Saturday, 9 August 2014

Hen Harrier Day and an Post Rally Update and BIRD FAIR NEWS

Sunday PM Update: Well the rally was somewhat wet but a great success!
Over 500 people turned up in torential rain and stood to listen to Chris Packham and Mark Avery. There should be coverage of the rally on TV (tonight) and in the papers tomorrow (and perhaps on breakfast TV too). (and on Mark's blog ). Some photos below.

Tomorrow (Sunday 10th) is Hen Harrier Day when people will gather at three locations in northern England to show their concerns for the plight of this bird which is all but extinct on English grouse moors (there should  be at least 250 pairs but illegal persecution keeps them excluded from their moorland home).
The Derbyshire gathering is at the top of ladybower Reservoir but the event is now 'full'.

So if you are not already booked to go, here's what you can do:
First read Mark Avery's blog to understand the background - scroll down a bit (but not that far!):

And second, if you are into social media, here are some options as set out by BAWC - Birders against Wildlife Crime, who originated the idea:

"If you can't make it to one of our events but would like to have your say and speak up for Hen Harriers...all you need is a smartphone or a computer, and maybe a camera and a willingness to take a 'selfie'!

Thunderclap: The groups organising Hen Harrier Day are co-ordinating a 'Thunderclap' — a method of using Twitter or Facebook to create an amplified message across social media. The message is sent out at the same time to all of the followers of the supporters who have signed up: in effect it explodes across social media like a thunderclap bursts across the sky. BAWC would like to thank the team who met (online) and discussed the message and timing of this campaign, and especially Naomi Rose of the RSPB who took the lead on creating it.
Twitter: Let's get #HenHarrierDay trending! If you'd like to show your support on Twitter please use the hashtag #HenHarrierDay when promoting or discussing Hen Harrier Day.
Twibbon: We've launched a Twibbon campaign for both Twitter and Facebook which, after just a few weeks, has attracted over 1000 users! Note that it is very easy to remove the Twibbon — just go back to the Twibbon website, find this campaign, and revoke permission for the Twibbon app to 'see' your account. Not sure what a twibbon is or why you might want one? Have a look at .
'Selfie': Yes, we know, 'selfies' (photos of yourself posted online) have a bit of poor reputation now (thanks all you Z-list celebs) but actually they are a great campaign tool. And if you can't make it to a Hen Harrier Day event, how about being part of the action without even having to leave your home. We've uploaded a 'We're Missing our Hen Harriers' poster and simple instructions to . It couldn't be easier. Please do read the T&Cs, though; we wouldn't want to use your image using our image without your consent”.

Nick B
Male hen harrier by Chris Baines
Photos from HHD in the Dark Peak District of Derbyshire
Chris Packham and Mark Avery

500 folk listen to Chris Packham (left foreground)
Today (the inglorious 12th) there's plenty of coverage of the grouse/harrier issue on the media.
Best videos of the day itself are on You Tube - just search for Hen Harrier Day or go to Chris Packham's website or Mark Avery's blog.
Incidentally, both Nicks were present in the rain (and played an active part in the preparations for the day) plus several other peregrines volunteers (Sue peregrino included) plus a large contingent from the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. Ian L was due to have motor biked over from Notts but the rain was just too impossible - the roads were deep in puddles everywhere.

BIRD FAIR at Rutland Water is this weekend - Friday, Saturday and Sunday 15-17 August .  If you have never been it is an experience for sure! Massive event!
I'm going on Saturday this time and hope to catch Ed Drewitt talking about his book Urban Peregrines at 1.30 in the author's marquee. There's so many stalls and events/talks it is always difficult to know which day to go on!


Sue Peregrino said...

Nick B, it wasn't a BIT wet, it was the wettest I have ever been, I was wet through all the way to my underwear and just starting to think about building an ark. Was it worth it ..... YES! I'm so proud to have been there. And yes, Mark Avery and Chris Packham and Barry Gardiner MP were all absolutely brilliant and very approachable. I just feel sad today, the "glorious" 12th. What's so glorious about exterminating the natural heritage that some of us value so highly. I've actually never seen a Hen Harrier and I'm angry that I probably never will because they will be extinct. Lets hope that the Derby peregrines don't go to the "Peak Bermuda Triangle" - the place where raptors enter but are never seen again.

