Because Natural England are unwilling to disclose detail of where hen harriers go off the radar, as you can appreciate detail is sketchy, the information below is what we do know.
One of the tagged 2010 harriers from Langholm, a male, was seen at Moniaivenorth west of Dumfries yesterday (11-10-2012)
A tagged Langholm harrier from a 2011 brood, a female disappeared in the Moorfoot Hills.
A second tagged Langholm harrier from the same 2011 brood was tracked to the northern Pennies, and although the moor was not named Raptor Politics was informed the bird was lost on the Croglin Moor right next to the RSPB reserve at Geltsdale.
A tagged 2011 Bowland female moved north from Bowland into Scotland before moving back to Bowland this year. Since then we have been unable to find any further updates relating to this bird. We do not know where the birds is now, or more importantly, if this bird is dead or alive.
The body of the 2012 satellite tagged Langholm hen harrier, known as Blae, was found dead in Tweeddale in October after trackers noted there had been no movement for days.
Barry, Blae’s smaller sibling which was also satellite tagged was still alive and kicking at Middleton in Teesdale, Durham as of last week.
Urgent Update on the loss of Barry
Very sad news but not unexpected, we must now report that Barry, the male hen harrier which fledged from Langholm this year has now also disappeared off the radar.
Where are the four satellite tagged chicks which fledged fromCumbria this year? Silence in this instance may be ominous, because good news is always give some publicity.
Raptor Politics has received unconfirmed reports that satellite tags had been fitted to 34 hen harriers, but of these tagged birds only one was known to be still alive. We do not know the time scale when these birds were fitted with tags, but are assuming the figure we have been given is a total number of satellite tagged harriers for both Scotland and England. Additionally we were advised that when researchers visited the last tracked locations where the signal went off line, no birds or satellite units could be found. If this detail is correct there is only one conclusion to be drawn, 33 harriers must be dead.
One of the problems for Natural England and the RSPB in England, before any member of their staff are permitted to enter property, including moorland estates, to look for missing hen harriers the landowner must first be alerted to the fact that a harrier has been tracked to a precise location on his property. Next approval from the landowner MUST be obtained to enter the property to look for the harrier. Of course by the time any arrangements have been made to enter the land any harrier remains that might have been found would be long gone. In the case of the missing hen harrier which disappeared on the Groglin moor in 2011, the estate insisted a gamekeeper should accompany the field workers onto the moor.
These units are not cheap , the 9.5 g solar PTT fitted to hen harriers are priced at US $3,050.00; the ground track option is an additional $200. If 34 units were purchased by Natural England using tax payer’s money, the total cost is a staggering $110,500. or almost £69,000. One other issue to consider, if the missing units were removed from dead birds after being killed, would this not amount to theft?