo Island and its infamous dragons. We would have two full days crossing the Timor and Savu seas before reaching Komodo and I anticipated some good cetacean action once we hit the deeper waters. On the 10th there were plenty of birds to see, with over 100 Streaked Shearwater and a similar number of Sooty Terns being by far the dominant bird two species, but they never really came close enough to the ship for photography purposes. Flying fish were the most numerous living things and thousands scattered like starbursts as the ship’s bow wave pulsed through their bodies. Scour...
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As a wildlife speaker on cruise ships I have the good fortune to visit some of the best places on the planet for indulging my passion for nature. I also use the opportunities I get to pursue two of my personal goals, namely seeking out ‘tubenoses’, a specialised group of seabirds that includes shearwaters, petrels and albatrosses, as well as plying cetacean rich waters in the hope of spotting all the known species. Black Watch berthed in Sydney Feb 27th 2018 Click on images to view at full size. On this tour I joined the Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines ‘Black Watch’ in Sydney, for the 5th sector of its ‘Wonders of the Word’ circumnavigation, on the 27th Feb 2018. I was accompanied by my wife Adele, who shares my passion for dolphin ...
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After leaving the Amazon we powered north towards the delightful island of Tobago. During our second day at sea we enjoyed a multitude of seabirds most of which appeared to be attracted to the high concentrations of flying fish. We also had a few dolphin pods put in a an appearance including a group of at least 20 Pan-tropical Spotted Dolphins bow-riding. They appeared so suddenly I didn’t even bother to lift my camera. Flying Fish sp. off Guyana © Jeff Clarke Later on in the day we would see great concentrations of birds, mostly Audubon’s Shearwaters and Sooty Terns, some definitely had cetaceans below them but the views were to brief and distant for recognition. Frustratingly we also had a pod of large dolphin-like cetaceans no...
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We stayed in port overnight in Manaus and the following morning headed out with Marco Lima in a small group to the Museu de Amazonia. It was fiercely hot even by 9.45am in them morning, so it was no surprise that we struggled for birds. However, the climb up the top of the 60 metre tower overlooking the Amazon Forest was definitely worth the effort. Just to gaze in wonder of the vastness of the canopy was something truly special. A variety of Swift species zipped by our lofty perch and I was able to get the scope on a couple of Bat Falcon’s. Ian Appleton, Marco Lima & Jeff Clarke at Museo de Amazonia tower © Marco Lima This would be our last day with Marco, who would depart the ship today. What a great guy he is. We greatly a...
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After Santarem we continued our journey upriver and the following day we were tendered ashore for a few short hours in the town of Parintins, where we were greeted by an Orange-fronted Yellow-Finch and the ubiquitous Great Kiskadee. Birding options were few due to the brief time ashore, but at Marco Lima’s suggestion we took a tricycle ride out to a local park and an area of marshy ground bordered by some mango trees. Great Kiskadee & Orange-fronted Yellow-finch © Jeff Clarke Heat and humidity were very high and the sun was blinding so photography was always going to be limited, we did however manage a few additional species including Piratic Flycatcher and Yellow-browed Sparrow and Blue-Grey Tanager. Blue-grey Tanage...
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