Below are aggregated posts from various wildlife blogs created by people within the Forest of Bowland ( accept no responsibility for any content not created directly by

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November 23rd, 2015

Backsbottom Farm

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Rod’s Film on Biodiversity

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November 19th, 2015

Bea Ayling

Blog Post: Why do hen harriers skydance?

Watch one of nature’s most awe-inspiring spectacles — the hen harrier’s skydance — and learn more about their breeding behaviour in this short video. Keep your eyes peeled when visiting the British uplands in the spring and you could be lucky enough to see this for yourself! (Please visit the site to view this video)

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November 13th, 2015

Elizabeth Louise Mills

Nostoc commune

On paths and lawns you might notice something that looks like a green jelly fungus. It loves warm wet weather, paths and poorly drained compacted lawns. I think my photograph is of Nostoc commune, a type of cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria have been around…

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November 11th, 2015

Elizabeth Louise Mills

For Armistice Day

In Remembrance.

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November 5th, 2015

Elizabeth Louise Mills

Fungi foraging

Even though I’m too wussy to ever eat any fungi I find, I still love going out in autumn looking for them. I think it’s their weird shapes and strange habits that I like, seeing something growing straight out of a decaying tree or a bright spot amongst…

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November 2nd, 2015

Elizabeth Louise Mills

Foggy November 1st

Beautiful evening walk and treated to an amazing natural spectacle as the fog rolled in to fill the valley below us creating an almost primeval scene. Felt like we were stood on the edge of a giant sea loch. Unforgettable. Even the sheep were quiet.

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November 1st, 2015

Cobden Farm Bed and Breakfast

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Cobden Farm Bed and Breakfast 2015-11-01 16:12:00

Stunning Autumn colours in Sabden Valley, behind the farmhouse, this year.Cobden Farm B and B website

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November 1st, 2015

Cobden Farm Bed and Breakfast

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Cobden Farm Bed and Breakfast 2015-11-01 16:10:00

Hundreds of Canada geese have been flying east…and west… above Sabden this weekendCobden Farm B and B website

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October 30th, 2015

Backsbottom Farm

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Land Art on the Roeburn by Richard Schilling

This Autumn the River Roeburn was visited by Richard Schilling who left these wonderful sculptures Richard’s sculpture of leaves and rocks down near the quarry (photo Rod Everett)(Photo Rod Everett)The fast flowing Roeburn under the gorge (photo Rod …

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October 25th, 2015

Elizabeth Louise Mills

Alder Flea Beetle

Walking in Dunsop Valley we noticed quite considerable damage to Alder leaves, caused I think be Alder flea beetles.

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October 25th, 2015

Elizabeth Louise Mills

Elizabeth Mills 2015-10-25 16:18:00

Most of the trees still have their leaves though a big gust brings down lots of golden “pennies from heaven”. The young cock pheasants are perfectly colour co-ordinated with the season in their rich new plumage and spend their days squaring up to each …

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October 16th, 2015

Bea Ayling

Blog Post: Meet Holly and Chance

Today, we are proud to introduce to you Holly and Chance, two satellite tagged hen harriers that you can now follow online! Our new ‘Meet the Hen Harriers’ feature on the LIFE Project website ( ) has been set up to feature some of the birds that we are satellite tagging through the project. We are tracking as many hen harriers as we can in order to gain a better understanding of the threats they face and identify the places they are most at risk since numbers have declined dramatically, due to intensive moorland management for grouse shooting and illegal persecution. Satellite tagging also allows us to locate and recover dead harriers in a timely manner which will assist the police and our Investigations Team in cases where the cause of death is suspicious.   More and more individuals will be added as the project progresses, and we hope the public will get involved in their life stories. Already Holly and Chance have been displaying some fascinating migration behaviour! “Holly”, the first female harrier, had her satellite tag fitted in June this year by members of the Scottish Raptor Study Group, assisted by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) Police, and was one of three chicks from a nest located on high security MOD land at Coulport. She was named after a member of the production crew from BBC Scotland’s Landward programme, after appearing in a special feature about hen harriers and the threats these birds face from illegal killing. Holly fledged in August and has since left her nest area, moving east into the uplands by Loch Lomond and central Scotland. Holly on tagging day. Photo credit: John Simpson. “Chance” is the second female hen harrier, named by RSPB Scotland, who was tagged in June last year by members of the Scottish Raptor Study Group. Chance has provided a wonderful example of how young birds spend their first year. She travelled south from her nest in south west Scotland to the RSPB Wallasea reserve in Essex at the end of October (2014), before crossing the Channel to spend the winter months in the Pays de la Loire region of western France. Chance came back to the UK in spring this year and spent most of the summer in north east England. She has now embarked on her second migration to France, stopping in Wales en route! Chance – photographed at Wallasea last October by Trevor Oakley The maps will be updated every two weeks, showing data two weeks in arrears so that the birds’ exact locations cannot be determined for their safety. Keep tuned!

