The article by Amy-Jane Beer in this month’s BBC Wildlife is certainly worth a read. It’s also worth a look – Laurie Campbell’s photographs are stunning.
You should buy the magazine to see the images and read the words – and there is plenty more to enjoy in the magazine’s pages of course.
The current Langholm study is mentioned – diversionary feeding of Hen Harriers has meant that losses of grouse to these magnificent birds have been negligible. The Langholm Head Gamekeeper, Simon Lester, even says as much in his quote ‘We can divert the Hen Harriers during the breeding season’. Hooray! Unfortunately, but not surprisingly (see page 210 of Fighting for Birds) he now has a Buzzard in his bonnet. There has to be some bird of prey that is ‘the problem’ and now it’s going to be the Buzzard. The BBC Wildlife article, interestingly, says that cameras on 12 Buzzard nests over 2 years have recorded 32 Red Grouse – that’s 16 a year from a moor which would expect to shoot hundreds in a day’s shooting. Doesn’t sound like much of a problem to me.
The article also alludes to the radio-tracking study of Hen Harriers and the fact that a radio-tagged Hen Harrier from Langholm disappeared in northern England. Well, in the midst of life we are in death, but it is surely time that we learn what the results of the long, long, long-running publicly-funded Hen Harrier radio-tracking study actually are. Back in the uncowed days of 2008, Natural England were writing that they were looking into the disappearance of Hen Harriers at roosts and northern England grouse moors which had been disclosed by satellite-tracking. Six years later we still haven’t seen those and subsequent data in the public domain. We do know of the fate of Bowland Betty at least.
Remember that 10 August is Hen Harrier Day.
Now, I must go back and read some of the other articles in BBC Wildlife.