It was a relief to arrive at a dry, sunny Rainham Marshes as it had chucked it down with rain as I drove down from a less than sunny Felixstowe. Rainham was all geared up for the event and there were signs everywhere letting everyone know what the main deal of the day was:
The opening act was a very nervous Peregrina Enchantica, who did such a beautiful job of entertaining us last year. I thought they more than earned their spot on the main stage this year - last year they performed by the side of the footpath.
There's only one Howard Vaughan!
The first speaker was Rob Sheldon of Birders Against Wildlife Crime. He's been working very hard to raise money to satellite track as many young hen harriers as possible, to paint a bigger picture of where they go and (sadly) where they disappear.
Next up was Mark Thomas of the RSPB's investigative team. They have a tough time - some of what they've witnessed has been horrendous and they've been forced to watch the perpetrators go unpunished. What a fantastic job this team does just to keep going.
We were lucky enough to have Chris Packham for another year. It's impossible to put words to just how good a speaker he is - what a champion wildlife has in this bloke. Someone get him knighted, quickly.
I'm coming for you, bird killers.
I was pleased to see that hundreds of people had turned out again and there were some beautiful hand-made signs about:
Back at the Visitor Centre there was, understandably, a large queue for Chris Packham's book signing!
It's too bad that this event only happens yearly. I think this issue needs to be rammed down multiple throats until everyone gets the message.
HANDS OFF OUR HEN HARRIERS!
Our herring gulls are red listed birds. Think about that the next time you hear some flaming idiot calling for a cull of them.
Thank you, Clare - interesting, for those of us unable to attend. Thank goodness there are people out there who care about these beautiful birds.
In reply to Lindybird:
Many thanks Clare for such a good report of the event & great pics!
I reiterate ..... HANDS OFF OUR HEN HARRIERS!
2013 photos & vids here
eff37 on Flickr
In reply to WendyBartter:
Glad it was well attended ClareThere did not seem to be an event in our area but as Chris ic cruising somewhere near Iceland for two weeks I could not travel far to an event anyway. There does need to be masses of support to get these criminals to stop.
Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can
In reply to Seaman:
Thanks for the report and the pics, Clare. I wonder what sort of mind thinks it is ok to kill any bird of prey, much less one as rare as Hen Harriers.
In reply to Gardenbirder:
I've just read that there's going to be a march in London on Saturday 12th - the purpose is to make badger culling, fox hunting and driven grouse shooting history. They are meeting at Cavendish Square Gardens (W1G 0PU) at 1pm, and marching on Downing Street at 1.30. The nearest Tube station is Oxford Circus.
In reply to Clare:
Thanks, Clare, are you going? Unfortunately, while we will actually be in London on Saturday we have another commitment for the afternoon.
I don't know yet. Definitely thinking about it.
Clare, I spotted you in the 9th photo on Howard's Blog!
Oh, dear!! I'm glad I managed to snap him.
Gardenbirder said:I wonder what sort of mind thinks it is ok to kill any bird of prey, much less one as rare as Hen Harriers.
Easily answered GB it is one of the growing crowd that think that because they have a few quid in the bank and know some of the right people that the law does not apply to the likes of them. Glad the events were well supported just shows those of us protesting are not just a few tree hugging weirdos well done to all who showed support.
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