It’s the Glorious 12th! Woohoo!
And this year is the first year since the 1960s, according to the RSPB, that hen harriers have not nested successfully anywhere in England.
Martin Harper, the RSPB’s Conservation Director said last week: “We are only a few days away from ‘the Glorious 12th’ – the traditional August start of the grouse shooting season. My challenge to those who run grouse moors is simple: respect the law and allow hen harriers and other birds of prey to flourish again.”
Maybe it’s a bit late to issue challenges to people who obviously don’t give a damn. Or rather, who do give a damn but are on the other side – they are the enemy of the hen harrier. It is those who run grouse moors (not every single individual obviously) who are responsible for the lack of hen harriers in our country – asking them to raise their game is like asking the Australian cricket team not to mind failing to regain the Ashes.
Maybe the members of the Moorland Association are even now convening a crisis meeting to determine how they can play a full part in bringing the hen harrier back to their moors. Or maybe not… Why not ‘like’ my comment on the Moorland Association Facebook page to wish them a happy ‘Glorious 12th’.
They are a caring bunch when it comes to non-raptors. In their newsletter they have been patting themselves on the back over ‘Giving Nature a Home’ on their grouse moors. Grouse moors are good for ring ousels and the Moorland Association want you to know that.
There are some ring ousels who wouldn’t argue with that – they can’t argue because they are dead!
I was shocked by the images of these two dead ring ousels caught (accidentally) in traps set for ‘vermin’ on grouse moors – one of them in the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the other in southern Scotland.
This young bird was photographed on a grouse moor in southern Scotland earlier this year.
This adult in the trap was photographed in 2009 at a grouse moor in the east of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
This is a dipper (from southern Scotland) and I am told that quite a few dippers have been caught in similar traps.
And common sandpipers…
…and red squirrels.
If you are on Twitter then today why not use #henharrier today.
If you are on Facebook then why not change your cover photo to a hen harrier today? You could use the image at the top of this post – please acknowledge Andreas Trepte.
And maybe you think with all this going on that it would be a good idea if grouse moors were licensed – if so sign up here.
But maybe you think that even that is a bit weak and that banning grouse shooting should be the aim now – what do you think? It’s not a rhetorical question – I’d really like to know and I’m sure this issue will be discussed at the Bird Fair.
Obviously, a campaign to ban grouse shooting will be called BanGS! – not that I’ve put any thought into it, of course.