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

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August 1st, 2015

Backsbottom Farm

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Keeping Some Thistles for the Bees and Goldfinches

The camping barn field is full of diversity for wildlife Unidentified species of bumble bee

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July 30th, 2015

Backsbottom Farm

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Hen Harrier Day

Want to join in ? Why not check out the  Hen Harrier Day website. The day will be  highlighting the cause for concern of the decimation of the Hen Harrier–the Forest of Bowland’s iconic bird of prey logo. For our area here is the link https:…

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July 29th, 2015

Bea Ayling

Blog Post: Hen Harriers need YOUR help

Last week, I headed down to Bowland to meet the team involved in the LIFE project nest protection on the site. I was keen to meet them to hear their perspective on this season’s happenings. Much of the Forest of Bowland is designated as a Special protection Area as the Bowland Fells SPA (European importance), and this is primarily for its breeding Hen Harriers, with a designation of 12 breeding pairs. However, in recent years successful breeding pairs have been way below this number, with 2 pairs in 2014, and none in 2012 and 2013. Last season, two satellite tagged fledglings (Hope and Sky) also disappeared from Bowland after their tags failed to transmit . These tags are very reliable and it is high unlikely that this was due to technical difficulties, as this technology is considered very reliable. This year, five healthy adult male hen harriers went missing in England resulting in the failure of the nests they were provisioning. Four of these males where from the Bowland from the United Utilities (UU) estate: this is extremely unusual and the reasons for their disappearances are yet to be explained and police continue to appeal for information. A 2008 government-commissioned report by Natural England found that it was very unusual for male hen harriers to abandon an active nest in most places. However, it also found that nearly 7 out of 10 of the nesting attempts which failed on grouse moors, did so following the disappearance of an adult. Although this year’s nests were being watched 24/7 by our team of dedicated volunteers, it is nigh on impossible to follow and protect males who travel far and wide to hunt from the nest, leaving the female to care for and protect the eggs/chicks at the nest site. It’s sad to think that the loss of the 4 males at Bowland this year has resulted in the loss of so many potential hen harriers, indeed the team at Bowland were devastated by these disappearances, as were UU. I really feel the urgency now to raise awareness of the plight of the hen harrier. Luckily, through the LIFE Project we are able to satellite tag and track birds, giving them protection away from their nest sites, which should help provide evidence if any tagged birds go missing. Others feel the same! RSPB staff member Jenn Lane is bravely undertaking a bungee jump  on the 8 th August to help raise the profile of hen harriers. Please donate to her cause here: https://www.justgiving.com/Jennifer-Lane2/ . Funds raised will go towards the RSPB’s work on hen harriers High street cosmetics chain Lush is also getting involved. They campaigned in stores last year – and this year wants to follow it up in stores in the week of the Glorious Twelfth. Pop into your local store to find out more! Finally you can also do something too! Hen Harrier Day is on Sunday 9 th August and events are taking place across the UK, with the main event at the Goyt Valley in the Peak District. The more people we can get to come out to these events the better so we can gain more media coverage so people will take notice. Find out about your local event here: http://henharrierday.org/ See you there!

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July 27th, 2015

Elizabeth Louise Mills

Lidl wildflower mix

The border where we sowed a really cheap wildflower seed mix from Lidl is full of colour and life. As usual the ox-eye daisies are taking over the garden but I don’t mind as its my favourite flower and the bees and hoverflies love it. I have had a love…

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July 27th, 2015

Elizabeth Louise Mills

Ebb and Flo

Ebb and Flo left us on 27/06. They set off on a walk and refused to be turned back, we followed at a distance and they headed straight for one of the ponds, they even knew where there was a gap under the wire fence. There was already a female duck with…

