News archive

June 2017

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

How you can help our Bowland Raptors

How you can help our Bowland Raptors

On behalf of the North West Raptor Group we are announcing this years venue of the groups fourth Hen Harrier Day, on the Green from 10.30 at Dunsop Bridge, in the heart of the scenic Forest of Bowland. Please Share this important information.

This year speakers include the Former RSPB Ecologist Brian Etheridge, Luke Steele and Natalie Bennett and last but not least Nick Miles (Jimmy from Emmerdale).

Some good news about the ST ANNES PEREGRINES

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

UK hen harrier population suffers decline according to latest figures

UK hen harrier population suffers decline according to latest figures

Hen harriers are one of the most threatened bird of prey in the UK
Latest hen harrier survey reveals UK population in 2016 of 545 territorial pairs, a drop of 88 pairs since the last national survey in 2010.

Scotland remains the stronghold for the UK hen harrier population, with 460 pairs.

In England the hen harrier remains on the brink of extinction as a breeding species with just four territorial pairs in 2016. Northern Ireland and Wales also both report a decline in numbers in the past six years.

Longer term figures show dramatic decline of 204 pairs (27%) in the last twelve years.

The hen harrier population has suffered a decline of 88 pairs (13%) over the past six years with a total UK population estimated to be 545 pairs, according to the latest figures from the fifth national hen harrier survey.

Known for their majestic skydancing ritual, this graceful bird is one of the most threatened birds of prey in the UK. Historically hen harriers were once a much more widespread breeding species before they were driven to extinction in mainland Britain during the 19th century. Despite its comeback, the species has remained rare in the UK with a breeding population under 1000 pairs making it vulnerable to the effects of habitat loss, weather and illegal killing.

Scotland remains the stronghold for UK hen harriers with an estimated 460 pairs in 2016, around 80 per cent of the UK population. This estimate is nine per cent below the best estimate in 2010 of 505 pairs. The west Highlands continue to provide a home for the majority of Scotland's breeding harriers (estimated 175 breeding pairs), while Orkney and the Hebrides were the only areas of the country to show a slight increase in the number these birds.

The survey also revealed that the hen harrier remains on the brink of extinction as a breeding species in England as the population fell from 12 pairs in 2010 to just four pairs last year. Estimates from the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) suggest there is potential habitat to support at least 300 pairs of hen harrier in England, highlighting the desperate situation they face.

The hen harrier population had been slowly recovering in Wales since re-colonising in the late 1950s but the latest figures show that the number of pairs has fallen by more than a third over the past six years, from 57 to 35. This is the lowest population that has been seen in Wales for over a decade.

With 46 pairs, Northern Ireland also experienced a decline in pairs after 59 were recorded in the previous survey. Hen harriers were also surveyed on the Isle of Man, in partnership with Manx BirdLife, with numbers remaining stable at 30 pairs, up one on the 2010 total.

Longer term figures highlight the dramatic decline the UK hen harrier population has suffered over the past twelve years. The national survey in 2004 pointed to an estimated 749 pairs, meaning hen harrier numbers have fallen by 204 pairs (39%) in the years following.

Martin Harper, RSPB Conservation Director, said: "The hen harrier is one of our most wonderful birds of prey, to see one soaring through the air before dramatically diving down during its thrilling skydancing display is an iconic sight and one that will always take your breath way. These are sights that we should all be able to enjoy. Unfortunately, we are being robbed of the chance to see these beautiful birds flourish throughout the UK countryside."

The reasons for the population changes are likely to be a combination of factors that vary from region to region. From previous research, it is known that the main factor limiting the UK hen harrier population is illegal killing of these birds associated with driven grouse moor management in northern England and parts of mainland Scotland. Other pressures such as cold and wet weather conditions over a number of breeding seasons, changes in habitat management and low prey abundance could have all had an impact on numbers throughout the UK.

Martin Harper added: "The latest figures back up a continued trend that we have seen for more than a decade - hen harrier numbers are on the decline throughout the UK. The illegal killing of this bird of prey is a significant factor behind the diminishing numbers and a large barrier stopping their recovery. Without purposeful action from all, including governments across the UK and the shooting industry, we may see hen harriers once again lost from more parts of the country."

