Hen Harrier Eve, 8 August

Henry at The Palace - CopyThree weeks today there is an evening celebration of the Hen Harrier in the Palace Hotel, Buxton, featuring Chris Packham, Mark Cocker, Jeremy Deller, Henry the Hen Harrier and myself.

Most of the tickets are sold or reserved, but some are still available, £10 each.

 

Hen Harrier Eve – 8 August 2015

1830 Doors open, and so does the bar, in the High Peak room of the Palace Hotel, Buxton for Hen Harrier Eve – an evening to celebrate the Hen Harrier..

 

1930 Mark Avery – an introduction and a short reading from Inglorious

1945 RSPB Skydancer video

2000 Water and Stone – readings about place

2015 Jeremy Deller in conversation with Mark Cocker

2035 -2100 Interval

2100 Mark Cocker – Birds of prey and their part in our culture

2120 Findlay Wilde – Where’s Henry – a pictorial history

2135 Chris Packham

2155 Charlie Moores from Birders Against Wildlife Crime closes the evening and says a few words about tomorrow’s Hen Harrier Day

 

2200-2400  Bar open, mingle.

 

Email mark@markavery.info with the number of tickets you would like (£10 each, max of four tickets per email address) and the names of the ticket-holders (for fire safety reasons and because tickets will have your name on them) and I’ll be in touch about payment details.

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Join the Hen Harrier Day thunderclap – update 3

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We’re missing our Hen Harriers – and we want them back!

That’s the message that will be sent through social media at 10am on Hen Harrier Day, 9 August to a ‘social reach’ which currently stands at over 1.8 million people.  Last year, by Hen Harrier Day, the social reach was well over 2 million people. Let’s see how high we can get it – please sign up here!

Since this message is completely uncontroversial I would expect support from the following organisations and individuals, and would be grateful if they could confirm it:

 

@nationaltrust 341k followers

@irinagreenvoice 225k followers – already signed

@UKLabour 241k followers

@themoceanvibe 206k followers – already signed

@conservatives 174k followers

@natures_voice 164k followers – already signed

@TheGreenParty 151k followers

@chrisgpackham 131k followers – already signed

@LibDems 105k followers

@defragovuk 82k followers

@NaturalEngland 75k followers

@wildlifetrusts 65k followers

@_BTO 43k followers

@MMNNActionUK 39k followers – already signed

@Animal_Watch 38k followers – already signed

@yorkshire_dales 35k followers

@Birdguides 25k followers – already signed

@RareBirdAlertUK 24k followers  – already signed

@markavery 21k followers – already signed

@trussliz 19k followers

@peakdistrict 19k followers

@caupdates 17k followers

@Hawkandowluk 16k followers

@Birdwatchextra 12k followers – already signed

@RSPBScotland 12k followers

@BASCnews  12k followers

@SNH_tweets 9k followers

@gameandwildlife  7k followers-  already signed

@raptorpersscot 4k followers – already signed

@birdersagainst 3k – already signed – it’s their thunderclap – please make it yours too!

 

I’ll keep you updated on progress with this list, but I may miss sign-up by the organisations with a smaller social reach and so an email would be appreciated.

And it is possible to join the thunderclap through Facebook and tumblr too.

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You can still win a signed copy of Behind the Binoculars

9781784270506There have been very few entries for this fiendishly difficult quiz which could win you a copy of Behind the Binoculars (see review by Rare Bird Alert here) – but someone must win,  so why not have a go! Entries close tomorrow (Sunday) at 1800.

Behind the Binoculars is a series of interviews with birdy people about how and why they became birdwatchers and the part that birds have played in their lives.

The twenty people interviewed in the book include Keith and myself, but also Ian Newton, the late Phil Hollom, Rebecca Nason, Chris Packham, Steph Tyler, Debbie Pain, Stuart Winter, Lee Evans, Steve Gantlett, Mark Cocker, Ian Wallace, Andy Clements, Mike Clarke, Roger Riddington, Stephen Moss, Alan Davies and Ruth Miller and Robert Gillmor.

I’m offering a copy of the book, signed by the two authors, to the first person to allocate all these quotes from the book to the correct interviewees (each quote comes from a different interviewee). See rules, such as they are, at foot of quotes – but you don’t have to get them all right to win the book.

