Hen Harrier Day – coming to Rainham Marshes

imageI visited Rainham Marshes RSPB nature reserve recently for a chat about the Hen Harrier Day event which will take place there on SATURDAY 6 August starting at 11am.

For new readers, Hen Harrier Day is a celebration of this marvellous bird to highlight the fact that its numbers are severely reduced by criminal activity by grouse shooting interests.  Hen Harriers are unsporting enough to eat Red Grouse that ‘sporting folk’ wish to shoot for fun.  Killing a Hen Harrier has been illegal since 1954 but it still goes on to such an extent that Hen Harriers are almost absent from UK grouse moors which ought to be hosting hundreds of pairs. The UK Hen Harrier population is c650 pairs (almost all of which live away from grouse shooting areas) whereas it ought to be c2600 pairs according to the science (see Chapter 1 of Inglorious for many more details).

Hen Harrier Day events have been held in England and Scotland for the last two years, with growing numbers of events, and growing numbers of attendees.

HH day Chris and Mark
A rather wet Hen Harrier Day rally in the Peak District in 2014 #sodden570

This year there will be several events as usual (see here for details as they emerge) but probably the biggest of them all is likely to be at Rainham Marshes RSPB nature reserve within easy reach by public transport of central and east London, Essex, Suffolk, Kent, Cambridgeshire and beyond. It’s going to be massive! Well it will if you come.

Chris Packham will be attending, and this year it is the only Hen Harrier Day event he can make so you can only catch him here.

A six foot Hen Harrier will also be present.


There will be speeches, camaraderie and this is your chance to voice your opposition to protected birds of prey being killed in the UK uplands and elsewhere. And if you live in or near London you don’t have so far to travel this year – thanks to the RSPB Rainham Marshes team we are bringing Hen Harrier Day to you.

I will say this only scores of times – parking is limited and the event is likely to be very well attended – please come by public transport if you possibly can (and it is quite easy – I’ve done it many times myself).  If you have to bring a car, then please fill it up with friends!

Further details of the event will appear on this blog, on the Birders Against Wildlife Crime website and on the Rainham Marshes RSPB page.  But you can start making your travel plans, start making your banners and placards, and start looking forward to sending a strong message to the criminal elements in the grouse shooting industry that they cannot keep breaking the law.

Photo: Gordon Yates
Photo: Gordon Yates
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9 Replies to “Hen Harrier Day – coming to Rainham Marshes”

    1. Richard - blink and you'll miss it. 35457 - a non-palindromic but even better (higher) number. 99,999 is a good one!

  1. Thrilled to be able to watch a hen-harrier hunting last Sunday - not in England though. Buso Saint Martin.

  2. I think you said that a flyer to download was imminent, Mark? It would be really useful to hand out to friends/acquaintances when trying to get signatures and raise awareness.
    A brief synopsis of problem, a couple of photos and the petition address with links to your blog and RPUK ? I would mock up my own but I'm no expert on the legal aspects that need to be considered.

    1. Can I also suggest a downloadable A4 sheet that has relevant details for petition, fb page etc in say nine boxes so that it can be printed, copied out then cut up for mini info cards that can be distributed at events etc? Know we could do something individually, but 'Campaign HQ' might do it best - and the info would be accurate, could also contain small images etc - the best job, my IT skills are certainly very basic even for doing something simple like this. I'll be at an event on May 28th where a falconer may be able to hand them out too. In fact such a resource would be handy for people like falconers who may want to do something, but individual A4 type leaflets may be too expensive and bulky to produce. It would be good if there was something like this we could refer people too who want to help without implying they spend a fair whack (you'd never be able to tell I''m Scottish would you?) on full leaflets. A growing toolkit of resources like this would be handy, few if any petitions have a supporting, complimentary facility like this.

  3. Too late for this year but next year everyone should write 3 words stating why they love hen harriers and they should all be posted on a wall/board together. That would make my day. I bloody love these birds.
    (Please excuse me for getting emotional!)


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