Another Hen Harrier disappears, Tarras’ a this year’s bird tagged at Langholm vanished in the Derbyshire Peak District


‘Tarras’, a young hen harrier satellite tagged by Stephen Murphy at Langholm this summer has ‘disappeared’ in the Derbyshire Peak District National Park.

The following statement has been issued on the Langholm blog:

We have concerns for ‘Tarras’ a young female Hen Harrier tagged by Stephen Murphy (Natural England) at Langholm this summer.

The transmitter on the juvenile Hen Harrier Tarras has not transmitted since the 23rd October. The area has been searched and nothing was found and no hen harriers were seen in the area.

The last known fix area is on land owned by United Utilities in the north Peak District.

Tarras flew south from Scotland in the last weeks of September, arriving in the Nottingham area on the 11th October. She then headed north through Staffordshire and was roosting in the Peak District, near to the last known fix area on 13th October.

Tarras’ transmission period (duty cycle) was regular until 23rd October; on 23rd October it ran a complete transmission period (e.g. no sudden cessation of data within the 10hr transmission period). The local weather in the days immediately after 23rd were damp and overcast so this can delay the recharge time. However, by 26th concerns were raised. We have some evidence that suggest this may be a tag failure and we are currently trying to gather more information to help us resolve this.


We would like to know what evidence there might be suggesting there may have been a failure of the Satellite transmitter. Usually these state of the art units are very reliable, with very few know to have failed according to the manufacturer.

If as we suspect, this is another harrier that has been killed and the satellite tag destroyed, it gives credence to what many now believe. Since the petition to ban driven grouse shooting was defeated on the 31st October in London it would appear likely individuals who kill our protected birds of prey on grouse moors may consider they have received a green to carry on their illegal activities. If the present level of killing continues it is possible all hen harriers in England could disappear in the next two years, or even much sooner.

3 comments to Another Hen Harrier disappears, Tarras’ a this year’s bird tagged at Langholm vanished in the Derbyshire Peak District

  • Alastair Henderson

    It has been reported that the Government has no intention of banning driven grouse shooting but will prosecute anyone found to have been involved in raptor persecution – so no change there then.

    Editor’s Comment. Certainly done a great job bringing the killers to justice throughout the Forest of Bowland, eighteen pairs of Peregrines and seven pairs of Hen Harriers all gone following extensive raptor cleansing in this moorland region of west Lancashire. Lets not forget either, in 2014 both Sky and Hope two satellite tagged Hen Harriers and in 2015 the five male Hen Harriers which all disappeared, no one was brought to justice for these crimes, so why should anyone believe anything this government says. Tory MP’s made their feeling plain at the Hen Harrier debate in London held on 31st October, and because of this biased rhetoric the killing appears to have recently intensified.

    On the other hand get caught close to an occupied nest, if you can find one, with a pair of binoculars around your neck trying to protect said nesting birds, expect a huge fine or much worst.

  • paul williams

    You most certainly will if the RSPB Warden has amazing eyesight and can see round corners.

  • adam

    Awful! Can I make a suggestion that instead of having several Hen Harrier day protest’s around the Country, how about having just one mass protest outside of Parliament?
    Surely that would get more publicity and more Government attention.
    If Chris Packham and other wildlife celebrities were to attend too. Instead of spreading our resources in small pockets why not have one big protest event to get maximum attention?