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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The Big Push {yoogallery src=[/images/stories/blog/bigpush]} All images unless otherwise stated © Jeff Clarke 2011 On Saturday 15th October I left my house well before dawn. The starry sky promised to turn into a stunningly blue autumn day. I arrived in a Hale village as the first glimmers of dawn were stealing over the eastern horizon. I headed for the watchpoint and the flitting forms of Blackbirds, uttering the odd "chuck" and minor alarm call, suggested there had been a significant arrival overnight. This was a good omen for the planned migration watch. After a  twenty minute hike I reached my favourite Hale Head Watchpoint and prepared for what I hoped would be a momentus migration of birds through the peninsula. I was joined by R...
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Water Water Everywhere {yoogallery src=[/images/stories/blog/waterwater]} All images unless otherwise stated © Jeff Clarke 2011 What a day of contrasts this turned out to be. First thing this morning I set about photographing a ladybird 'first for Cheshire', a wee tiny thing called Rhyzobius chrysomeliodes, only to see it flip out of the specimen tube as I uncorked it and disappear somewhere, never to be seen again.I then set off for Parkgate Marsh, on the Wirral, to run a birdwatching session for an adult education group. It was a stunningly warm and beautiful day; not good for high tide birding at Parkgate. I arrived early and decided to tap a few bushes around the car park, to try and add a few dots to the maps for the forthcoming ladybi...
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Image conscious {yoogallery src=[/images/stories/blog/imcon]} All images unless otherwise stated © Jeff Clarke 2011 In recent days I've been busy with the Dot2Dot ladybird project for RECORD. The Local Biological Record Centre for Cheshire. The purpose of the project is to engage Cheshire primary school children in locating and identifying ladybirds, so that we can add records to the distribution maps. This project will contribute to the forthcoming 'Provisional Atlas of Cheshire Ladybirds' which I'm just beginning to write and hope to complete over the winter.As part of the process I'm starting to try and get some better images of the ladybirds of Cheshire. I'm getting a bit frustrated with the quality of my images. I've got good gear, Can...
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A Few Days in Spain {yoogallery src=[/images/stories/blog/NESPAIN]} All images unless otherwise stated © Jeff Clarke 2011 I returned earlier today from a short sojourn to NE Spain; part of a research trip and forward planning for Co-leading a university trip in April 2012. My companion for the trip was Paul Hill, a fellow ecologist, owner of Bioquip and first and foremost a naturalist. We enjoyed superb weather, at times too good, with temps in the mid 30's Celsius and blue sky's. This gave us plenty of time to indulge in a bit of opportunistic photography. We had a pretty lucky few days and the pictures above give you a flavour of what NE Spain has to offer, though I failed to get shots of the many Nightjars we had feeding around us at our...
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The Unexpected Invert {yoogallery src=[/images/stories/blog/inanis]} All images unless otherwise stated © Jeff Clarke 2011 You never know when a new species is going to come your way. Admittedly if you study invertebrates the odds that you will find something different are rather better than if you only ever record birds, or mammals. On Saturday 20th August I was leading a 'Bumblebee and Bugs' walk for the Friends of Runcorn Hill when one of our party, David Watmore, potted a fly and brought it across for me to identify. It was obviously a hoverfly, a large one at that. I suspected that it was a Volucella species and wondered if it was Volucella zonaria. I retained the specimen and took it home for further ID. I consulted my copy of Stubbs ...
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