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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All images in this blog are copyright © Jeff Clarke 2021 Click on the image to view at full size.  After a sixteen-month hiatus courtesy of COVID-19, I finally got back out on the ocean. I had the good fortune to be selected as a guest speaker on Fred Olsen’s new ship ‘Borealis’, on one of her first outings. Our original itinerary to Shetland and Orkney had been scuppered when a certain person in Holyrood decreed that folk from Greater Manchester were ‘unclean’. And so it was that we found ourselves setting out from Liverpool on a southerly trajectory instead. It was a lovely calm evening and Deck 6 forward on Borealis provides an ideal platform for searching out cetaceans and seabirds. The waters here are exceptionally shallow...
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Click on images to view at full size. In my previous blog I discussed my fascination with albatrosses, but alongside that I also have a deep affinity for cetaceans, and I’ve spent the best part of the past two decades in pursuit of encounters with these aquatic mammals. As someone with a tendency to gravitate toward rocky headlands on the extremities of this sceptred isle I have enjoyed numerous encounters, albeit mostly distant, with many a cetacean over the years. Despite my best efforts my species list remained remarkably small, just three species, consisting of Harbour Porpoise, Common Bottlenose Dolphin and Short-beaked Common Dolphin. Whales eluded me completely. Short-beaked common dolphin off Cornwall © Jeff Clar...
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Anyone who has ever met me knows that I am generally an enthusiastic person and I get very passionate about things. Sometimes these passions are short-lived – let’s never again mention my, thankfully brief, interlude as a teenage plane-spotter – and some sustain over the longer term. I’ve been mad keen on nature my whole life and this is where most of my passions are rooted. Like most naturalists, my initial introduction to nature was through birds and butterflies, and my fascination with birds has never wavered over five decades. I am not immune to the desire to see new species, but some of my most desired seemed unobtainable, mainly because my financial resources are not bottomless. Albatrosses had always captured my imagination a...
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All the images in this blog were taken during the trip. Click on an image to display at full size. After a frantic ecology survey season, combined with the stresses of Covid-19, I was more than ready for a short break and a chance for some wildlife photography. We decided that the West Coast of Scotland would be the destination, and in particular, the dominion of the Eagle, the Isle of Mull, followed by the wild landscapes of the north-west coast around Gairloch, Wester Ross. I had three photographic targets in mind – Eagles (White-Tailed and Golden), Otters and hopefully, Minke Whale. We arrived on Mull on the 26th September and within the hour we had seen White-tailed Eagle, Golden Eagle and Bottlenose Dolphins. Sadly, no phot...
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Sky Full of Egrets All the images in this blog were taken during the trip. Click on an image to display at full size. In the early hours of the 10th January I stepped aboard MV Boudicca, one of my favourite ships, in the Queensland city of Cairns. It would be the start of an adventure to explore a part of the world with a special appeal. The ship would be making 3 stops in one of the remotest parts of the planet, Papua New Guinea, it would also call in at the equally magical island of Komodo on route to Bali. As usual I was able to bring a companion along for the ride and on this occasion it was my good friend Laura Dennis, a fellow Ecologist and birder. We had a few hours ashore in Cairns before the usual speaker responsibi...
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