At the beginning of this year I was fully expecting to be blogging to you all about the joys of sitting on the hill watching hen harriers skydancing, nesting building, hunting, food passing and eventually the first tentative flights of the next generation of English hen harriers.
However, since my last post when I was optimistically hoping that this year was just proving to be a late year for harrier nesting attempts, I’m saddened to say that we still have no nests in Bowland. Nothing materialised from the sightings of those two females back on the 27th April, and the Bowland fells have again been left without the sights or sounds of hen harriers. We are now in mid-May and haven’t had a male seen for over a month.
The situation for this species as a breeding bird in England is critical, read Martin Harper's blog from Monday. There is only one nesting attempt so far this year in the whole of England. It is not too late to get one, colleagues and volunteers have told me of years when young have still been in nests in August, even into September. This news has encouraged me somewhat, but first we need some birds back on site. At the moment we will all just be really grateful for a single nesting attempt given the situation this year but the United Utilities estate alone is capable of supporting up to 10 or 12 pairs in any one year. The English uplands should be supporting over 320 pairs.
I will of course let you know if we have any encouraging signs coming from Bowland but please, as Andre has just mentioned if you want to do your bit for harriers in England then sign the petition calling for Vicarious Liability to be brought into England and Wales as it already has been in Scotland.