After the incredible weather we have enjoyed over the last couple of months, the rain has returned to remind us here at Langholm not to get too comfortable! In between the heavy rain showers, it is the perfect time to get out and enjoy the moor. It is at this time of year that heather moorland comes into it own and wows us with stunning displays of violet.. Sadly the rusty brown colouration of heather affected by the heather beetle grub has made an appearance at Langholm again this year; not as extensively as in previous years but it always seems to be by the roadside so is often the first view you get crossing the moor. If you look a little further afield and there are some wonderful views to be enjoyed.
|August on Langholm moor|
|Healthy Heather in full flower (Tom Hutton)|
|Heather affected by Heather Beetle (Tom Hutton)|
|Heather Beetle grubs (Laurie Campbell)|
|Young Harriers hunting on the moor (Tom Hutton)|
As we've mentioned in previous posts Hen harriers have had an incredible breeding season at Langholm with a total number of 12 nests. We can confirm (thanks to www.langholmproject.com) that there were 12 females, and 9 males (6 monogamous and 3 bigamous). Ten of these nesting attempts were successful and fledged 47 young (brood sizes between three and six), which is more than in all previous breeding seasons since the start of the project combined. The two failed nesting attempts were deserted during incubation (one secondary female and a very late nesting attempt).
Hattie and Grainne (both female birds fledged from Langholm in 2013 and both bred this year) are still exhibiting their strong bond to Langholm moor and are showing no signs of varying from that pattern. Annie (Grainne's daughter), however, has exhibited the opposite pattern of behaviour from her mother, leaving the natal area around a month after leaving the nest. This opportunity to follow a mother and daughter is throwing up some really interesting questions - such as what drives one harrier to leave the moor after a month and another to stay for a year? We have not yet received data about Sid (male chick fledged from Langholm this year) but look forward to seeing what he is up to and will share this data, here, as soon as we can.
Annie has flown 85km East and is currently in Northumberland, south west of Wooler.
|Hattie, Grainne and Annie 10th - 15th August|
Miranda did not breed this year but is doing is ok in Northern Ireland.. her tag is not behaving quite as expected (so we can't bring you a map at this time) but visual sightings confirm she is safe.