Two male hen harriers ‘disappear’ from a grouse moor in Peak District National Park

Two male hen harriers, both with active nests, have ‘disappeared’ in suspicious circumstances from a grouse moor in the Peak District National Park.

The Peak District Raptor Monitoring Group has announced the two subsequent nest failures, both which contained five eggs when the females abandoned the sites earlier this month.

[One of the abandoned hen harrier nests. Photo by Peak District Raptor Monitoring Group]

Both nests were on a grouse moor in the Upper Derwent Valley owned by the National Trust and leased to a tenant.

A full report is expected from the Peak District Raptor Monitoring Group at the end of the season.

Meanwhile, I’ll need to update that running tally of illegally-killed / missing hen harriers…

UPDATE 11th May 2022: 70 hen harriers confirmed ‘missing’ or illegally killed since 2018, most of them on or close to UK grouse moors (here)

UPDATE 28th May 2022: Big decisions for National Trust’s policy on grouse moors in Peak District National Park after latest loss of hen harriers (here)

36 thoughts on “Two male hen harriers ‘disappear’ from a grouse moor in Peak District National Park”

  1. hopefully it’s a national trust area and the lease will be ended. its well past the point where grouse shooting has to be ended as they demonstrably have no intention of abiding by the law

    1. Who’s not abiding by the law? You’re making out that gamekeepers are killing the harriers. I know for a fact that the gamekeeper on the upper derwent takes the bird ringing people to the nest sites. Just get in contact and they will confirm it. xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx Everyone is quick to jump on the assumption that these birds have been killed by keepers

  2. And even though there is a lot of publicity on the raptor killings/disappearances/persecution it doesn’t deter the criminals. This proves that policing and sentencing/fines must be increased. Estate owners/tenants MUST be held responsible for the crimes taking place on their land.

    1. This is truly sickening. The apparent destruction of two such magnificent creatures and the consequential failure of two nests beggars belief at a time when there is so much emphasis on the supposedly combined efforts of all involved to assist in their recovery. Seemingly there is more than one version of the hymn-sheet in circulation!

      Immediately below the image of the deserted nest shown above it is stated that this is National Trust land. It looks as though both nests may have been on the same tenancy. For one male to disappear could involve accident or other explanation. For two to disappear when they had survived in the area up to the start of the breeding cycle has only one potential explanation. It is hoped that the NT will act swiftly and carry out an investigation in conjunction with the Police.

  3. Dreadful, it is always dreadful and should make us all furious, it certainly does me. The “grouse lobby” will claim of course the males were enticed away by other females, whilst we all know this is bollocks some will swallow this BS. Time the NT stopped all grouse shooting tenancies as they have fox hunting, anything else is too little and too late.

  4. What the hell are the National Trust doing letting their land to a grouse shooting tendentious?

    1. It really does not add up. Similarly, whilst the RSPB do a lot of good work they could do with adopting a ‘100% against’ shooting.

  5. One reason I will not become a National Trust member, they have pretty poor track record of protecting wildlife and woodlands on their land. I’ll stick to supporting the woodland trust, trees for life and other rewilding charities that do not have vested interest that actively trash wildlife and our woodlands pulling their strings.

  6. Well well well!
    Unfortunately I, and many many others, are not shocked (even a little bit), that this is carrying on unabated.
    The grouse lobby will dole out all the excuses, abducted by aliens, gone to fight Russians in the Ukraine etc. we all know what goes on and the sickening thing is that very little can be done to bring the real perpetrators to justice.

  7. The Trust needs to get its act together – is it a national conservation charity or simply a fellow traveller of vested land owner interests ? The Trust urgently needs some successful Hen Harriers – far more than it needs shooting tenants. Time for the sleeping giant of English conservation to wake up.

    1. These birds are just as likely if not more likely to have disappeared away from National Trust owned land. National Trust land and the adjacent Forestry have been a real success story for breeding raptors in recent years

      1. For the NT to manage their land as a grouse moor just helps to sustain neighbouring grouse moors with the inevitable consequences. The NT land was gift to the nation, not to a few privileged individuals who are only interested in killing.

      2. “They flew away” do give over.
        The tracking devices on the birds would have sent that information to the Raptor Monitoring Group, instead of which, the devices were mysteriously destroyed. On both Hen Harriers…. Both of them.