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October 7th, 2015

Elizabeth Louise Mills

Leighton Moss

We had a lovely day out at Leighton Moss. We haven’t been for ages so it was interesting seeing the improvements being made which were highlighted on Countryfile. Its easy when you are surrounded on all sides by the dense reedbeds to not quite be able …

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October 7th, 2015

Elizabeth Louise Mills

Pear Rust

I noticed these bright red blotches on a Conference Pear and a William Pear in a friends garden, when I turned over the leaves there were gall like outgrowths on the underside. A quick web search identified it as pear rust caused by the fungus Gymnospo…

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October 6th, 2015

Backsbottom Farm

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Chris Packham on Hen Harriers

We’re passionate about the plight of Hen Harriers, particularly in the Forest of Bowland,where we live. They are at dangerously low levels, close to extinction in England due to persecution. Watch here for Chris Packham’s brilliant speech on Hen Harrie…

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October 2nd, 2015

Elizabeth Louise Mills


While I was sketching some pine cones something scuttled out and went between the leaves of my sketchbook. It was a tiny pseudoscorpion. They live in leaf litter and inject other tiny creatures with paralyzing venom delivered from their tiny pincers an…

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September 14th, 2015

Bea Ayling

Blog Post: Hen Harrier talk at RSPB AGM

Guest blog by Jeff Knott, Head of Nature Policy The last time I gave a talk on hen harriers at an RSPB event, it finished with me and a colleague ripping our clothes off on stage. I suppose it’s not surprising I’ve not been let anywhere near a stage since! But after what I can only presume is a collective bout of amnesia in the events team, I’ll be back talking about hen harriers at the RSPB AGM and Members’ Day on Saturday 10th October at the QEII Centre, London. You can book your place online here . While I’ll certainly be covering the ongoing plight of one of our most threatened birds of prey and the pernicious effect of illegal persecution, the talk will also be focusing on the reasons we can be positive and why I honestly believe we will save our hen harriers. I can’t tell you too much more detail right now. We’re busy preparing things at the moment and I wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise, but I can promise it will definitely be memorable – we’ve got a trick or two up our sleeves that should make it unique. I’ll again be joined by a glamorous colleague and I doubt what we have planned has ever been attempted at Members’ Day. I promise to keep my clothes on this time though. Probably. No more details for now…If you want to see what we have planned, you’ll just have to be there .

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September 9th, 2015

Bea Ayling

Blog Post: We’re hiring for hen harriers!

The LIFE+ Project is advertising two Community Engagement Officer posts, based in northern England and Edinburgh. We are looking for two self-motivated, inspirational people with excellent communication and interpersonal skills to deliver school and college workshops and field trips, community group talks and attend community events. We want to engage with the shooting and land-owning communities communities across the seven key Special Protection Areas (SPAs) for hen harriers in northern England and southern and eastern Scotland that the project focuses on – a large geographic area! The aim of the roles is to raise awareness of the habitat, ecology and threats to the hen harrier as well as the measures to protect these amazing, but declining birds of prey.  For more information, and to apply, please visit:

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September 4th, 2015

Bea Ayling

Blog Post: Sad news from the Isle of Man…

Back in July, we blogged about Hetty, a young hen harrier on the Isle of Man, satellite tagged as part of the LIFE project with Manx Birdlife. Unfortunately we have some sad news to report. Transmissions from her tag showed our Investigations Team that she had stopped moving and so they went out to the Isle of Man this week to look for her. Sadly, as expected, she had not survived, and was found only 2km from her nest site. We cannot speculate about the cause of death at this stage, but her body had been heavily predated. Her remains have been sent for post mortem and we are anxiously waiting for the results. This case highlights the potential hardship hen harriers face trying to survive alone when newly fledged from the nest, whether that is difficulty finding food or avoiding adverse weather, predation or illegal persecution. Any hen harrier making it to adulthood to breed is a feat of endurance. Luckily in this case, we had the technology in place to allow us to find Hetty and investigate the reasons for death. We will share the results in due course. We’d like to thank Lesley Cowin who named the bird in memory of her late father Sydney Cowin who bequeathed an amount of money to the local charitable trust, the Society for the Preservation of the Manx Countryside (SPMC) which part funded the costs of the satellite tagging procedure, and we hope we can work with Manx Birdlife again next year. We’d hoped to feature Hetty’s movements on the LIFE Project website, alongside some other birds tagged this year. This has been delayed because we have been waiting for the birds to move away from the areas where their nests were. We think we should be good to go in a couple of weeks, and we look forward to sharing the travels of these fantastic birds. Watch this space…!

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August 22nd, 2015

Backsbottom Farm

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Hen Harrier Day

Not many people will know that the Hen Harrier is critically endangered with approximately 4 breeding pairs in England and slightly more in double figures in Scotland. To highlight the plight of this beautiful bird, many Hen Harrier days took place aro…

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