Dawn Marsh Harrier

Dawn Marsh Harrier

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Another Hen Harrier Murder Blights a Good Weekend

After a pleasant day in East Anglia with Sharpy last Saturday, my intention was to do this write up on Sunday morning before taking the mad wife car shopping. Unfortunately I spent Sunday morning pacing the garden like some caged bear, blood virtually boiling out of my ears, following the breaking news that YET ANOTHER male Hen Harrier had been murdered on the Bowland Estate by the Grouse Moor Mafia. Oops I shouldn't say 'murdered' should I?. After all the 4 Bowland males and the Geltsdale bird may have ALL very suddenly and coincidentally died from natural causes. That reminds me, I twitched a flock of pigs circling over Stockers lake today. The huge boar was skydancing for his sows.

These vile atrocities will never stop as long as there is such a thing as 'Driven Grouse Shooting.' Time has run out for talking, negotiating, compromising. Brood meddling? Hawk & Owl Trust hang your heads in shame. We have all but lost this magnificent creature as an English breeding species as these criminal thugs are hell bent on rendering them extinct.Evidence is like the proverbial needle in a haystack and even when prosecutions are successful, sentences are pathetic at best. Please look out for Mark Avery's forthcoming  e petition at http://markavery.info/blog/ and think about signing and persuading anyone you can think of to do likewise. Hen Harrier Day 2015 is on 9th August and the more people who could join us the more publicity we can raise. Please try if you can. Watch for further details at http://henharrierday.org/index.html.

Anyway, now that my bloods calmed to a simmer,back to Saturday and a visit to 2 of RSPB's finest. The last 2 years running, myself and Sharpy have attempted to get up close and personal with a Swallowtail Butterfly... and failed. So Stumpshaw Fen was our destination. When we arrived the sun was rising nicely but a stiff breeze wasn't a great sign. Unsurprisingly there was not a butterfly to be seen around the favoured spot outside the visitors centre, so a circuit of the reserve was in order. The first find of note was a 4 Spotted Chaser in an intermediate stage between teneral and adult giving an eye-catching colour scheme.

The breeze wasn't going to dampen the ardor of a pair of Large Red Damselflies.

This chappy caught my eye but my entomological ignorance means I'm none the wiser as to it's id. Some sort of mimic fly?

A fine male Marsh Harrier was busily patrolling the reed beds.

A Peacock Butterfly offered some hope but with circuit completed, still no Swallowtail. So back to the visitors centre to play the waiting and hoping game. Just another Peacock and the wind was now blowing a hooley. But then, like some flamboyant headline act the prized quarry appeared. It certainly packed a hefty punch of wow factor as it fluttered over the bed of Dames Violet.

So 3rd time lucky and the stunning Swallowtail finally ticked. We decided to see out the day at Lakenheath. A little Bittern was giving itself up very occasionally and well. it's just a nice place. A Hairy Dragonfly was another insect first for us.

Hobbys were out in force with displaying males being a treat to watch.

A good crowd were gathered at the Little Bittern pool and apparently the bird had shown briefly but well in a short flight half an hour before we got there. It had been singing constantly but the gale was now such that you couldn't hear it. We didn't devote too much time to this notorious skulker and carried on round the reserve. If any beetle buffs can help with this little jewel I'd be very grateful.

As we made our way back to the car park a fly past cuckoo brought a nice conclusion to the day.

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