Following my last blog on the travels of 74843, she has continued to prove a constant talking point ...
After we left her in southern Scotland, she continued northwards for a second time, only on this occasion she bypassed Dornoch (breaking her own record for distance north travelled by a satellite tagged bird) and continued on to our very own RSPB reserve Forsinard Flows - read about her visit here.
The Bowland female arrived at RSPB Forsinard Flows on 6th May © Stephen Murphy, Natural England.
Forsinard is a fabulous place, somewhere I have not been but am super keen to get to at some point. It covers a vast area of internationally important peatland habitat where harriers breed in good numbers on a yearly basis. Yet she didn’t linger there, she continued a little further north east to near Loch Shurrery, about 7 miles south of Thurso (didn’t realise you could get further north than Forsinard!) before she turned tail again and dropped back down to Loch Glascarnoch in Invernesshire.
Tour of Caithness and Invernesshire © Stephen Murphy, Natural England.
So the question still remains, what is she up to? Many of the places she has been roosting and visiting on her travels are areas frequented by harriers. Forsinard itself is a haven for harriers with fantastic habitat and possibly some males still hanging around whom she could have potentially paired up with. Are her movements related to food or finding a male? How many other harriers make these journeys without us knowing? So many questions but the answers we will only be able to hypothesize over.
All we know for sure is that 74843 is the first sat-tagged bird to have travelled so widely during the breeding season and that these sat tags, fitted by Natural England, are providing some incredibly interesting information.
Where will she head to next? Will she make the jump across the sea to Orkney, which is currently boasting a thriving hen harrier population? Your guess is as good as mine, you’ll just have to keep checking back in to find out!