1. I’m very concerned that we’ll have lost birds that we took for granted like Corn Buntings and House Sparrows, House Martins and Swifts– if Swifts didn’t come back, that would be the end for me.
2. I was a closet birdwatcher, so most of my friends never knew! I got up early and went birding, then met friends later in the day, claiming I had only just got out of bed.
3. My favourite bird group would be the Ramphastidae family of toucans, araçaris and toucanets.
4. I’m less shy now.
5. At primary school, which was a short walk from our house, I won an art competition with a drawing of a Kingfisher which became the school emblem and was printed on all the sport T-shirts.
6. I had a monocular which used to belong to my grandfather and I had one of those long brass extending telescopes too.
7. I’d also like to meet Audrey Hepburn. To meet her would be as good as seeing a male Bullfinch being eaten by a male Sparrowhawk.
8. I clearly remember being lifted up at the age of four to peer into the nest of a Song Thrush.
9. The paintings by Archibald Thorburn are simply sublime. I recently bought one of the great man’s pencil sketches.
10. I was resident DJ at Cinderella Rockafella’s in Dunstable town centre from 1978 through to 1982.
11. I’ve always been a Leica man; I’m not one of those people who change every year.
12. I have now definitely morphed into a Robin-stroker!
13. I particularly enjoy talking to the gamekeepers and shooters – they know so much.
14. I’d done one or two twitches. The first I remember was in July 1974: a Ross’s Gull at Stanpit Marsh in Dorset (then in Hampshire).
15. Nature desperately needs more people to care, and to act.
16. One book that sticks in my mind is The Bone People by Keri Hulme.
17. The one I want to see more than any other – and I’d be really disappointed, by the way, if someone told me I was going to die before I saw this bird – is the Emperor Penguin.
18. I was within three weeks of starting work with Arthur Andersen in Cambridge when funding came through for me to do a PhD on the back of my degree.
19. Abroad, I think the place that I would probably go is Israel, where I’ve been many times, and particularly Eilat in migration time, because almost all the species which migrate between Europe and Africa can be seen there. The variety of birds is just incredible.
20. You can go ringing with a broken ankle, I discovered!

 

Rules:  Entries must be received before 1800 on Sunday 19 July.  Employees of Pelagic and people interviewed in the book are not allowed to enter. Entries must be made as comments on this particular blog post and the time of comment will be taken as the entry time.  Entries should include a valid email address so that I can contact the winner.  Only one entry per email address is allowed. If no correct entry is received then the person with the most correct entries will get the book and in the event of a tie it will be the first of the tied entries that wins.

That seems a lot of rules for a small prize – and anyway, why not just order the book now and find out what the answers are as soon as it is published? If you move quickly, and use the code BTB20 (click here) you can get 20% off the cover price.

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Saturday cartoon by Ralph Underhill

labelling

 

 

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Henry – so nonchalant

Friday 17 July Copy

Henry looking very nonchalant – leaning on a Perthshire grouse butt.

 

Henry is looking forward to Hen Harrier Eve – 200 tickets sold already (fewer than 100 left).

Henry has joined the Hen Harrier Day thunderclap

Henry is looking forward to being in the Goyt Valley on Hen Harrier Day to hear Chris Packham address a crowd oh hundreds of hen Harrier supporters in glorious sunshine.

 

 

 

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Andy, Yvette, Jeremy and Liz

photoThe Labour Party is having a leadership election. As a party member I get to vote in it.

It’s a very difficult choice – they are all so dull!  I cannot detect a smidgeon of wildlife interest in the lot of them – but maybe I am misjudging Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Jeremy Corbyn and Liz Kendall.

Let’s see! I will offer a guest blog on the subject of wildlife to all the Labour leadership contenders. 400 words to convince wildlife-loving Labourites like myself to vote for you.  Any takers?

 

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Henry ponders Langholm 2

Thurs 16 July  Copy

Henry is here rather wistfully eyeing up the ringtail babes on this helpful sign about the second Langholm Project – Langholm 2.

Langholm 2 has been going for ages and is looking at how with better management, restoration of heather cover and techniques like diversionary feeding, Hen Harriers and driven grouse shooting might co-exist together. It’s a project that may be overtaken by events as the lack of Hen Harriers in the English uplands has worsened since the project started and then t5here were those five ‘disappearing’ male Hen Harriers this spring.  Last year, the loss of Hope and Skye and the ‘we must have brood meddling even though there are hardly any broods to meddle with in England’ approach of the G(W)CT and others, will not make the great British public very sympathetic to the ‘needs’ of the shooting community.

And anyway, we are now all looking at the greenhouse gas emissions, polluted watercourses, eroded peat, damaged blanket bogs and increased flood risk and thinking that there is a bit more to this issue that the criminal killing of birds of prey.  And so whether or not Langholm 2 can produce as many grouse as some shooting estates wish to see is looking less and less important in the big scheme of things. The British grouse industry has played for time on criminality and now they are caught by another threat – ecosystem disservices.  It looks, in retrospect, like a bad choice by the men in tweed.

However, in another remarkable misjudgement, the G(W)CT has already written off Langholm as not going to meet its aim of producing enough Red Grouse for them to be shot out of the air by paying customers. Despite the fact that there are as many Red Grouse as there were in the last year when there was a driven grouse shoot at Langholm, and the numbers are going up, G(W)CT, last Christmas, announced the project as failing on this aim. There’s no pleasing some people, is there?  The RSPB seems more optimistic on the prospects of there being grouse to be shot at Langholm than do G(W)CT – life is very strange.