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July 23rd, 2015

Chris Collett

Blog Post: First hen harriers tagged as part of the LIFE+ project

  Bea Ayling (Hen Harrier LIFE+ Project Manager) In June and July, a number of hen harrier chicks across England and Scotland were satellite tagged as part of the RSPB’s new Hen Harrier LIFE+ Project. The project seeks to better understand the movements of these magnificent birds to help identify areas where they are most at risk.. This need became particularly pertinent in the 2015 breeding season when 5 nests failed in northern England due to the well-publicised, unexplained disappearances of the healthy male adult birds. As the new Project Manager (covering for Blánaid while she is off enjoying her own brood), I am on tenterhooks to see how the 2015 breeding season pans out having started the role smack bang in the middle. I am particularly excited about being able to track our birds online!  A couple of the project’s satellite tagged birds will be made public here: http://www.rspb.org.uk/henharrierlife/ . The latest tag went on a female chick on the Isle of Man, named Hetty. It’ll be fascinating to see where she disperses to for the winter as hen harriers are known to range far and wide. Maybe she will encounter some of our other tagged birds across the sea in England and Scotland! Maps of her movements should be available on the website in the next few weeks. Hetty and her brother prior to ringing and tagging. Photo credit: John Hellowell I really hope that allowing the public to follow our tagged birds’ helps raise awareness and understanding of hen harriers, encouraging recognition that hen harriers are an intrinsic part of the UK’s uplands, and that we’re all responsible for their protection.  

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July 22nd, 2015

Cobden Farm Bed and Breakfast

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Cobden Farm Bed and Breakfast 2015-07-22 09:55:00

A meeting of our White Star hens.The question is: do they know they are all the same colour?We have lots of different coloured hens mixing and living together – ginger, black, black and gold, blue-grey.And the White Stars.There are four of these.And he…

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July 17th, 2015

Backsbottom Farm

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Pipistrelle Bats Going out for Dinner

Photo by Stefan

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July 16th, 2015

Cobden Farm Bed and Breakfast

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Cobden Farm Bed and Breakfast 2015-07-16 21:27:00

Bit late…but have finally uploaded these photos taken earlier round the farm…Haytime is here in June Bluebell wood coming on nicely behind the farmhouse (May)And more bluebells…When the daffodils were blooming around the pond (April)Missy ou…

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July 16th, 2015

Chris Collett

Blog Post: Jenn’s Big Bird Bungee Jump

On Saturday 8 August, RSPB staff member Jenn Lane is doing a bungee jump to raise money for hen harriers in Bowland. Here she explains why. Ever since I heard about the plight of the hen harrier, I’ve been keen to do my bit. My day job for the RSPB is working as an administrator in our Lancaster office, however, every year we get the chance to volunteer for a day elsewhere in the organisation. In June I used this opportunity to take part in a hen harrier nest watch in Bowland. Following the disappearances of four males from active nests, I was protecting the last remaining one in the area.  Seeing the pair hunt against the hillside was a moving experience and I realised the full extent of what these birds are up against.  I decided I really wanted to raise the profile of this wonderful bird and what better way to do it than jumping 300ft through the air.   Jenn Lane The RSPB is doing all it can to help the hen harrier breed successfully and thrive once again in the face of so many obstacles. Please donate to my JustGiving page today and help save hen harriers from the brink of extinction. https://www.justgiving.com/Jennifer-Lane2/

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July 6th, 2015

Backsbottom Farm

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Tree Trunks!

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July 4th, 2015

Backsbottom Farm

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Meadows in Roeburndale

It may sound obvious but 100 years ago Britain’s countryside was a very different place.
Back then it would have been awash with colourful flower-rich meadows and grasslands that were an intrinsic part of our agriculture and people’s daily lives.
The scale of the decline is breath-taking

