Friday and Saturday 16th and 17th April 2021 – Slape and Lancelot and Dalton areas (Birds Foot Sedge and Herb Paris)

Had more beauties today whilst travelling up Slape Lane and into Lancelot Clark Storth. I wanted to check out the Birds Foot Sedge and pleasantly surprised after last years disaster when we had none.  I noticed this sever plants already coming thr…

Arctic Terns begin moving through

Very light SE breeze early on, freshening and shifting to west after lunch. Sunshine all day.Middleton Nature Reserve Ringing report from Pete:I think this morning was quite quiet as Middleton was in a pocket of still air.  Two Lesser Redpoll…

Whoopers take a long break

Almost breathless early on, what breeze there was stated from the southeast. Sunshine all day.Middleton Nature Reserve Ringing report from Alan:Another frosty start at Middleton with no wind and clear sky. A very light southerly breeze got up duri…

Sedge warbler arrives

An overcast morning with hardly any breeze, what little there was started from the east then swung round to west. Sunny spells from lunchtime onwards.Middleton Nature Reserve Ringing report from Jean:It was fairly quiet this morning at Middleton N…

Tuesday 13th March 2021 – Slape Lancelot etc (With lots more below)

 A quick check out of Slape, Lancelot etc. (approx 1630hrs)Found a new population of “Town Hall Clock” (Moschatel) which was very nice. Also my first descent Bluebell quite close to Bluebell Wood. Other nice bits and pieces.Lovely Spring Cinquefoi…

Slowly Does It

Tuesday proved to be another non-event with just 5 birds caught and zero records for the migration stats. I’d met Andy at 0700 for another ringing session, hopefully one where the weather on the day matched the forecast of Monday evening; at last,…

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Ring Ousel and Redstart

Very light but cool wind. Overcast till mid afternoon, then some sunshine.Middleton Nature Reserve Ringing report from Alan:Another unseasonal cold start at Middleton this morning.Nets set on both east and west sides from 06.00.Willow Warbler…

Blog Post: Eyes to the skies for returning hen harriers

Buzzard, kestrel… or hen harrier? It’s that time of year when we invite you all to look out for hen harriers as they return to their breeding grounds. If you think you’ve seen a hen harrier, please email: henharriers@rspb.org.uk A female hen harrier, credit Tim Jones Hen harriers are medium-sized birds of prey, similar to a buzzard but with a slightly slimmer appearance, with long wings and a long tail. Female and young hen harriers are speckled brown and cream with horizontal stripes on their tails. The most striking feature is the patch of white at their rump. Males are slightly smaller and pale grey with black wingtips. Both have a round, owl-like face. As the weather warms up, these birds are becoming more visible as they make their long journeys away from their winter roosting grounds and up to the moors to breed. Hen harriers nest on the ground amongst heather or soft rush in the uplands, in places like the North Pennines, Yorkshire Dales and the Forest of Bowland. You maybe even lucky enough to encounter their skydancing display, a dizzying aerial show of rolls and dives, performed by either the male and female to mark their territory and demonstrate their vigour. Hen harriers are the UK’s most persecuted bird of prey and on the brink of extinction as breeding bird in England. There were only 19 successful nests in England in 2020, though there is food and habitat to support over 300 hen harrier pairs. A male hen harrier, credit Jack Ashton-Booth The RSPB’s Jack Ashton-Booth said : “We are calling on the Great British public to email our Hen Harrier Hotline if they believe they’ve seen a hen harrier. This helps us build a picture of where these birds are. Please contact us if you see them in England, Wales or Scotland. We welcome any sightings and appreciate your time. “Hen harriers are beautiful and elusive raptors and, unlike peregrines and kestrels, they are rarely seen in urban environments. So if it’s perched on your fence, it’s probably a sparrowhawk, if it’s in a tree by the roadside, it’s probably a kestrel or a buzzard… but if it’s over rough pasture or moorland, and matches the description above, then you might have seen a hen harrier. “Sadly hen harriers are a long way from reaching a healthy, self-sustaining population, and this is largely down to persecution by humans. Particularly where land is managed for the purpose of driven grouse shooting, natural predators like hen harriers can be viewed as pests and, despite being legally protected, the shooting, trapping and poisoning of hen harriers is a serious and ongoing problem.” If you think you’ve seen a hen harrier, please email: henharriers@rspb.org.uk Please include the date, time, location/grid reference and a description of the bird.

If it wasn’t for small green birds……

 ……Alice and I would have had an even more miserable ringing session than we did on Saturday morning at our Hodder Valley ringing site! It was cold again, minus 4 Celsius in fact, to start, with clear skies and a light northerly breeze. T…