Langholm Moor demonstration Project- Hen Harrier Update

With only 3 nesting pairs of Hen Harrier in England this year it’s wonderful news to hear about the contrast in numbers on the Langholm estate in the borders of Scotland. In total this summer it is being reported that there were 12 nesting pairs of Hen Harrier; sadly 1 pair failed but currently Langholm moor hold no less than 11 active Hen Harrier nest, most containing chicks. If all these nests prove successful there are likely to be in excess of forty five fledged chicks this summer.

Hen Harrier web01

Significantly, it’s not  just the high number of Hen Harriers on Langholm which are thriving this year, short-eared owls are also doing very will with as many as forty breeding pairs on the estate, possibly a British record for this species in one location. Raptor Politics was recently informed  anyone who visits this scenic moorland region following the road between Langholm and Newcastleton are  likely to observe not only Hen Harriers, but at least 3 additional rare raptor species as well. Yesterday (Saturday 5 July), one group of birders observed  from their vehicle Hen Harrier, Short-eared owl, Hobby and Merlin. The only raptor which nests nearby that wasn’t seen yesterday was the Goshawk which is often seen on the moor. So if you decide to visit Langholm in the next week or so keep your eye open for the Goshawk as well.

Short-eared owl

If there are any birders out there who have not seen a Hen Harrier, take this opportunity to visit Langolm moor  before the season ends when most of the fledged chicks are likely to begin dispersing to other areas. If yesterdays observations are repeated on your visit you will be treated to fantastic views of these rare birds acting naturally within just a few hundred metres of the road.

hen harrier terry-

Hen Harrier with a brood of 4 chicks, photographed on  Langholm moor under licence

One last item of very encouraging good news from the Glen Tanar estate near Aboyne. This season it has been reported a pair of Golden Eagle (2 chicks), Merlin, Peregrine and Goshawk have all successfully nested this year on this estate.Why can’t this kind of success be repeated on other sporting estates? Well done the Glen Tanar estate.

Sunday 6 July Langholm Moor.

Group of birders observe juvenile Hen Harrier attack mountain hair.

You can also log on to the Langholm moorland blogspot here.






2 comments to Langholm Moor demonstration Project- Hen Harrier Update

  • Falcoscot

    So does this “demonstrate” that raptor species can flourish if they are given sufficient protection?

    Editor’s Comment. What has taken place this year at both Langholm and on the United Utilities estates clearly demonstrates that where estates wish to protect the Hen Harrier, the species can do well. These projects, however successful, do not ensure the Hen Harrier’s protection after they migrate onto other moorland used to shoot red grouse, quite the opposite in reality with most Hen Harrier then going missing presumed to have been shot.

  • Circus maxima

    Great news, I hope this is reflected across the rest of the south of Scotland… might be talking about a couple of hundred fledging birds…but…don’t count your chicks before they fledge! Nature will take a good few before the keepers get to them….the one thing we know about harriers is that they don’t have it easy.