Another good year for Pallid Harrier-how many will be killed on Red Grouse Moors?

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Male Pallid Harrier: Just how secure will these birds be when entering Red Grouse Moors?

The raptor migration hot spot at Falsterbo, on the south-western tip of Sweden, is having another great year for Pallid Harriers with 10 seen this week alone and 40 for the autumn total so far. One British birder there managed to record 3 Pallid Harriers in one day! This has been reflected in the UK with this weekends juvenile found in the Peak District adding crowds to the moors looking for harriers. An adult male Marsh Harrier was seen on the Saturday high over the moors passing Stanage Edge near Sheffield but the Pallid was seen around Barbrook Reservoir only 10 miles from Sheffield. An adult male Pallid Harrier was seen in the Highlands near Loch Loyal while another bird was recorded on Shetland with a juvenile seen in Sussex and Cornwall.

All this was happening while the future of our uplands was being debated in Sheffield with the Hen Harrier mentioned in the majority of the lectures. It looks like more Pallid Harriers will be seen in Britain than the number of Hen Harrier chicks reared in the whole of England this year! The question of how safe these rare Pallid Harriers will be coming to Britain remains to be seen, especially when hunting over keepered moorland where the Hen Harrier dare not hunt! One Harrier looks just the same as any other to a gamekeeper.

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Upper Burbage, in the Peak District National Park

With Britain about to leave Europe Union, as far as politics go, the future of many of our birds including protected raptors, must be in doubt as we seem to be the worst country in Europe to look after our wildlife { State of Nature report out 14th September!} and especially when our uplands come into the picture. So has the Derbyshire Pallid Harrier already fallen to the gun? And how can Europe put pressure on Britain to look after its wildlife, or was that why so many of these estate owners voted to ‘leave’ the Union?

1 comment to Another good year for Pallid Harrier-how many will be killed on Red Grouse Moors?

  • JMcCallum

    Does this story mention crowds of people taking to the moor to look for said pallid harrier? Just read a previous article which noted complete failure of nests due to disturbance by potential monitors. Not a gamekeeper in sight. Perhaps there should be more control and licensing of bird watching? Apologies for the cynical tone but the campaign to ban driven grouse dodges the fact that there are numerous reasons for raptor breeding failure. These reasons include poor weather, attack from other BOPs , disturbance, predation etc.

    Editor’s Comment. Jenny, fist let me be unequivocal regarding the disappearance of hen harriers from red grouse moors, these losses are primarily due to human persecution, period. Yes there have been a number, a very small number, of incidents where licensees issued with permits, in particular in the Forest of Bowland, have disturbed nesting sites resulting in said sites being abandoned. Natural England have now addressed this issue by making sure that all raptor workers must now coordinate nest visits to hen harrier sites. There was also an issue with two field workers visiting eagle owl and peregrine nests inappropriately, this was reported to Natural England but the North West Raptor Group where told to stop wasting the time of Natural England. It seems visits to the single eagle owl nest in Bowland this year may also have been restricted because for the first time in a number of years the nest was successful.