• Bowland Brass Monkeys!

    That northerly wind really is cold! 

    I managed to spend a couple of hours out and about, checking a peregrine nest site for occupancy earlier this week. Unfortunately I didn’t even get a glimpse of a peregrine, but things are beginning to happen…

    The first sky dancing hen harrier was seen last Saturday, but only just! Low cloud on Friday and Saturday made observations a bit tricky, but, as always, the wait is…

    • 27 Mar 2009
  • Northumberland 24 March: Come in Number 246!

    More excellent news from the North... In a previous blog, I mentioned that two of the five females that fledged from the North Tynedale nest in 2008 were fitted with radio transmitters. I also noted that one of the radio-tagged juveniles was picked up flying over Bowland, Lancashire, and the other - number 246, a.k.a Rainbow Dancer - was presumed dead since the last signal from her was back in August 2008. Many hen harriers…

    • 24 Mar 2009
  • Northumberland 23 March: Harriers Dancing

    Great news - there is a male and female hen harrier at the North Tynedale site! He has been skydancing since last Tuesday (17th March) though he has been somewhat lazy with his dives and loops. What really impressed me was when the female harrier joined in with her own dance one late afternoon last week.

    It was one of those fabulous early spring evenings when the sun is low in the sky but very bright. The hills and crags…

    • 24 Mar 2009
  • Geltsdale News 23 March

    I’m glad to be back at Geltsdale after my Galloway break, and hoping for lots of harrier action. Many thanks to Steve for posting last week’s blog.

    Wall-to-wall sunshine and some strong hints of early spring here last week. Our first ring ouzels are back, and three or four pairs of merlins have already established territories up on the Fells.

    And I’ve got some very exciting hen harrier radio-tracking news.…

    • 23 Mar 2009
  • Geltsdale 23 March

    I’m glad to be back at Geltsdale after my Galloway break, and hoping for lots of harrier action. Many thanks to Steve for posting last week’s blog.

    Wall-to-wall sunshine and some strong hints of early spring here last week. Our first ring ouzels are back, and three or four pairs of merlins have already established territories up on the Fells.

    And I’ve got some very exciting hen harrier radio-tracking news.…

    • 23 Mar 2009
  • United Utilities Bowland Estate 22/3/09

    Do you remember me telling you about that satellite tagged male hen harrier, which was loitering around the Fens? Well, within 48 hours, it was back in the north west of England, near the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust reserve at Martin Mere, in south west Lancs (thanks to Natural England for the info). Brilliant! Oh, and thanks to whoever pointed him in the right direction!

    Never mind 73584 (his satellite id), as he is affectionately…

    • 22 Mar 2009
  • News from Geltsdale

    Hello everyone. In contrast to the week before, last week was a lot milder and a lot more windy. The snow has gone and there is a genuine spring-in-the-air ambience around here.To sum up the hen harrier situation: roost site numbers are down, while sightings on and around the reserve are up.

    This makes some sense, as birds disperse from their winter roosting and foraging sites in search of breeding territory. Their favoured…

    • 16 Mar 2009
  • Northumberland 16 March: What happened to the 2008 Northumbrian chicks?

    If you followed the progress of the Northumberland hen harrier juveniles in 2008, you may be wondering what happened to them once they fledged that summer. Well, here’s an update…

    In 2008, five female chicks successfully fledged from the only known hen harrier nest in Northumberland. This nest was one of just ten successful nests in the whole of England last year and represented 15% of England’s hen harrier…
    • 16 Mar 2009
  • Northumberland 16 March: Spring is coming

    Good news – we're getting regular sightings of the male hen harrier over last year's nesting site. The female has also been spotted, though she's a little way away. Fingers crossed they lock eyes on each other (over a smoky sky) soon when he begins displaying.Gemma Hall

    The North Tynedale site is an area of heather moorland with crags and bogs and fringed by conifer forest. From the top of some of the crags, I…

    • 16 Mar 2009
  • United Utilities Bowland Estate

    Bowland ViewFirstly, I think a quick introduction is necessary, just to put you in the picture! My name is Pete Wilson and I’ve had the pleasure of working in the uplands, with hen harriers, for the RSPB, and with a whole range of partners, for the last nine years – or at least it will be nine years this coming Sunday.

    For these  nine years I’ve been based here at the United Utilities (UU) Bowland Estate Office, in north…

    • 12 Mar 2009
  • Geltsdale 09/03/09

    Another spell of cold weather and snowfall on the Geltsdale Fells last week seems to have stalled any developments on the hen harrier front here. From our observations, it seems that only one ring-tail was adventurous/brave enough to venture (briefly) up onto the moorland. There are, however, still at least three harriers roosting at a nearby site – hopefully just waiting in the wings for the right conditions..?…

    • 9 Mar 2009
  • Northumberland 4 March: Hen Harrier Nest Watch 2009

    The Northumberland Hen Harrier Nest Watch 2009 is now live! I have been in post for two days (as the Northumberland Hen Harrier Nest Watch Site Coordinator) and I've been reliably told that a male and a female hen harrier have been spotted on the North Tynedale moors. I managed a quick visit to the site yesterday – no harriers I'm afraid – but I'll have a more thorough look today. Hopefully we'll see some skydancing soon…

    • 4 Mar 2009
  • Geltsdale

    Hi Everyone, and welcome to the very first RSPB Geltsdale hen harrier blog. My name’s Pete Howard, and I’m the Hen Harrier Warden here on the reserve. I’ll be posting most of our blogs (with maybe a stunt-double or two helping out when I’m not here!).

    Geltsdale is situated in the northwest corner of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and with its mix of heather moorland, valley…

    • 2 Mar 2009