Skydancer

Skydancer
Skydancer is an exciting new four-year project aimed at raising awareness and promoting the conservation of hen harriers in the north of England.
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  • Blog Post: Skydancer hits the road

    It's been a bit quiet on the blog front lately but that's only because we've been out and about doing what Skydancer was designed to do - bringing hen harriers to the people! So far, we've attended the Newcastle Green Festival, Northumberland County Show, Cumberland Show and the Glendale...
  • Blog Post: Hen Harrier of Peace

    As regular readers of this blog will know, hen harriers have always been an iconic feature of the Bowland landscape. So much so in fact, that as the logo of the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), they have become a literal symbol of the area, appearing on signs and fence posts...
  • Blog Post: Festive tree-climbing harriers

    “ On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me, a hen harrier in a pear tree...” Doesn’t quite work does it? Hen harriers may not feature in any traditional Christmas songs but in the RSPB Newcastle office, they have pride of festive place on our little Christmas tree.....
  • Blog Post: Fancy knitting a hen harrier?

    Check out these amazing knitted hen harriers! Inspired by the Skydancer project, enterprising volunteers Fariha and Siobhán picked up their knitting needles and created these fantastic hen harrier hand puppets for our education volunteers to use in primary schools. The puppets have been...
  • Blog Post: Skydancing Schools: Part 1

    Apologies again! I realise it’s gone a bit quiet from me since my last post but that’s only because I’ve been so busy putting together lots of exciting games, crafts and activities as part of our Skydancer outreach programme for local schools. I can’t wait to start putting it...
  • Blog Post: Touring Skydancer Road Show

    *Phew*! Between April and July is definitely the busy season for people engagement and I feel like I've hardly been in the office at all - no bad thing given the recent bout of sunshine! With the help of some fantastic volunteers, I've been out and about visiting schools, running moorland field...
  • Blog Post: Exploring the moors, come hail or shine!

    I don't know about you, but for me the brief glimpse of summer we had this weekend came as a seriously welcome respite from the seemingly never-ending winter! Just last week, the children of Haltwhistle Lower Community Campus had to deal with four seasons in one day including icy winds and actual...
  • Blog Post: Skydancer web pages

    The brand new Skydancer web pages are now up and running at www.rspb.org.uk/skydancer . Check them out for more information about the project and how you can get involved!
  • Blog Post: Skydancing Schools: Part 2

    What a busy couple of weeks I’ve had! Bouncing here there and everywhere, colouring-in and cutting out, painting, gluing, sticking and crafting... and that was just the prep work! Part of the fun of working with primary schools has to be that you get to be a kid again yourself. I sometimes have...
  • Blog Post: Skydancer – a new way forward for hen harriers and grouse shooting?

    The Skydancer project may just be getting started but as many of us know, the need to conserve and protect hen harriers in England is nothing new. Though their diet mainly comprises meadow pipits and field voles, hen harriers will occasionally take red grouse and it is recognised that in certain situations...
  • Blog Post: Say 'yes' to better laws for wildlife

    There's no denying it's been a dismal year for breeding hen harriers in England - only one pair away from total failure. However as autumn leaves herald the return of wintering harriers to the Dee and other sites around our coasts, I can't help but feel that little seed of positivity stirring...
  • Blog Post: School's out, farm's in

    Guest blog from Gavin Thomas, Bowland Wader Project Officer. Last week I was sat, brew in hand at kitchen table, with yet another Bowland farmer who is doing his bit to make space for nature on his land. The chat was broken as the door burst open and in piled the kids back from school. His youngest...
  • Blog Post: Hen harriers in the media

    Running with the theme of positivity for 2013, if one were to try and find some sliver of good in the tragedy of Bowland Betty, it's that the circumstances of her untimely demise have finally brought the hen harrier issue to national attention. In the last week alone, there has been a strong article...
  • Blog Post: Ghost Bird, 15-16th September

    I must apologise - August is clearly a difficult month for blogging as everyone and his dog seems to be on holiday! Not to worry though, normal service will resume shortly...! In the meantime, I have what promises to be a very interesting piece of independent hen harrier based theatre to share with...
  • Blog Post: Family fun at Newton Rigg

    It's Monday morning and I'm recovering from a fun, if slightly damp and muddy Sunday at Newton Rigg College's Countryside Day, near Penrith. There was plenty to see and do from all aspects of the countryside from den building to tractor rides, clay pigeon shooting to wildlife gardening, and...
  • Blog Post: New Scottish initiative to record harriers

    The Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW) Scotland , have launched the Heads up for Harriers scheme - their own version of the Hen Harrier Hotline - and are appealing for members of the public to send in their sightings of hen harriers across Scotland. They have said: As the Partnership...
  • Blog Post: The future of gamekeeping

    If you’ve been following this blog for a while now, you’ll know that a big part of the work that we’re doing with Skydancer focuses on education – visiting primary and secondary schools across the North of England and teaching the next generation all about hen harriers and how...
  • Blog Post: Knitted hen harriers go national

    All you lovely knitters out there should make sure to grab yourselves a copy of this July's Yarnwise national knitting magazine - on sale from next week. Our fabulous knitted hen harrier puppets and their role in the Skydancer project feature in a full three-page spread! Who knows? Could this...
  • Blog Post: Introducing the best job title ever...! (if I do say so myself)

    Hello! Please forgive my rudeness - almost six months in post and I’m only just introducing myself now. There’s been so much to do getting things started and it’s amazing how time just slips past but there, I’m getting ahead of myself again – let’s start from the...
  • Blog Post: Skydancing Schools explore the moors!

    It's true what they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. So how many words, or indeed how many pictures, are worth a single first-hand experience? It's a good question and I honestly have no idea what the answer is but I'd hazard a guess that it's a heck of a lot. Anyone with...
  • Blog Post: 2012 - a year in review

    Christmas is just a week away. A further seven days hence, and the world will quietly slip into the New Year, with all the hopes, anticipation and promises of fresh starts that brings. But what of 2012? What lessons can we take with us from this, The Year that Almost Wasn’t for hen harriers in...
  • Blog Post: Never presume to assume #1

    “ Assumptions are dangerous things to make, and like all dangerous things to make -- bombs, for instance, or strawberry shortcake -- if you make even the tiniest mistake you can find yourself in terrible trouble .” – Lemony Snicket, A Series of Unfortunate Events As Skydancer fast...
  • Blog Post: Spotlight on sport shooting and birds of prey

    What a week it's been! The announcement of Defra's proposals to (amongst other things) destroy unoccupied buzzard nests and remove "problem" adults into captivity, as part of a trial management project to protect young pheasants at their release pens, caused national uproar on a scale...
  • Blog Post: Is coexistence really possible?

    That is the million-dollar question posed by Tony in response to last week’s Skydancer blog . And boy is it a good one – so good in fact, that I felt it deserved its own blog post. This could be a long one, so for those of you in a hurry, the short answer is: Yes. Of course hen harriers...
  • Blog Post: Farming, shooting & wildlife - the people getting it right

    The subject of farming might at first seem like a bit of a digression for this blog but bear with me – it holds more relevance than you might think. If you haven’t already come across it, the RSPB’s Nature of Farming Award is an annual competition, sponsored by the Daily Telegraph...