Comment on The fortunes of England’s hen harriers in 2018

Please could you add Bob Eliott's blog ww2.rspb.org.uk/.../peregrine_2d00_persecution_2d00_filmed_2d00_bowland.aspx into this archive so it is automatically posted on the RSS feed for   www.bowlandwildlife.org.uk

Caterpillars and wasps

We seem to have had an invasion of butterflies recently particularly Large Whites and Small Whites and now they are munching their way through my nasturtiums which to be honest I sow to distract them from my vegetable plot, although the deer and voles have mainly eaten everything there apart from the courgettes, which Barrie says proves courgettes are inedible.Large White and Small White CaterpillarsTree Wasp and Greenbottle...

Growing Sweet Potatoes

I never had sweet potatoes until recently and when I found out how delicious they were in soups and roasted with other veg, I naturally wanted to grow some. Then I looked in the plant catalogues for plants and like my Dad before me on seeing what to me were ridiculous prices shrieked how much and decided to see if I could do it myself, ie grow plants from the tubers for sale in the shops to eat.My first attempts in early spring, at just cutting in half and suspending in jars of water using toothpicks rotted off. I then tried in bags of compost, again just rotted off. Then I read that the tubers sold in shops are treated with an inhibitor to stop them sprouting. So I then gave them a good scrub, and again suspended in jars of water and this time they sprouted. I'm not sure if its the scrubbing or the exceptional weather but one half at least...

Blog Post: The fortunes of England’s hen harriers in 2018

As the breeding season draws to a close, we take some time to reflect on the breeding success of hen harriers in England in 2018. Hen harrier numbers have been declining steadily in England over the past few decades. It is well known from independent research that the main reason for this decline is illegal killing of these birds associated with driven grouse moor management in northern England. Last year, hen harriers were very close to extinction as a breeding bird in England, with just three successful nests fledging 10 chicks in 2017, all in Northumberland. We were hopeful that this population would be bolstered when the birds we tagged in the Scottish borders, Marc and Manu , flew south into Durham and Northumberland respectively. However, this optimism was short lived and we were devastated to find that these birds suspiciously disap...

Blog Post: We Will Win

Today we have a guest blog from Dara McAnulty, the young Fermanagh naturalist , who reminds us that there's always something we can do to help hen harriers. I remember the first time I wittingly saw a raptor, I was five and I became entranced. The RSPB visited my school soon after to talk about red kites and the fascination grew into obsession. I constantly scanned the skies for a glimpse of majesty.   The hen harrier was the holy grail, but I didn’t catch my first encounter until I was 12. After that point, my life was irrevocably changed. It wasn’t just the beauty and sheer brilliance of flight engineering - it was the iconic nature of the species. It was a symbol of the desecration of our wildlife and our countryside.  I followed these birds through the seasons and rejoiced in their offspring and their ever giving wonder and joy....

Blog Post: Nos da to our tagged Welsh hen harrier: Lia’s journey is over

Hen Harrier LIFE Project Manager, Dr. Cathleen Thomas, shares the sad news of the loss of a second tagged hen harrier in Wales in suspicious circumstances. At this time of year, our Hen Harrier LIFE project team are very busy monitoring birds, protecting nests and satellite tagging juveniles. As we get caught up in the elation and optimism that a new generation of this rare bird brings, it was a timely reminder of their potential fates when we received the post mortem results for Lia, one of our Welsh hen harriers. Hen harriers were once widespread in Wales, but following a long history of illegal persecution and eventual extinction on mainland Britain as a breeding bird, the hen harrier finally came back to Wales in the 1950s. Since then, the Welsh population has slowly recovered, but it continues to vary greatly in size from year to year...

Comment on Six ways you can help hen harriers

Excellent. That's the way to do it! Please keep saying it at all opportunities. I have a petition with the Scottish Government going through the system about wildlife crime. I'm doing something, and I feel that the RSPB can always do more.

Blog Post: Six ways you can help hen harriers

Hen harriers are in trouble – that’s not news to anyone. The RSPB continues to urge the government to crack down on illegal persecution in the uplands in a bid to give these birds a chance to re-establish a stable population in England. But is there anything you, me, your friends and your family can do? Well, yes there is, and some of these things you can do right away. Together we can change the tide and stop illegal persecution. Picture credit: Jack Ashton-Booth 1) Attend a Hen Harrier Day event: Share your passion for these magnificent birds, hear talks and campaign for changes to help protect the future of hen harriers. 2) Sign up to Findlay's Thunderclap. Hen harrier campaigner extraordinaire Findlay Wilde is asking everyone who cares about these birds to sign up to a Thunderclap on social media. Sign up here and at 9.30am on 12 A...

Comment on More good hen harrier news in Bowland

This is incredible. I'm looking forward to the England result for the year (in terms of total Hen Harrier production). I just hope Natural England are not too involved. Congratulations to all who were involved.