The UK wide survey was carried out from the beginning of April to the end of July last year and as a partnership between RSPB, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), Natural Resource Wales (NRW), Natural England (NE), the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, the Scottish Raptor Study Group, the Northern Ireland Raptor Study Group, Northern England Raptor Forum and Manx BirdLife. It was co-funded by SNH, NRW and RSPB with the fieldwork being carried out by expert licensed volunteers and professional surveyors.

Eileen Stuart, Scottish Natural Heritage Head of Policy & Advice, said: "While Scotland remains the stronghold for hen harriers in the UK, the continuing decline is a serious concern particularly the low numbers found in parts of the mainland. We're committed to continuing to work with a wide range of partners to tackle wildlife crime through PAW Scotland, including initiatives such as Heads up for Harriers, and General Licence restrictions where evidence supports such action. Scottish Natural Heritage and Forestry Commission Scotland have set up a joint Raptor Working Group to identify and promote the opportunities of forestry for raptors, including hen harriers, to sustainably deliver Scottish Government environmental and forestry policy."

Simon Wotton, lead author of the study, said: "This UK-wide survey required a monumental effort from a number a number of different funders, organisations and volunteers - without their help, dedication and expertise we wouldn't be able to build up this accurate picture of these magnificent birds of prey. We hope these results will convince all those who are in a position to help hen harriers to take positive steps to ensure their protection and rebuild the UK's hen harrier population for people to enjoy for generations to come."

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

A sad day for Hale birds and their watchers

A sad day for Hale birds and their watchers

Read the story on the Pickerings pasture website :

Sunday, 11 June 2017


Thursday, 1 June 2017

Go wild in your park with the RSPB

Go wild in your park with the RSPB

RSPB Connecting with Nature report revealed that only one in five children are connected with nature and are not spending a healthy amount of time outside.
The RSPB and ALDI have today launched the Wild Parks project aimed at getting families to take a step closer to nature by discovering the wild side of their city.
Families will be able to join an RSPB expert in parks across Liverpool throughout the summer.

With the amount of time children and families are spending outside in nature in decline, Europe's largest conservation charity and discount supermarket ALDI, are challenging families to get out and go wild in their local city park this summer with the RSPB.
The RSPB Connecting with Nature report revealed that children in the UK were missing out on a wealth of mental and physical benefits from not spending enough time outside, with only one in five having a healthy connection to nature.
To encourage more children and their families to take a step closer to nature the RSPB has launched Wild Parks aimed at getting people to uncover the wild side of their city.
From now until September, families will be able to join an RSPB expert in parks across Liverpool for a range of fun and engaging activities aimed at helping families take their first steps on their own wild adventure. There are a number of activities on offer ranging from minibeast safaris and scavenger hunts to bioblitzing and national treasure hunts, which are all free and do not require pre-sign up.
Mary Breeze, RSPB Wild Parks Family Events Officer for Liverpool, said: "Families gain so much from being outside exploring and discovering nature. Summer is the perfect time to get outside and connect with the natural world. You don't have to travel far from home to embark on your wild adventure; there is loads of wildlife just waiting to be discovered in your local park. From bugs to butterflies, hedgehogs to house sparrows - it's always a thrill to see what wildlife is making its home there.
"Getting outside and discovering nature is important whether your motivation is happy healthy children, memorable family time or to see our towns and countryside richer in nature. The opportunity to connect with nature should be a part of every child's life and the RSPB Wild Parks project is here to help every family to explore the wild side of their city."
Wild Parks also offers the opportunity for families to start their own wild adventure at home with the RSPB Wild Challenge. With 24 activities to choose from, the Wild Challenge will take you from your own back garden to exploring wildlife in towns, cities, woodlands and even the coast. Participants can then log their achievements on the Wild Challenge website in order to collect their bronze, silver and gold awards.
The RSPB's ambition is for the Wild Challenge to help more families across the country reap the benefits of spending time outside in nature. Research has shown that children who have a healthy connection to nature are more likely to benefit from higher achievement at school, better mental and physical health, and develop stronger social skills.
Jonathan Neale, Joint Managing Director of Corporate Buying at Aldi, said: "We're proud of what our partnership with the RSPB has achieved so far, and are pleased to help promote the importance of safeguarding the environment, while helping families get closer to nature through this new Wild Parks initiative."
For further information about park events happening near you, visit
To start your own wild adventure, visit

Saturday 3 June
Wild Parks - Stanley Park
Sunday 4 June
Wild Parks - Newsham Park
Wednesday 7 June
Wild Parks - Wildlife Workshop - Stanley Park