Henry’s tour day 27: where Bowland Betty breathed her last

Tues 12 May  Copy

Henry is visiting the Swinton Estate today – a vast area of moorland in the Yorkshire Dales that is managed for driven grouse shooting.

This is a particularly poignant visit. In July 2012, not very far from where this photo was taken, the dead body of Bowland Betty was found.

Bowland Betty was a young hen harrier from a 2011 nest in Bowland, Lancashire. She was named after Bet Lynch, the barmaid from Corrie. Bowland Betty was satellite-tracked and the public followed her movements across England and Scotland until her miserable death the following year. She’d been shot. You can read her story here.

You might also be interested in the Countryside Alliance’s view of this crime – here.


2 Responses to “Henry’s tour day 27: where Bowland Betty breathed her last”

  1. 1 paul irving
    May 13, 2015 at 6:10 am

    A true heart of darkness in the Nidderdale AONB, not only where Bowland Betty breathed her last but where harrier nests and adults have nearly always disappeared. 1994: adults disappeared leaving intact nest and clutch. 1995: skydancer disappeared after 1 week. 2001: food pass seen in June from road ( FMD year no access at all) birds not seen again. 2002: keepers caught looking for harrier nest on neighbours, turned off by keeper, nest successful! 2003: gas gun put in gill where pair displaying, pair disappeared. 2004: 9 different harriers on estate in spring with some dispaly no nests found. 2005: 2 pairs disappeared during nest building. 2006: 2 pairs disappeared during nest building. Head keeper watched crouched by landrover on public road with gun as harrier approached, fortunately she veered off. 2007: pair disappeared leaving intact nest and clutch. Peregrines first occupied a site on the estate in 1981 but have never reared young, only time young hatched found poisoned on ledge. 1997 gas gun in area of goshawk nest, there are now no goshawks on the estate although there were regularly two pairs 1992-1997, one pair 1998-2006. Frequent encounters with buzzards, red kites harriers, sparrowhawks, goshawks and peregrines with instant asymetric moult ( Malta moult) for last 25 years. Both Eagle Owl and Hen Harrier allegedly killed in grouse drives. Poisoned kite found on estate, 1996 Scottish tagged kite disappeared on estate never seen again. One member of estate shoot told a colleague they “account for” one raptor per year per 100 acres on the moor.

    They claim its a legitimate sport!

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