    2. Yes I had thought of that too. And even if the NT ended the lease and turned it into a nature reserve, all of the larger birds of prey would still be vulnerable to persecution when they spent time on other nearby Estates. And – basing this on past experience in other grouse regions – some keepers on those nearby Estates might sneak in to “do a job” that they deem needs doing on NT land (which the NT will not have the resources to protect).

  8. …..and on it goes…every year these sad incidents are reported…and mostly on grouse moors…but so little is done!
    If the NT lease out their land to grouse shoots…it should be made a condition that the shoot pays for a NT employee to monitor all activities on that land throughout the year!! Any misdemeanours….the shoot looses the right to shoot on that land until the following year…or in bad cases..they lose the tenancy period!!
    Close supervision is the only way to prevent these tragic incidents occurring…..year after year!!!

  9. I need to stop visiting this site. It`s the most depressing thing I do in my life and It keeps me awake at night feeling dangerously angry.

  10. If the moor had a shooting Tennent the trust should remove them and no longer have shooting on the moor.

  11. Everybody knows what the NT should do, they should not allow any shooting on their estates. It’s not the first time that Hen Harriers have disappeared on one of their estates and sadly it certainly won’t be the last. Unfortunately in the end it’s all down to money!

  12. It’s a sad killing world we have to tolerate. Thank you for all the posts and I am in awe of the legal actions taken by Legal Justice. Protest is in my poetry and we need more to oppose and make more noise

  13. I asked the Peak District, National Trust about these incidents & this was their reply:

    “It’s deeply concerning to learn of the disappearance of two male hen harriers from the High Peak and the subsequent abandoning of nests by the females. While the circumstances around this incident are not yet clear, it is indefensible that these beautiful birds still face persecution. The incident has been reported to police and we’re working closely with statutory agencies and the RSPB to find out what happened. We want to see a landscape that is full of wildlife, including birds of prey, and we work hard with a range of expert partners to create the right conditions for these species to thrive. Over the past few years we have seen several instances of successful hen harrier breeding in the Peak District.” 12th May Peak District, National Trust

  14. Reply from Peak District National Trust Office after I sent them a link to this article:

    Dear Richard

    Thank you for taking the time to email us.

    It is deeply concerning to learn of the disappearance of two male hen harriers from the High Peak and the subsequent abandoning of nests by the females.

    We want to see a landscape that is full of wildlife, including birds of prey, and we work hard with a range of expert partners to create the right conditions for these species to thrive. Over the past few years we have seen several instances of successful hen harrier breeding in the Peak District.

    While the circumstances around this incident are not yet clear, it is indefensible that these beautiful birds still face persecution.

    The incident has been reported to police and we are working closely with statutory agencies and the RSPB to find out what happened.

    The small number of grouse shooting agreements on land we care for must follow agreed best practice standards, the law and be consistent with our aims for access and conservation. We regularly review our approach to ensure all land management activity helps deliver our vision for nature and carbon.

    Best wishes

    Michelle

  15. Reply from my complain to the National Trust:

    Dear Richard

    Thank you for your email, National Trust is against any illegal form of hunting on any land whether National Trust or otherwise. We would urge you to please contact your local authority with any evidence of illegal hunting taking place in the area so that this can be investigated.

    Kind regards
    Stephen
    Supporter Services Centre
    National Trust

  16. Reply to my follow up request to table a motion at the next AGM to stop renting land for killing. I am a member so will go through the process to submit this request. I will also let the League Against Cruel Sports know.

    Thank you for your reply.

    We understand that there are different views on shooting and fully respect your position. We regularly review our approach to ensure it is evidenced based and safeguards local wildlife populations. We are also working locally with partners to end bird of prey persecution.

    Please be assured that we work closely with the tenants on our land. They help us to diversify vegetation through appropriate moorland management, which benefits a wide range of wildlife. We work hard to manage the land for conservation and to ensure the activities which take place on it are not detrimental to that process.

    To find out how members can submit a resolution for consideration at the AGM please visit https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/procedure-for-members-resolutions. In the meantime, we have noted your feedback.

    Best wishes

    Michelle

    1. Hi Richard, I don’t know that area so can’t form an opinion on how intensively or not it is managed for grouse. But as your correspondent (Michelle) states they “work hard to manage land for conservation” this would imply that they monitor activities and measure the ecological ‘cost/benefit’ of certain practices eg. records of heather burning, catches in stoat traps, snares and crow traps. It also implies they must do surveys of species in order to know what the outcome of said management is. Do they make this data available to members like yourself? If not surely they should do.

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