Lorraine said...

Just woke up, so made a cuppa. A peek at the Cams shows another presence on the tower again tonight :) whilst reading the latest post's....

Well expressed Sue. But take heart, because it's due to the determination of folk like yourself, who, come rain or shine, go that extra mile in raising awareness and, where there was little hope, you have all now collectively raised the odds most favourably. As a result, one glorious day, you may yet witness the vision of a free flying Hen Harrier. A fitting reward for such a trooper!

I'd like to express gratitude to the "soggy" masses who weathered the event... may your spirit never be dampened!

Sue Peregrino said...

I'm no hero Lorraine. I leave that glory to Mark Avery and Chris Packham. It was Mark Avery's idea. I heard about about it orginally through comments on this website. The owners of the gathering site, Severn Trent Water, put a limit on how many people could turn up, so it was first come first served when asking for a place. It makes a lot more impact for Chris Packham to turn up than Mrs Sue Peregrino so THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU Chris Packham. What a super-hero he is. He's doing so much of late to actually try to get something done about the things that the silent majority are getting more and more angry about. Don't forget his efforts in Malta this spring migration time! For anyone who is into Twitter, look for #HenHarrierDay to catch up with news, there's even a super bit of video of Chris Packham giving an interview. Great stuff. AND he'll be at BirdFair, another incentive to encourage you all to think about attending. I'm going on the Friday, hoping to catch Chris Packham's keynote talk.
I've not actually seen the Derby peregrines for AGES, but see how much they're still doing for wildlife even when they're not there for me to look at. Derby Peregrines, top site, top birds!
As another off topic, I definitely think the swifts have gone now, Hurricane Bertha must have come as a horrible shock to them! Not sure if they're still at Oxford (or Derby)
Good grief Lorraine, I've just noticed when you woke up! So that's when I need to look to catch our Derby peregrines on camera then!

Lorraine said...

Heh heh!

Watched the Hen Harrier footage on YouTube - so many smiling faces !

The Derby peri's continue to sleep over on the tower on barmy nights with occasional visits during the day.

We have ordered a new shed from a local supplier, who makes them to order in his massive barn. When I called in to see progress 2 weeks ago, there were swifts nesting in both apex's at either end of the barn, busy feeding their youngsters and happily flying in and out above our heads. When the barn was refurbished, priority was given to ensure their long standing return. It was lovely.

I'll call in again when I pass en route to St.Dominic on Saturday and hopefully, if they are still there, I'll try and get a photo to place on an update.

Sue Peregrino said...

A certain Nick Moyes posted a tweet yesterday with video of Chris Packham giving an interview. A man wanders into the background and removes the FABULOUS model of a hen harrier made by the wonderful Finlay, a 13 year old boy. Nick has captioned it "Blimey! Was that a gamekeeper taking the last Hen Harrier from right behind @ChrisGPackham's back? #HenHarrierDay" It's really hilarious, I hope you found it!
It seems most swifts have indeed departed, but the Oxford webcam does still show some stragglers. Gosh, I hope they make it, they're leaving it late.

linda said...

Someone on the tower this am. I always look when i drive past the Cathedral or Jury's- no-one about this am, but someone is basking on the corbels this am.

Sue Peregrino said...

Hey Linda, take care on your drive-by's .... birding and driving are tricky things to combine. I know just what you mean though as hometown Aylesbury birds live on a tower block just at the side of a busy roundabout that I often drive through. So I am guilty of saying do as I say, not as I do! :)
Incidentally, had a great Friday at Birdfair, Ed Drewitt gave a great illustrated talk about urban peregrines and Derby deservedly got lots of mentions.

Lorraine said...

Glad Birdfair went well Sue.

Talking also of bird watching, whilst driving, there were massive ques over the Tamar Bridge today, with holiday traffic both leaving and entering Cornwall. The crawling backlog found me quite happily watching a young buzzard circling low above the roadside. I was most reluctant to move forward and leave it behind! Lovely markings on it.

I think It's the handsome Mr.T himself, presently gracing the scrape ledge tonight.

Incidently, I called into that wood barn where I thought I'd identified nesting swifts. Now better informed about swifts in general, I found that they are in fact swallows, as suspected by Nick, who kindly sent me a great link, showing handy identification of swifts, swallows and martins.