 

 

 

 

 

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Join the Hen Harrier Day thunderclap – update 2

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Whether you can or can’t attend Hen Harrier Eve, and whether you can or can’t attend Hen Harrier Day, you can, if you use social media, add your name to a message that will go around the world at 10am on Hen Harrier Day saying:

We’re missing our Hen Harriers – and we want them back!

Nothing controversial there.

This thunderclap is zinging along! It has now easily passed the 500 people threshold so it will be broadcast on 9 August to a ‘social reach’ which currently stands at over 1.4 million.  Last year, by Hen Harrier Day, the social reach was well over 2 million people. Let’s see how high we can get it – please sign up here!

Since this message is completely uncontroversial I would expect support from the following organisations and individuals, and would be grateful if they could confirm it:

 

@nationaltrust 341k followers (very good to see NT supporting Big Butterfly Count thunderclap – now please join this one)

@irinagreenvoice 225k followers – already signed

@UKLabour 241k followers

@themoceanvibe 206k followers – already signed

@conservatives 174k followers

@natures_voice 164k followers – already signed

@TheGreenParty 151k followers

@chrisgpackham 131k followers – already signed

@LibDems 105k followers

@defragovuk 82k followers

@NaturalEngland 75k followers

@wildlifetrusts 65k followers (Durham WT and Yorkshire WT have signed, I noticed))

@_BTO 43k followers

@MMNNActionUK 39k followers – already signed

@Animal_Watch 38k followers – already signed

@yorkshire_dales 35k followers

@RareBirdAlertUK 24k followers  – already signed

@markavery 21k followers – already signed

@trussliz 19k followers

@peakdistrict 19k followers

@caupdates 17k followers

@Hawkandowluk 16k followers

@Birdwatchextra 12k followers – already signed

@RSPBScotland 12k followers

@BASCnews  12k followers

@SNH_tweets 9k followers

@gameandwildlife  7k followers-  already signed

@raptorpersscot 4k followers – already signed

@birdersagainst 3k – already signed – it’s their thunderclap – please make it yours too!

 

I’ll keep you updated on progress with this list, but I may miss sign-up by the organisations with a smaller social reach and so an email would be appreciated.

And it is possible to join the thunderclap through Facebook and tumblr too.

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Guest blogs

Guest blogs – get in touch if you’d like to write one. I can’t promise I’ll say yes until I see it – but that seems fair.

These are the Guest blogs published here so far this year:

The Good Intentions Paving Company by Tim Bidie (aka Monro) 14 January

Shared Planet by Mary Colwell-Hector 15 January

Response to Tim Bidie by Hugh Webster 15 January

The potential extinction of a not so horrid spider by Vanessa Amaral-Rogers 16 January

Where green objectives clash by Peter Marren 26 January

SWAFH by Rodney Hale 28 January

Snail trail by James Harding-Morris 6 February

Food security by Roderick Leslie 2 March

The case against the EU by Richard Wayre 11 March

In favour of the EU by Richard Wilson 19 March

Today should be Derek Ratcliffe’s National Peregrine Day by Stuart Housden 21 April

A story of nature and human wellbeing by Andy Atkins 5 May

‘So Ben, about this list’ by Ben Hoare 18 May

Minds and happiness flourish with outdoor learning by Emma Websdale 24 June

 

My thanks to all the above – who would like to be next?

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Henry looks disturbed

Weds 15 July  Copy

We’re still at Langholm – there’s Sir John’s monument in the far distance on the hill.

Does Henry look disturbed?  Well maybe a little.

We had spent ages sitting in the car looking over Langholm Moor in the pleasant sunshine of early June (for that is when we were there) waiting for the crowds to disperse. The crowds? you say?

Yes, the crowds!

For when we got to Langholm, on our way to Geltsdale (remember Geltsdale?), the road was full of cars (a couple of them) and lots of people. We also noticed that there were some people – great gangs of people (four of them actually) – on the hillside.  These people seemed to be having a look at a Hen Harrier nest, given that the ringtail (Henry got quite excited at this stage) was dive-bombing them.

The observers, who I guess were a bunch of scientists, headed back up the hill and the ringtail settled down on the nest again.  You wouldn’t want to do it too often, but that nest was perfectly OK.

BASC and followers on have been banging on about disturbance by birders as a factor in Hen Harrier nest failure. Could be, that’s one reason why the bird is on Schedule 1 and you need a licence to disturb them at the nest. I guess this bunch of people had a licence. They might even be employed by the G(W)CT. Disturbance isn’t what is causing nest failure in Hen Harriers – and the G(W)CT should come out and say so.

Or maybe just read what Ian Newton says about the impact of gamekepers on populations of birds of prey in Behind the Binoculars

 

 

 

 

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