Monday, 29 July 2013

Satellite tag update

 Latest update from Langholm Harriers

 117313 (female) Grainne and 117315 (female) Miranda

117314 (female) Hattie and 117316 (male) Blue

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Harriers @ Langholm

 wow, what a season!.. We have been holding our breath again this year and wondering if we'd see harriers back at langholm.  We have been so lucky to have two nests. A total of ten young harriers have fledged from Langholm moor this year.. and we have been enjoying some spectacular viewing.
 Four of the ten young birds have been sattelite tagged and we will be following their progress on this blog.
There are mixed opinions about giving the harriers 'human' names but we've found that the tag numbers are so similar it makes it very difficult to follow and naming the birds helps people connect with them a little more. The young harriers face a very dangerous journey, the natural dangers facing them mean that their chances of surviving their first winter is already low, but these birds face the added pressure of human persecution.

 So time to meet the birds, because our schools here break up so early for the summer, it is difficult to get help from our fabulous youngsters to name the birds, so this year volunteers on this project have been asked to suggest names for the birds..

(we do not assume the right to name these birds, you can of course call them what you like, but this is our interpretation and we shall use these names to follow the birds in futuremonths, and hopefully years).

 Muckle Knowe

117313  (female)     Grainne (pronounced Grawn-ye)  this name was suggested by Fiona Russell

Fiona said, ‘I am flattered to have the opportunity to name a hen harrier chick. I was up in Inverness-shire at the end of April on a course and had the unexpected joy of seeing a pair of harriers.  The course, focussing on environmental issues and wildlife writing, also had elements of myth and folklore.  From this, and my interest in Celtic tales, and from seeing the harriers during the course, I decided to name the chick Grainne. Grainne is a central figure in the Middle Irish text, Grainne and Finn. I had thought of Dervla, meaning ‘the poet’s daughter,’ but I preferred the name Grainne. It is not unlike the Gaelic word for sunshine, grian.  I hope this chick will grow to be a successful breeding hen harrier, and one that will have many days flight in the sun.’

117315   (female)     Miranda (named after the comedienne) this one was named by the local Langholm Explorer Scout group who have done so much for this project.. fantastic group of young people..


117314 (female)      Hattie (Our wonderful Moorland Musical featured a  song called  ‘Grouse free diet’, written by Aly McCluskie which stars Hattie the harrier)

117316 (male)        Blue (This name was inspired by Blue-gled the Scottish name for a male hen harrier)

 Grainne 117313 (female) and Miranda 117315 (female) .. first flights

 117314 Hattie (female) and 117316 Blue (male)


Wednesday, 17 July 2013

July 2013

This wonderful period of weather has created some fantastic opportunities to enjoy the moorland vegetation; the cotton grass and bog asphodel is looking wonderful, young heather can be found in abundance in the areas managed for restoration and the main swathes of heather are looking healthier than they have for several years.

We are lucky at Langholm to enjoy views of  a range of moorland birds including Red and Black Grouse, passerines such as Whinchat, Stonechat, Skylark and Meadow Pipit, waders including Curlew and Lapwing and a range of raptors - Merlin, Short Eared Owls, Raven, Peregrine and Hen Harrier.

The Hen Harriers are perhaps the most well known - a bird suffering serious persecution  - such an incredible bird to watch. I am a firm believer that unless the general public are encouraged to watch and appreciate these birds, their future is bleak to say the least. Hen Harriers are a Schedule 1 protected species and it is illegal to approach the nest or disturb the birds, but it is possible to get very good views of the adult birds from the road withiut causing any disturbance.  We will have video clips form the nest cameras posted on here as soon as I get them edited and we are hoping to be able to follow the progress of the satellite tagged harriers on this blog over the coming months. As soon as I have access to data it will be posted here.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Langholm Hen Harriers 2013

The Merlin have now fledged and we have moved the nest camera onto one of the Hen Harrier nests at Langholm. We will upload more video clips as we get them. Here is a short clip of the male Harrier delivering  some diversionary food (a white rat) to the chicks in the nest. what a bird!