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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From the 5th-12th March 2015 I joined Teresa Farino of Iberian Wildlife Tours to assist her by co-leading a tour to Tenerife and La Gomera in the Canary Islands. We had a great group of clients, most of whom were serious botanists in their own right, who were there to benefit from Teresa's prodigious botanical knowledge of the regions flora. My job was to help find the non-botanical interest. Islands are natural hotspots for endemism and the Canaries are particularly rich in that department, especially when it comes to the higher plants. However they also have their share of special endemic birds, reptiles and even mammals and this tour provided me with the opportunity to observe a number of them at first hand. The Canaries comprise sev...
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As I cast my eye at the weather forecast a small window of opportunity beckoned. I fired up the jalopy and headed for the delights of...Fleetwood, or should I say delight? Fleetwood has little to commend it, save for the fact that it marks the south-western point of Morecambe Bay. Though this is a bit rich coming from a guy who's home town's best asset is the fact it is easy to get out of. My target was a small stretch of shingle encrusted shoreline known as Rossall Point, a noted haunt of waders and wildfowl, it also has a damned impressive tower hide leaning out into the estuary. Just to be perverse my camera would however be pointed at a passerine (or two). As I scanned the strandline for my quarry I spotted a small knot of birders ...
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A window in the diary is a rare thing and definitely not to be wasted. A quick check on the weather forecast for Monday 24th November, sunny! Time to get the camera out. A quick phone call to my mates Ian and Danny meant that an hour later we were set for a rendezvous at Flamborough. Our arrival at the B&B in Bempton coincided with a stupendous night sky with the Milky Way on full show. As promised the sun duly rose above the North Sea and we started the day with a seawatch. The predicted North-Westerly was in fact due West. No Little Auks today, but there were plenty of compensations in the form of twelve or more Harbour Porpoise and a Short-eared Owl we picked up in-coming from about 4 miles out. We then headed for South Landi...
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ORCADIAN RHYTHM Touchdown in Malaga! As the majority of the Cheshire Mammal Group posse disembarked the flight hopes were riding high. We crammed our luggage into the two hire cars and realised there was no space left for passengers. Mmm... this was going to be interesting! The drive was not without its moments. I for one will never forget that the word for insulin in Spanish is insulina and how the addition of that one letter renders what you are saying completely unintelligible to a Spanish Doctor and his multitude of clinical practitioners. Panic over we approached our destination and discovered the track down to the villa was having a fiesta of potholes. Three passengers were ejected to allow the luggage laden jalop...
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The last week of March and the only gap in my diary represented an opportunity to combine research and reward. A recce to Extremedura in preparation for future guided wildlife trips, a chance to photograph some stellar species, combined with a bit of boys banter, held much promise. Extremadura is a much vaunted wildlife destination and this short jaunt justified that claim.

I made the trip in company of Messrs Ian Appleton, Anthony Brandreth and Daniel Pegg and we based ourselves at Torrejon el Rubio just a short distance from the fabled Monfragüe National Park.

©Jeff Clarke 2014
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