And somehow the weather gods decreed that we would hold our Hen Harrier Day and it would remain dry for all of the most important bits...
The day stated early and by 6am we were on site and putting in the finishing touches for the big day ahead. The early morning mizzle had blown through and the sun had come out and the lack of wind helped prevent signage ending up in Kent!
With a good crowd already in attendance and with our three guest speakers in tow we headed for the Marquee Field where we were greeted by Peregrina EnChantica in full flow on stage to welcome us to the rally.
Three rousing speeches followed by Rob Sheldon on behalf of Birders Against Wildlife Crime leading into empassioned and heartfelt words from our own tireless (but undoubtedly tired) Mark Thomas from RSPB Investigations before handing over to the as ever erudite and emotive Chris Packham who delivered a no nonsense, matter of fact blast at all that is wrong with the state of our upland management and the persecution of its wildlife.
Nearly 500 people absorbed every word spoken and although faces were generally long and frowns frequent the message was the same... Stop Killing Our Hen Harriers...
You could feel the buzz of being behind a just cause in the crowd and placards, banners and the last few remaining of my 2016 Harriers were waved above heads. With even fewer Hen Harriers across the UK in 2017 and only five pair in England perhaps it was appropriate that only a handful of my ones returned.
However my male Pallid Harrier was somewhat prophetic with a stunning bird skydancing over Dunsop Bridge in the spring with only one female Hen Harrier in the area for him to dance for and no male Hen Harrier to send him packing...
Back at the ranch the book signing was interrupted by a near biblical downpour and thunderstorm but we all survived and the sun soon came out to raise spirits once again.
So thank you to everyone for coming along and uniting together to create a stronger voice to push for change...
Thanks for organising another great day, Howard - you and your team did a wonderful job.
I did remember to return my placard.
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