Blog Post: More good hen harrier news in Bowland

Last month we reported that hen harriers had bred successfully for the first time in the Forest of Bowland since 2015, with two nests, both containing four chicks. Shortly after, the final egg on the second nest hatched very late, making it five.   Now we can reveal there is a third nest on the United Utilities Bowland estate, boasting four male chicks.   The third nest in Bowland. Photo: James Bray   As part of the RSPB’s EU-funded Hen Harrier LIFE project, we’ve fitted chicks in the nest with satellite tags so we’ll be watching their movements very closely during fledging and beyond.   We would like to send a big thank you to RSPB staff and volunteers, United Utilities and their tenants, and raptor workers who have all worked hard to protect all three nests, resulting in a successful season at the site.   ...

Derwent Inktense Pencils

Don't know why but watercolour pan paints always go mouldy on me. I bought myself some Derwent Inktense Pencils that are water soluble to see if they might be a substitute. I did a quick painting of a Tree Peony Flower today and I am reasonably happy with the result although I found it hard to mix enough colour at a time and with watercolour you need to work quickly so some hard edges have occurred and lifting the colour was starting to damage the paper....

Elizabeth Mills 2018-06-10 11:09:00

This is the time of year when often quite expansive areas of webs appear in some of our hedgerows. They are produced by species of small ermine moths who are seeking safety in numbers and also trying to disguise their prescence from anything that might like to eat them. I also imagine any bird trying to peck at them would get cobwebs stuck all over its plumage and beak.  The webs slowly disintegrate over the summer and usually the hedgerows recover. The adults can be found on the wing  later on and all are white or greyish with many small black dots, hence the ermine name....

Elizabeth Mills 2018-06-10 10:48:00

The dry spell we have been having has suited the climbing and shrub roses in the garden, most were inherited with the garden or bought from the "sick plant" sections at garden centres cheap ( usually just bone dry) so no labels. The peachy poppies papery petals (phew- glad I'm not saying that) look lovely in the sun against the fat pink spikes of the Bistort....

Blog Post: Hen harriers breed in Bowland

Recently, it’s been one bad news story after another on this blog with many reports of our satellite-tagged hen harriers disappearing in unexplained circumstances.  So, it makes a nice change to give you some good news. I’m delighted to report that, for the first time since 2015, there are hen harrier chicks at Bowland in Lancashire. RSPB wardens discovered two hen harrier nests on the United Utilities Bowland Estate in early spring and have been monitoring them closely ever since. The nests were visited recently by the wardens under licence who were delighted to find four healthy chicks in each of them.   One of the two hen harrier nests  with chicks in Bowland. Photo by M Demain A single male hen harrier is responsible for both of the nests and he is currently taking food regularly to them.  Bowland used to be known as England’...

Mark Avery on Forest of Bowland AONB Consultation

Please respond to Forest of Bowland AONB consultationMark ♦ May 18, 2018 ♦ 4 CommentThe Forest of Bowland AONB is consulting on its next 5-year plan for 2019-24.  They would like your views by a week today, 25 May.  It’s easy to fill in the short consultation form – takes about 5 minutes. Have a look at their last plan with its images of Hen Harriers and talk of natural beauty and how that means a lot more than just landscape – click here. There are very few questions, and most of them are a choice of boxes to tick, but questions 3 and 5 allow free text.  Here are my responses to those questions. Q3: Hen Harriers – though their numbers are dramatically depleted. This is, as your previous management plan states, ‘the iconic bird of prey of the area’ and yet in th...

Comment on Silent spring? Saorsa, Finn and Blue all suddenly disappear

The plight of our hen harriers is a national disgrace. The relentless persecution will not end until driven grouse shooting is consigned to the dustbin of history where it belongs. Then we can start to rebuild the shattered ecology of our uplands, and our national Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty can become what they were intended to be. ...

Comment on Silent spring? Saorsa, Finn and Blue all suddenly disappear

This is so sad. There can be little doubt as to the fate of these birds. As there is no risk of being caught and punished, the perpetrators do not seem to care that people who do care about these birds know what is happening.

Blog Post: Silent spring? Saorsa, Finn and Blue all suddenly disappear

Hen Harrier LIFE Project Manager, Dr. Cathleen Thomas, reports on the sudden disappearance of three tagged hen harriers in suspicious circumstances With the arrival of spring, we look forward to the warmer weather kickstarting the growth of new flowers as buds burst into life. Animals start to appear again, some rousing sleepily from their hibernation. We dust ourselves off after the long winter, ready for a summer of activity. Our hen harriers become more active too as they begin to move away from their winter roosts, making longer flights towards upland areas to scope out potential nesting sites, ready to pair up and raise a brood of their own. Here at the Hen Harrier LIFE project, we already have reports of skydancing males, pair bonding and nest building. We watch with anticipation to see if our tagged birds will settle and try to rai...