Bowland and It’s Lack of Raptors © Mark Avery

Guest blog – Bowland and its lack of raptors by Terry PickfordMark ♦ June 24, 2016 ♦ 17 CommentsTerry ringing peregrine chicks Forest of BowlandI have been involved with monitoring and protecting raptors, in particular the Peregrine beginning 1967, when the North West Raptor Group was established, then only 7 active territories remained in the North West England. In the 1980s I located the first ground nesting pair of Peregrines close to the A6 on Shap. Field work began in 1974 in the Forest of Bowland when in April of that year Paul Stott, a founder member of the NWRG, discovered the first Peregrine nest in Bowland containing a single abandoned egg. In 1947 this same territory was known to be the only occupied Peregrine site existing in this moorland region following the end of the Second World War. The 1947 nest contain...

Those Awkward Hen Harriers © Mark Avery

Mark ♦ August 14, 2016 ♦ 27 CommentsPhoto: Gordon YatesOK let’s get back to Hen Harriers.  Aren’t they lovely?Those who have been defending or promoting driven grouse shooting find Hen Harriers difficult to talk about.  It will be interesting to see how much utter tripe some MPs may come up with in the debate we expect to see over the future of driven grouse shooting.  As an MP, you can get away with saying almost anything in parliament but you can’t get away with saying it secretly or erasing the account of your saying it. Any MP who misrepresents the facts about Hen Harriers in a debate on the future of driven grouse shooting should expect to be swamped by letters from her or his constituents afterwards.In all modesty, you will find Chapter 1 of Inglorious a good guide to the biology and status of the ...

Hen Harrier missing over…guess what?…a grouse moor © Mark Avery

Mark ♦ August 18, 2016 ♦ 4 Comments The RSPB announced today that a young male Hen Harrier, fitted with a satellite transmitter as part of the Hen Harrier LIFE+ Project, has gone missing on a grouse moor in the Monadhliath Mountains, south-east of Inverness. The bird, named Elwood, was the only chick to fledge from a nest in Banffshire, which was being monitored under the Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime Scotland ‘Heads-up for Harriers’ scheme. The transmitter’s data, being monitored by RSPB staff, indicated that Elwood fledged in the first week of July, but stayed close to the nest site in the hills above the River Spey until 20 July, when he began to travel more widely. By the 27 July, Elwood had moved 20 miles to the south west, and had settled in the hills around Tomatin. Elwood remaine...

The grouse shooters aim to kill: the first casualty is the truth © George Monbiot

Their campaign against the RSPB is a shameful example of ‘astroturfing’. The public should beware  ‘Grouse are cosseted at the expense of other life forms. Predators must be eliminated.’ Photograph: Danny Lawson/PAThis is how, in a democracy, you win when you are outnumbered: you purchase the results. It’s how politics now works. The very rich throw money at the parties, lobby groups and thinktanks that project their demands. If they are clever, they keep their names out of it.Here’s an example: a campaign fronted by the former England cricket captain Sir Ian Botham, called You Forgot the Birds. It appears to have two purposes: to bring down the RSPB – the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds – and to get the natural history presenter Chris Packham sacked from the BBC.It likes to present itself as “... a...

Hen Harrier Day © Treshnish Wildlife Diary

Protest in comfort   The Forest of Bowland is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and used to be the last stronghold of the Hen Harrier in England. When you drive into the area you are welcomed by a sign illustrated with a Hen Harrier (alternative sign here and a wag has made a point with this one). The symbol is is now quite ironic and a continual reminder of the embarrassing fact that there are now no Hen Harriers breeding in the Forest of Bowland. The Hen Harriers used to breed on North West Water / United Utilities land and recently not at all on the estate owned by Gerald Grosvenor, one of the richest people in the UK and who some people refer to as the Duke of Westminster. Incidentally but not co-incidentally there were also no Peregrines breeding on the Forest of Bowland this year and as Terry Pickford writes, ...