I pinned down the owner and he told me that the swallows ( up to four individual nests ) have returned every year since 1959 !! He reckons they will be around the barn for about another week yet.

Soooo, I can add another three species to my little growing list of bird identification. Slowly, slowly, by the time I'm retired to St.Dominic and in my dotage, I should be quite the little village know-it-all!
Hope they call me "the mad bird lady"
Can't wait!

Sue Peregrino said...

It strikes me that it's mostly males who like to tick things off lists, but I guess I have a bit of a "Life List" going, as you seem to have. It wasn't so many years ago that peregrine falcon was added to my list and Derby was the place I saw it. A whopping great big tick was added at the start of this year to my life list with BITTERN. Woo hoo. The big ambition is to add bearded tit but no luck so far. The Hen Harrier thing has been poignant because I don't have that tick and the way things have been going, looks like they'll go extinct in our country before I do :(
Re swifts/swallows/martins, the thing with swifts is that in our country they nest right inside buildings and once established are completely site loyal. Juveniles don't find a home in our new builds because we're such efficient builders now, no little cracks and nooks and crannies to get in. When an old building hosting swifts is destroyed or has its roof space renovated, swifts are totally site loyal, they can't or won't find a new place. Sounds like the swallows are loyal too, how fabulous that they've been going to that barn for so many years. It must say "summer" to that barn owner. I have swifts in a box at my home and they've not gone yet whereas many have. Surely they must go soon?

Lorraine said...

Maybe it's all down to that mysterious aspect of all birds - a pure instinctive urge, unknown to us and perhaps related to localized weather conditions, that will suddenly trigger each birds departure. As the Derby Project draws me ever more into the world of birds, the more my sheer amazement and respect grows. Such ancient, clever creatures for sure.

Two rascals on the cams just now. Think it's an adult on the scrape and a juvie on the tower ledge.

Anonymous said...

Saw what I think was Mr. & Mrs. P in scrape at 8a.m., much 'chirriping' between two, he flew off, then she was nest building again and briefly settling down as if to brood.

Is this normal behaviour, seem to remember something like this happened in other years but can't remember reason why?

Been a terrific year for the family, with the youngsters still reluctant to leave home - guess they are still honing their learning skills from their magnificent parents.

Lorraine said...

Well I never !
I see what you mean anon. On Cam 3 the nesting side of the scrape looks very clean and tidy compared to the other side and yes, there is a definite hollow showing in the gravel. Surely they aren't contemplating another brood ?

Any info or link about this behaviour would be most interesting.

No birds on view at present - so will tune in again later. A juvie stayed over on the tower gargoyle all night last night.

Helen said...

I seem to recall that head bowing and nest scraping etc isn't that unusual at this time of year. I think it's part of the bonding process between the adult birds once the juveniles have fledged.

Helen said...

More head bowing taking place between the adult birds on the platform this evening, followed by some scraping in the gravel. No sign of any juveniles at the moment.

Anonymous said...

Many thanks Helen for your reminder about the bonding process.

Just seen the same thing once more. You'd think after all these years of being together, and successfully rearing so many young, that they were well and truly "bonded"!

Joking aside, I can understand the head bowing etc. but still wonder why falcon feels the need to nest build/brood. Lovely to see them together though and either adult or juvie on scrape at night. - I'm a 'night owl' too Lorraine!

Linda said...

Hi All, have you seen this re the Hen Harriers:

Just seen it on the BBC website. See the scrape is still visited often by Mr and Mrs P and family.

Lorraine said...

Hi Linda - thanks for the link alert - it's such great news about the discovered nest of Hen Harrier chicks.

Linda said...

Welcome :-) Saw 2 of the Peregrines on Jury's Inn lettering yesterday. There are traffic lights just below there so often glance up on approach and if sitting there have a look. Hope they all fare well over the winter. See 2 of Norwich's fledglings have died. Hope our 3 are good.

Lorraine said...

Just watched the falcon have a good preen on the scrape edge. She then hopped along to the nest side and scraped out her hollow. She started calling to the tiercel flying above who landed with a fresh catch. Sadly, the falcon flew off and left the tiercel to process and eat his catch alone, which he's now consuming in earnest!

Lorraine said...

Not very clear, but here's a BP image of the tiercel with the catch he's presently tucking into on the scrape.