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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Some places draw you back time and again. Such a place is Kaikoura in New Zealand. The town itself is great and has a laid back, environmentally conscious, vibe. The setting is special too but what draws me back is the wealth of ocean-going wildlife. You can engage with it in a whole variety of ways but my personal favourite is via Encounter Kaikoura. They get me, and thousands like me, intimately acquainted with albatrosses and numerous other species of tubenose as well as giving me the opportunity to get in the water with the local Dusky Dolphins. For a seabird and cetacean nut like me what could be sweeter? A view of the Seaward Kaikoura range from the Albatross Encounter boat All images © Jeff Clarke 2015 ( Click on the image...
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I love my encounters with nature, from the small scale and regular to the big ticket events. Some days stand out for a particular moment, some for the variety of encounters and then you get those rare days when it all comes together. Such was my much anticipated pelagic trip into the Hauraki Gulf with Pterodrdoma Pelagics led by Chris Gaskin. A ten hour pelagic on a relatively small vessel is a daunting prospect, especially if you are a martyr to sea-sickness, thankfully I had taken the magical Kaikoura Cracker and the benign conditions ensured a comfortable trip. The main danger was sunburn.  We had barely left the harbour at Sandspit when we got out first close look at a Little Blue Penguin. However we couldn’t linger, the pl...
©All text and images copyright Jeff Clarke 2015
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On the 20th September I joined the Fred. Olsen MS Boudicca at Newcastle (accompanied by my wife Adele) as a Guest Speaker. The cruise tour would take us out to the Azores in the Mid Atlantic, followed by Madeira, then onward to the canaries and then back up to Newcastle via the Portuguese coastline. Click the images to get a larger view Boudicca in Newcastle The prospect of so many sea-days; crossing some of the best cetacean waters on the planet, plus the chance of encountering migrating seabirds was too tempting to resist. As we proceeded out of Newcastle and down the North Sea the first of many  Northern Gannets ghosted alongside the ship, some being harried by Great Skuas but the first real highlight was an unidentif...
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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...
©All images and text © Jeff Clarke
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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 ...
©All images and text © Jeff Clarke
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