Monday, 30 September 2013

Autumn on the moor

Apologies for the lack of maps for Harrier update, technological issues, I'll get maps up as soon as I can. No major changes from last week, Miranda evidently likes the area north of Leadhills, she has now been there about 10 days. Recently quite flighty, she has visited Kielder, Northumberland, then a brief flight home before heading 60  odd km north west. Miranda is now quite predictable in her landscape use, not flying out of an area measuring approximately 10 x 4 km.
Blue remains in and around Eskdalemuir and Grainne and Hattie are still on Langholm moor, favouring Roan fell.

A different view of Langholm moor taken from Moricambe Bay on the Solway. Many thanks to John Wright for these photographs.

 It is feeling very autumnal on and around the moor, colours changing and fungi. like these Fly agaric, popping up all over the moorland edge.

Violet Ground Beetle

Many of the small birds Siskins and Redpoll in particular are moving in large flocks around the Silver birch woodland making use of the abundance of natural food and the Rowan trees are having a bumper berry year which will be good news when the Fieldfares and Redwing arrive back.  We've been enjoying some fantastic views of raptors on the moor too, several of the young harriers are still around and this young osprey was spotted on its migration south a couple of weeks ago. The young male osprey was following the path of the Tarras when it was mobbed by a Goshawk. Osprey is not a raptor we see on the moor very often so a real treat and Goshawk is a bird that always gets my heart racing. I was sat at the moorland bird feeding station yesterday when a female Goshawk dropped in over the trees and flew just a couple of metres above the ground towards me.. banking just metres over my car and away.. that sight must strike fear into the hearts of the small birds feeding there but left me buzzing with adrenaline.. what a bird!!

Juvenile male Goshawk mobbing a juvenile male Osprey

many thanks to John Wright for these photographs.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Langholm Harrier update 23rd September

This map shows movements in the week up to 23rd September. Grainne seems fairly settled on Langholm moor, and Hattie is not moving far from home either. Blue has begun to explore Eskdalemuir and the area west of Langholm, and Miranda has spent her week at Leadhills.

 One of the tagged birds  (Miranda I think) having their tag safely fitted by Stephen Murphy.

Grainne (Celtic for Grace)
After fledging, often all we see of these beautiful birds is a dot on a map.. here's a little reminder of  what stunning creatures they are.

The four tagged birds Blue, Grainne, Miranda and Hattie are four of ten young Hen Harriers that fledged from Langholm Moor in 2013. Sadly after fledging we hear very little of these non sat tagged birds.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

 Langholm Harriers

 Strong Autumn winds, heavy rain and changing colours are all indications that that summer is over. How will the Langholm Harriers cope with these challenging conditions?

Grainne is sticking to a fairly small home range on Langholm moor.

Miranda has shifted north-west to Leadhills, into an area visited by previously tracked birds. She has covered at least 158km in the last 10 days.

After a brief trip to Northumberland, Hattie returned to the natal having travelled 99.8 kms in 10 days. A couple of nights ago she roosted within 900m of Grainne.

Blue is still circumnavigating the natal area, daily sorties are increasing in distance and in the last 10 days he has travelled at least 111kms. 

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

'Inspired by Moorlands'  Art Exhibition

 our wonderful collection of moorland-inspired art is on at Langholm Town Hall until Saturday 14th September.

10am - 4pm and 6 - 8.30pm  Wednesday, Thursday and Friday..
10 - 2pm Saturday 14th

 come along and see the great artwork on display.

'Writing the Wild'

 As part of the Environmental Arts Festival Scotland, we organised a creative writing workshop called 'Writing the Wild' led by the wonderful writer Fiona Russell. We had a good turn out, great weather and a fantastic afternoon on the moor.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

'Inspired by Moorlands' art exhibition

As part of  the Environmental Arts Festival Scotland (EAFS) we are hosting a satellite event at Langholm. 'Inspired by Moorlands' is an exhibition of artwork.. paintings, sculpture, poetry, field sketches and digital illustrations.. from local artists and visiting artists inspired by Langholm moor.

Come along to Langholm Town Hall
7th - 14th September
10 - 4pm 6- 8.30pm

a few examples of artwork
' Black Grouse' 2013 Illustration by Ayla Paul

' Blue Hare' Colin Blanchard

Monday, 2 September 2013

Langholm Harriers update

After the activity and energy of a busy breeding season, this time of year can feel very empty. We've been so priviledged to watch the harriers arrive, display, nest build, incubate and raise young. The weeks following fledging were jam-packed with activity. The data from the satellite tags fitted by Steve Murphy at Natural England, allow us to follow the young birds as they begin to explore the world beyond Langholm moor.

The bird's first winter is a dangerous time for any young bird dealing with challenging winter conditions and new habitats. Young harriers (like many raptors sadly) face the added threat of illegal persecution which make this a very nervous time of year too.

In previous years,  some Langholm birds have made spectacular journeys - like McPedro who travelled through France and onto Spain and wintered there...
this map shows McPedro's journey back up to Scotland from Spain after spending his first winter there.

what will 2013/2014 bring for Grainne, Hattie, Blue and Miranda?

Grainne remains fairly settled on the moor, Blue has begun to explore in various directions but still in the general area. Hattie is spending more time on the southern edge of the moor and Miranda has gone furthest and made a move into Northumberland.