Sunday, 9 August 2015

Hen Harrier Day 2015...and a peregrine flies over!

Today has been Hen Harrier Day 2015, a gathering of many hundreds of people in the Goyt Valley of North West Derbyshire to raise the level of awareness about the illegal killing of birds of prey, and in particular the Hen Harrier, on our moorlands.
The Hen Harrier day crowd assembles in the Goyt Valley
Organised by Birders Against Wildlife Crime (BAWC), a small voluntary group, the event was supported by the RSPB, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and our own peregrine project, among many others.
Speakers represented DWT and RSPB  - and even our project was given an honourable mention as one of many that have raised awareness of raptors and brought these fine birds to a new audience.
The keynote speaker was Chris Packham who spoke with verve, passion and total commitment. Videos of his speech will doubtless appear on You Tube early next week.
(Meanwhile, to see last year's torrential rain and the gathering of the 'sodden 570' and to hear Chris speak go here . It certainly was a day to remember!)

Chris Packham speaks with knowledge and conviction,
watched over by a huge model harrier
The previous evening in Buxton Chris had spoken without any notes for over 25 minutes to a crowd of 300 people, the highlight of an evening of films, talks and drama all about the hen harrier and birds of prey.
Earlier, Turner Prize winning artist Jeremy Deller talked about the thinking behind his iconic image of a hen harrier carrying a Range Rover:

What a great weekend!
It was good to see some people from our peregrine volunteer group among the crowd. After all, this protest was about the persecution of all raptors on the moors, including peregrines.
Apparently a real live peregrine did fly over the assembled throng mid way through proceedings and certainly the same or another bird was seen over the moorland behind when people were dispersing.
Quite apart from raising the profile of this important issue, Hen Harrier Day is a great coming together of like minded people from all over the county (and far beyond) and from many different conservation groups.
We really do need to work together to tackle issues like this.
While our Derby peregrines appear to be reasonably safe from persecution, certainly while they are in the city, the same cannot be said for peregrines that choose to nest on grouse moors...their lives are usually short - and very far from sweet!

Nick B (DWT)


Helen said...

There's a great interview with Chris Packham recorded prior to today's Hen Harrier Day. Chris talks to Charlie Moores from Birders Against Wildlife Crime -
Very pleased to have been able to attend today's event. An inspiring day!

Heather said...

Glad to hear the Hen Harrier Day was such a success and thank goodness the weather was a vast improvement on last year. I would loved to have attended but it was my only grandson's first birthday - he's flown here from abroad on a different kind of "bird" but already loves animals and hopefully will be part of a more enlightened next generation.

Chris Packham does a marvellous job raising awareness about the cruelty towards all types of birds, including the killing of birds around the world in countries like Malta and the netting of migrating songbirds. The cuckoo also killed for food which I remember used to be such a common sound in my childhood but sadly rarely heard anymore.

Has anyone any news of our juvies, apart from our 'large' lady occasionally spotted on tower and MrP again preferring the pigeon's nest to the scrape?

Lorraine said...

Ta for link Helen :)
What a great turn out! Thank heaven for these wonderful people, who's dedication is so very much appreciated. It's such a sadness that cowardice, greed and ego can bring a species to it's knees, and it makes me upset to realise I actually harbour feelings of hatred for those responsible, but alas, I'm afraid I do. The older I get, the more I despair, but, with the ceaseless determination of Chris Packham and the like, I retain HOPE - and no one can take a pot shot at that!

Heather, I also would love to hear news of the juvies, so hope any local sightings will be reported as and when. They were SUCH a feisty bunch this year weren't they! There's a murky presence on the tower again tonight, but can't tell if it's a juvie or Mrs.P, due to the presently compromised Cam2.

Anyway, whilst it's quiet at the moment, I'm adding a little end of season poem ( my usual nonsense! ) but some of you may get a little chuckle from reading it, so here goes....

Lunar Brood

Within the shadow of the scrape,
The falcon had no doubt,
That life conceived in Natures drape,
Would carry Natures clout.

And so transpired a hatch of four,
Each to their quarter ruling,
A Dawn, a Day, a Night...but Dusk,
Contained a realm unmoving.

Even so did three burst forth,
Intent on an uprising,
And set about to wreck the scrape.
With vigour quite surprising!

In rapid growth they grew... and GREW,
Before our startled eyes,
The merest blink would find each chick,
Had doubled twice in size!

No sooner had they found their feet,
To perch and scan the view,
When wind uplifted early wings...
And into it they flew.

Nick B (DWT) said...

Hi Heather and Lorraine: someone reported seeing all five birds a few days it seems that all the juvs are still around.
Chris Packham's speech is now on You Tube (several versions). Here's one:

Today (the 'Inglorious' 12th - start of the grouse shooting season) news is released of a hen harrier found dead in Scotland earlier in the year. Tests have proved that it was shot. .
For pictures and much more on HH Day see Mark Avery's blog

Nick B

Lorraine said...

Glad to hear the juvs are still in the vicinity ( tough little bunch! ) and will look out for one of them returning to the scrape Cam. I wonder if they will notice the meteor showers predicted for tonight and tomorrow. Hope we get a clear night sky! Will also check out the links and pass on to as many people as possible.