Arthur, a Hen Harrier tagged this summer as a nestling in the Peak District has disappeared in North Yorkshire says RSPB (although this is, slightly confusingly (it confused me), a repeat of a previous press release).
The bird, named Arthur, hatched from a nest in the Peak District the summer of 2018. This was the first time hen harriers had successfully bred in the Peak District since 2014. Arthur, along with his sister Octavia, was fitted with a lightweight satellite tag by RSPB staff as part of the Hen Harrier LIFE project, which has enabled the RSPB to track his movements since leaving the nest in July.
Transmissions from Arthur’s tag showed him fledging from his nest and remaining faithful to that area in the Peak District. He then moved to the Brecon Beacons, South Wales, in mid-October before flying back north to Nidderdale, North Yorkshire. On the morning of Friday 26 October he flew onto the North York Moors National Park. He registered his last position at 0955hrs when he was just north of Lowna Bridge, near Hutton-le-Hole.
RSPB Assistant Investigations Officer Jack Ashton-Booth said, ‘Arthur’s last location showed he was in an upland area close to several driven grouse moors. When tagged hen harriers have died of natural causes in the past, the tags and bodies of the bird are usually recovered. To find no trace of Arthur or Octavia is extremely concerning. Arthur is the ninth hen harrier to suddenly disappear in suspicious circumstances since August. This is gravely concerning given that the species is on the brink of extinction as a breeding bird in England.’.