Hen Harrier Day

Hen Harrier Day – overviewHen Harrier Day: Sunday August 10th 2014   Hen Harrier Day was initiated by Birders Against Wildlife Crime (BAWC), and organised and coordinated by a coalition of BAWC, former RSPB Conservation Director and leading activist Mark Avery, broadcaster and conservationist Chris Packham, the country’s leading wildlife charity the RSPB, and the North West Raptor Protection Group.Hen Harrier Day attracted support from a wide selection of organisations and activists, including the Wildlife Trusts, the National Trust, the Hawk and Owl Trust, the League Against Cruel Sports, the Peak District National Park, South West Peregrine Group, Birdwatch magazine, Rare Bird Alert, Bird Information, Birdguides, Welsh Ornithological Society and Quaker Concern for Animals.And of course we can also add a huge following of supporte...
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Bowland Brewery Subjected to Hate Campaign

Bowland Brewery subjected to hate campaign for supporting hen harriers By RaptorPersecutionUK 94 Comments Categories: News and Opinion Tags: hen harrier Earlier this year, the Bowland Brewery in Lancashire committed to donate a proportion of the proceeds from the sale of its Hen Harrier beer to the RSPB’s hen harrier conservation projects (see press statement here). James Warburton, owner of Bowland Brewery said: “The hen harrier is a living symbol of Bowland Brewery’s intimate connection with the landscape where we produce our beers. The very real prospect that this beautiful bird of prey may disappear from the skies above the Forest of Bowland is unthinkable. That’s why we are committing to donate a significant sum of money each year to safeguard the future of one of Bowland’...

RSPB

RSPB walks away from Hen Harrier Action Plan By RaptorPersecutionUK 27 Comments Categories: News and Opinion Tags: hen harrier The RSPB has decided to ‘withdraw its support for DEFRA’s Hen Harrier Action Plan’. See Conservation Director Martin Harper’s blog here for the full explanation. This is very welcome news – well done RSPB! Some will say the RSPB should never have supported it in the first place (and we’d be in that camp). The Hen Harrier Action Plan was never a plan to help hen harriers, even though it was dressed up as such. What it actually was/is, is a plan to help remove hen harriers from driven grouse moors so that there are more red grouse available to be shot by wealthy gunmen (see here). Others will say that the RSPB has played a clever game by init...
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Beer and Birds

Bowland Brewery Joins Forces With RSPB To Bring Britain’s Most Endangered Bird Of Prey Back From The BrinkIn March 2016 Bowland Brewery entered into a partnership with the RSPB to help reverse the dramatic decline in breeding hen harriers.Our flagship beer: Hen Harrier, was inspired by these iconic raptors, whose breeding stronghold lies in the Forest of Bowland, where the brewery was first established.The hen harrier is also the symbol of the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – an increasingly popular destination for nature-loving tourists which has traditionally played host to several breeding pairs of these majestic birds. But the hen harrier is in trouble. This beautiful bird of prey was once widespread throughout Engla...
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Restoring the Ford over the Roeburn

The river Roeburn ford on the farm was washed away during the floods in December. Luckily, one of our neighbour's runs an environmental ground works business and in no time at all has restored the crossing. Hope you enjoy the video that Rod made as much as Robert did digging. ...

Peregrines in the Forest of Bowland

UPDATE: Peregrines in the Forest of Bowland finally brought down by prejudice and misguided politics Update 26-03-2016 : The list gets longer Based upon information received last night, we are currently investigating claims sent to us by a concerned Bowland raptor worker that our list of sites was missing 3 peregrine territories he believes are also abandoned. We have now checked out one of these sites and the information has proved valid. Any subsequent additional abandoned sites we are able to verify will be added in RED to our existing list. Any sites discovered to have been reoccupied this season will be changed to GREEN. We would like to think our treatment of wildlife has improved since 1947 when the first recorded pair of breeding Peregrine falcons located in the Forest of Bowland were shot and their clutch of 4 eggs...

Hen Harriers on Bowland © Raptor Politics

What surprises await our threatened raptors on red grouse moors in 2016?Will the 2016 breeding season be worse or better for ‘protected raptors like the hen harrier and peregrine that have the misfortune to venture onto moorland in northern England where red grouse are shot for sport? We would like to think the situation will improve this season, but we remain pessimistic based upon last year’s disappearances of hen harriers and peregrines from areas classified as SSSi’s and SPA’s in Lancashire’s Forest of Bowland and at Geltsdale in the northern Pennines. The lack of any contingency plans for dealing with last season’s hen harrier catastrophe was unfortunate and hopefully the mistakes made will not be repeated once again for a second season.This depiction of a hen harrier remains the proud logo for the Forest of Bowlan...

Flooding and Solutions

The recent devastating floods have highlighted some problems with land management . Here, Rod    Everett's article, describes causes and possible natural solutions where we work with, rather than        against, nature.                                                                                                                                                                      &n...