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 turned a deep orange and I watched as she displayed over a favourite hill which is thick with tall, bushy heather. The male harrier patrolled the slope closest to me, presumably with one eye on his mate. Because she was on the far side of the hill, all I could see was her body emerging out of the heather, soaring upwards then swooping back below the brow of the hill before repeating the routine. It was like watching someone on a fairground ride who only comes into view every few seconds. She repeated her loop the loops for no more than a minute, but I was left stunned.