Jeff Clarke Ecology

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Updates and photos from around the world on my travels both through pleasure and work

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Uist {yoogallery src=[/images/stories/blog/uist]} All images unless otherwise stated © Jeff Clarke 2012 In recent weeks I've been fortunate enough to visit some scenically spectacular places. None more so than the Islands of North and South Uist, Benbecula and Berneray. I spent a week there co-leading an FSC Holiday with my old friend Martyn Jamieson. We had a lovely group of 11 people with us and enjoyed showing them everything from leaping Common Dolphins to 'krecking' Corncrakes, rare bumblebees, orchid filled coastal grasslands. What follows is not a poem but just few of the observations made in the bewitching Western Isles. Ice crystals strewn across a vast wind-ripped sky,silver dappled wavelets lapping on the pristine shoreThe 'Hea...
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Rock Nightmares! {yoogallery src=[/images/stories/blog/rocknightmares]} All images unless otherwise stated © Jeff Clarke 2012 One of the fun things about turning over rocks is the frisson of uncertainty you get from never being 100% sure if the creature that resides below is capable of expressing its annoyance at having the roof lifted of its abode by indulging in a bout of physical retaliation. Even veterans of the pastime sometimes get a little jumpy when you uncover something with a potent bite, or sting.Whilst Co-leading a wildife tour in Grazalema with Teresa Farino we managed to reveal some fearsome invertebrates capable of getting your instant respect and a degree of circumspection in your approach due to their impressive weaponry. A...
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Blissful Blue {yoogallery src=[/images/stories/blog/blissfulblue]} All images unless otherwise stated © Jeff Clarke 2012 There can be few more pleasant places to be in the world than the British Countryside on a perfect day in May and better still when it extends over long weekend. I worked for most of it but I can't complain as it involved showing various groups of people our wonderful birdlife. It began on Friday evening, under the azure sky that persited the whole weekend, at Budby Common where a small group of my adult education folk joined me to explore this extensive heathland in North Notts. We missed out on the Nightjar, perhaps we were a few days early, but we had close encounters with other classic heathland birds, including parac...
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Reptile Tales from Andalucia {yoogallery src=[/images/stories/blog/Grazalemareptiles]} All images unless otherwise stated © Jeff Clarke 2012 Southern Spain is richly endowed with a reptilian fauna but some of them still require dedication and skill to winkle out. My recent tour of the Sierra de Grazalema area in partnership with Teresa Farino of Iberian Wildlife Tours provided an opportunity to get to grips with some of this regions hidden 'herptiles'. To get the best out of such tour possibilities it helps to have equally enthusiastic and experienced reptile hunters among the clients and on this trip we were fortunate to have a veritable zealot in the form of Alan Harrison, whose stone turning inclinations seemed boundless and who by dint ...
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A Day at the Priory {yoogallery src=[/images/stories/blog/npmuseum]} All images unless otherwise stated © Jeff Clarke 2012 I spent a thoroughly enjoyable, on Sunday 3rd March, running a Ladybird Workshop for Norton Priory Museum and Gardens in Runcorn. Despite the poor weather at the start of the day, basically cold, wet and blustery, most of the folks booked on to the event turned up and following a morning dedicated to honing their ID skills, we set off into the grounds and surrounding area to find and identify as many ladybirds as possible.By far the most abundant species was the Harlequin, followed by the 7-spot. The third most abundant ladybird of the day was something of a surprise, the tiny and definitely inconspicuous Rhyzobius chry...
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