Yesterday Mark Avery wrote a blog about DEFRA’s ridiculous hen harrier brood meddling plan, due to start this year.
In his blog, Mark reminded us that in 2016 there were four young hen harriers that were satellite-tagged at two nests on Forestry Commission land in Northumberland, as mentioned in this local newspaper article last summer.
Since the summer of 2016, we’ve been able to follow the movements of two of those birds because their sat tags were fitted by the RSPB, who have posted fortnightly updates on the RSPB Hen Harrier Life Project website. One of those birds (Finn) is still alive, and the other one (Carroll) is dead.
So what of the other two birds, tagged in Northumberland by Natural England?
Well, one of them was called Mick, and we were told nothing about this bird until a few days ago when we learned he’d ‘disappeared’ in the Yorkshire Dales National Park just before Xmas 2016.
The other one, we’ve learned on the grapevine, is/was called ‘John’. Again, we’ve been told nothing of this bird’s movements since he fledged last summer – we don’t even know if he’s still alive.
Nothing like a bit of public engagement, eh Natural England?
We’ll need to update our record on the fate of the class of 2016, now we know about Mick & John. So here it is:
Hen harrier Elwood – ‘disappeared’ in the Monadhliaths just a few weeks after fledging (Aug ’16).
Hen harrier Brian – ‘disappeared’ in the Cairngorms National Park just a few weeks after fledging (Aug ’16).
Hen harrier Donald – missing in northern France, presumed dead (Autumn ’16).
Hen harrier Hermione – found dead on Mull, believed to have died from natural causes (Sep ’16).
Hen harrier Rowan – found dead in Yorkshire Dales National Park. He’d been shot (Oct ’16).
Hen harrier Tarras – ‘disappeared’ in the Peak District National Park (Oct ’16).
Hen harrier Beater – missing in Scottish Borders, presumed dead (Nov ’16).
Hen harrier Bonny – ‘disappeared’ in the North Pennines, presumed dead (Dec ’16)
Hen harrier Mick – ‘disappeared’ in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, presumed dead (Dec ’16).
Hen harrier Carroll – found dead in Northumberland, PM revealed a parasitic disease & two shotgun pellets (Jan ’17).
Ten down, seven to go (Aalin, DeeCee, Finn, Harriet, Wendy, Sorrel, John).