You may remember that c10 days ago I published some information received from Natural England about brood meddling (see here).
There was some information missing from that response which has now been supplied in the form of this interesting email from Prof Ken Norris to the rest of the scientific steering group;
Note that this mail was dated 10 June so things may have changed since then.
Interesting that no grouse moors had come forward at that time to act as willing hosts for this landmark conservation project and that Jemima Parry-Jones was concerned for the birds’ safety – that wasn’t a great start was it?
Also, despite Prof Norris’s inclination to be open about what the group is doing and has done, the only information emerging into the public domain is as a result of information requests to Natural England that take the usual age to be answered.
We know from the information previously released that the birds were released c14km from their natal nest and within the North Pennines Special Protection Area. That certainly narrows it down quite a lot.
The red arrow indicates the approximate area of the natal nest and the grey hexagon the approximate 14km radius which is the distance away from the natal nest that NE have said the chicks were released. The blue areas indicate the SPAs. Somewhere close to that grey line, give or take a kilometre or two, and within the polygons with a dark blue border, is where the chicks were released.
I’d wager a good few quid that the broodmeddled Hen Harriers were released in this area…
…which is the area between Castle Bolton and Grinton and is full of grouse moors (as is obvious from the characteristic patterns of burned patches of heather in the image). If you were looking for a military firing range then there is one on the eastern side of the road between Leyburn and Grinton but my understanding is tht NE and the Moorland Association eventually did find a moorland owner to host these valuable birds. By now the birds could be anywhere, and might be happily roaming the grouse moors of northern England as they are tracked by the Moorland Association with Amanda Anderson frantically phoning around the estates to ask them to be especially careful not to shoot any Hen Harriers with satellite tags just now.