Guest blog by Helen Byron, Area Conservation Manager
I’m just back from a weekend of hen harrier events in the Peak District, which the RSPB was delighted to support.
On Saturday night, we were at the Palace Hotel in Buxton for Hen Harrier Eve: celebrating the hen harrier, an event organised by Mark Avery. A packed room of almost 300 heard readings about the Peak District, a landscape for harriers, by local duo Stone and Water; saw the RSPB Skydancer video introduced by RSPB’s Amanda Miller and strongly endorsed by the RSPB’s Chief Executive Mike Clarke who was at the weekend’s events. There was a conversation with Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller; a presentation about birds of prey and their part in our culture from author Mark Cocker; a fantastic video mash up from young campaigner Findlay Wilde, who also announced that he had convinced Ecotricity to sponsor satellite tags for the LIFE+ Project; a video montage of the recent travels of Henry the Hen Harrier; and a passionate speech by Chris Packham. And all this delivered from a life size model of a grouse butt made by Findlay and with an appearance by Henry the Hen Harrier!
A great time was had by all!
Photos: Guy Shorrock, RSPB
Sunday morning saw around 500 people, old and young, and various dogs including poodles, which greatly pleased Chris Packham, congregate in the stunning Goyt Valley for Hen Harrier Day 2015 - and this year the weather was glorious! Charlie Moores from Birders Against Wildlife Crime, the event’s organisers, hosted the event which opened with a talk from Derbyshire Wildlife Trust's CEO Jo Smith celebrating the Peak District and confirming DWT’s commitment to hen harriers, followed by a rousing speech from RSPB’s Jeff Knott, stirring words from Mark Avery and closing with an engaging speech by Chris Packham.
The passion in the crowd for the plight of the hen harrier was abundantly clear. You can get a flavour of the speeches, the posters and bird kites that accompanied it on the BAWC YouTube channel here.
After the rally in the Goyt there were stalls in the Buxton Pavilion gardens where people who’d been at the rally and others new to hen harrier issues could talk to BAWC, DWT, RSPB and others and enjoy family activities in the splendid sunshine.
Hen Harrier Day/weekend 2015 in the Peak District was much bigger than in 2014 - the RSPB was delighted to support it and my colleagues and I were so pleased to be part of it. Expect even more next year!!