Fast forward to today and over 97% of wildflower meadows have been lost since the 1930s, that’s a startling 7.5 million acres (3 million hectares). Species-rich grassland now only covers a mere 1% of the UK’s land area.
And what remains is mostly scattered fragments of just a few acres and vulnerable to disappearing under the plough. The seriousness and causes of the decline has been outlined in a report by the charity Plantlife.
According to the charity’s botanical specialist, Dr Trevor Dines, all that remain are just 26,000 acres (10,500 hectares) of lowland wildflower meadow and 2,223 acres (900 hectares) of upland hay meadow in the UK.
“The scale of the decline is breath-taking,” he says.
This loss of meadows and species-rich grasslands is without parallel in the history of nature conservation in the UK according to Save Our Magnificent Meadows, a partnership project led by the charity Plantlife to promote and protect our vanishing meadows.
They also say that in the UK, more priority species for conservation are associated with grasslands than with any other habitat type.
So to celebrate these now very rare and special spaces and to raise awareness of their striking decline, the first ever National Meadows Day is being held on Saturday 4 July.

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June 25th, 2015

Cobden Farm Bed and Breakfast

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Cobden Farm Bed and Breakfast 2015-06-25 21:55:00

Some people have only plants in their garden. Ours has a nest of eggs hiding under a bush. Thank you, cheeky hen. Perhaps she’ll hatch them.Cobden Farm B and B website

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June 22nd, 2015

Height Top Farm

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height top farm 2015-06-22 16:01:00

HEIGHT TOP FARM HOLIDAY COTTAGESKens little owl waiting patiently for his walk around our fields…………..and they’re off

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June 15th, 2015

Elizabeth Louise Mills

Macro moths

Barrie has got some extension tubes for his camera so he can take macro shots of our garden wildlife. We put the moth trap out Friday night and were really pleased to get some Elephant Hawkmoths, among many other moths.Elephant HawkmothBuff Ermine

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June 7th, 2015

Backsbottom Farm

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Hen Harriers

Desperate days as 5th male hen harrier ‘disappears’

A male hen harrier Another male hen harrier has ‘disappeared’ from an active nest – the 5th this year.
Three males vanished from nesting territories in Bowland in late April/early May (see here).
Another male vanished from its nesting territory on Geltsdale last week (see here).
And now the 5th – last seen on the United Utilities Estate in Bowland on 29th May (see here).
Is it shocking news? Yes, but not because we didn’t expect it. It’s shocking because the persecution of this species is so, so brazen.
It should now be clear (as if it hasn’t been for decades) that the people responsible, and the grouse-shooting industry that shields them, need to be brought to their knees.
We can all do that.
We must do that.
We will find a way to do that.
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June 4th, 2015

Elizabeth Louise Mills

Ebb and Flo

Our guests are soon going to be leaving us. In two weeks the change has been amazing we literally wake up to different ducks every day. They have got very bossy- they ran out of food in the pen (they eat a lot!) and they made sure we heard about it. Th…

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June 4th, 2015

Elizabeth Louise Mills

Bioblittz in the garden

Sort of bio blitzed our garden today ie walked around with a camera and photographed as many insects as I could. Not got round to identifying them all yet but amazed by the variety and how beautiful even the tiniest little fly can be. A patch of nettle…

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May 28th, 2015

Seaman

Comment on Wanted: Your thoughts on our new Skydancer film

Anything that draws attention to the plight of these fantastic birds,along with other raptors,must be welcomed with open arms.Our local club’s recording area covers a large part of the “Yorkshire black hole for raptors” and we worry every time we get …

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May 27th, 2015

Elizabeth Louise Mills

Growing up

Over the Bank holiday weekend Ebb and Flo’s adult plumage has come through, it started just below their wings and then on their shoulders and chests. Then spend ages in the pond ducking underwater – lots of down is floating on the surface. On the bank …

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Shireburne Park
Shireburne Park

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Mere Sands Wood

Mere Sands Wood is a wildlife-rich haven in the heart of agricultural west Lancashire. The reserve covers 42 hectares (105 acres) and is made up of lakes, mature broadleaved and conifer woodland, sandy, wet meadows and heaths. The management of the reserve is designed not only to encourage wildlife, but also to provide facilities for people to visit and enjoy seeing the wildlife. The site is nationally important for wildfowl and dragonflies, as well as its geology. Grid ref. (SD 42014)

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