Hands off our Hen Harriers: Picnic at Grimwith Reservoir, Yorkshire Dales National Park

We’re told that the picnic/stroll/chat about the lack of Hen Harriers in England this year – ‘a tiny handful’ (RSPB) – will be held at Grimwith Reservoir car park at midday on Saturday (this Saturday! Saturday 25 June).
It will be nice to meet up with many friends and register our anger at the lack of Hen Harriers in the Yorkshire Dales National Park and elsewhere in the English uplands, and in many parts of the UK uplands.
Grimwith Reservoir car park is large and ideally placed for a stroll around the reservoir to take a look at the grouse butts set into the wall on the far side and the line of butts at the eastern end of the reservoir.  There is a clear view (if the weather is OK – surely it will be) across the characteristic chequerboard-pattern of burned heather patches.
Grimwith Reservoir is on the western side of OS Explorer map 298, Nidderdale, at 063641.
See you there perhaps?

Henry’s picnic Sat 25 June: Yorkshire Dales National Park

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Next week, on Saturday 25 June, whether we have voted Brexit or Remain, there will be a Hen Harrier rally to mark this year’s virtual absence of nesting Hen Harriers from the English uplands.
Full details will appear here and elsewhere next Wednesday but we have now been told by the organisers that it will be in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.  Watch this space.

Hands off our Hen Harriers! Picnic rally 25 June 2016, North Yorkshire

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Are you holding the date of 25 June, midday, for a picnic/rally on a grouse moor in North Yorkshire? We are.

We’re looking forward to it.

Apparently this picnic will be in a constituency which has more than 100 signatures on the e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting, is in a National Park, and is approx 40 mins drive from the A1.

But do you turn right or left off the A1?


YDNP Henry



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For those who don’t know, the blind lady is Amanda Anderson, Director, Moorland Association.

Her companion is Robert Benson, Chairman, Moorland Association.

Thanks to the blog reader who sent this in. Priceless!

If you want to see more hen harriers in our uplands, where they belong, take the guide dog’s advice (nothing wrong with his vision) and sign the E-petition to ban driven grouse shooting HERE

Lush Skydancer bathbombs raise over £100K for hen harrier conservation

Henry LUSHIn August last year, Lush, the high street cosmetics store, started selling hen harrier-shaped bathbombs as part of their awareness and fundraising campaign to highlight the illegal persecution of hen harriers on driven grouse moors.

Lush is donating all the profits from the sale of these Skydancer bathbombs to the RSPB’s Hen Harrier LIFE+ Project, with the money specifically being used to buy satellite tags to fit on young hen harriers so their movements can be followed when/if they manage to fledge successfully.

A press release published this morning (here) tells us that so far over 30,000 bathbombs have been sold, raising £101,472 so far. That’s amazing!

Lush’s campaign will continue until August this year so there’s still plenty of time to go and buy a Skydancer bathbomb or two or three from your nearest Lush shop or online via their website.

Well done, Lush, for not only raising a huge amount of funds for such a vital project but also for bringing this campaign to the high street, which is exactly where it needs to be.

Above photo shows Henry Hen Harrier checking out the Skydancer bathbombs on the RSPB’s stand at last summer’s Birdfair.

There’s a guest blog on the RSPB website today written by Paul Morton from Lush Campaigns – see here.

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Henry’s tour day 79: The RSPB, slurs & lies

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Henry received a warm welcome from his friends at the RSPB HQ at The Lodge (photo by Guy Shorrock).

The RSPB has faced an increasing amount of criticism in recent months, from both ‘sides’ of the Hen Harrier ‘issue’.

Some from ‘our side’ have been critical because the RSPB has, so far, refused to sign up to the call for a ban on driven grouse shooting and instead has called for a system of grouse moor licensing. The RSPB’s CEO, Dr Mike Clarke, re-emphasised this position in a speech he made at the CLA Game Fair last Friday (see here). It’s a position that many of us find bewildering and some of us would say the criticism is thus deserved but, as public pressure grows, the RSPB may well re-evaluate its stance. Indeed, Dr Clarke said: “But the longer it takes any industry to address its problems, the stronger those calls [to ban driven grouse shooting] will become“.

Whatever your view on licensing or banning driven grouse shooting, it seems pretty counter-productive to attack an organisation that is doing a great deal of work on ‘our side’ for hen harriers (e.g. see list here), instead of aiming our ire squarely at the organisations responsible for the loss of, literally, thousands of hen harriers through shooting them, trapping them, bludgeoning them to death, poisoning them, burning out their nests and stamping on their chicks. Doesn’t it?

Other criticism of the RSPB has emerged from a group calling itself You Forgot the Birds, fronted by ex-cricketer Ian Botham and funded by the British grouse industry. We’ve blogged about them previously (here, here). In today’s Telegraph (see here), an article penned by ‘journalist’ Javier Espinoza claims that a forthcoming government report (by Natural England) will criticise the RSPB for failing to protect six hen harrier nests this year and, further, that ‘the remaining six successful nests – which were on or next to grouse moors – had no RSPB involvement and performed well’.

That’s very interesting. We’ve spoken to Natural England and have been told no such report exists, nor is one planned. In addition, we also know that the six remaining hen harrier nests in England this year were NOT all on or next to driven grouse moors – far from it!

Mr Espinoza seems to have taken a press release issued by YFTB and just published it without doing any fact checking. Not really a surprise from the Telegraph but an indication of the desperate measures being employed by the British grouse industry. They’re rattled, and so they should be. The social media Thunderclap timed to coincide with Hen Harrier Day (this Sunday) will see over five million simultaneous messages going out at 10am saying ‘We’re missing our hen harriers – and we want them back’. That message will be seen by over five million social media users – there’s still time to sign up and help increase the public reach – sign up here if you have a facebook or twitter account.

The British grouse industry is also rattled by the current e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting, which is doing well – please sign it here.

Henry’s tour day 78: One week ’til Hen Harrier Day!

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This year’s Hen Harrier Day takes place one week today – Sunday 9th August 2015.

Find out what’s happening at events in England and Scotland HERE

Sign up to the social media Thunderclap HERE (current social reach is 3.9 million!)

Sign the petition to ban driven grouse shooting HERE (currently at over 8,000 supporters!)

Henry’s tour day 77: CLA

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Henry went to visit the London HQ of the CLA (Country Land & Business Association), where he also bumped in to Philip Merricks, the Chairman of the Hawk & Owl Trust and a strong proponent of ‘brood meddling’ – a ludicrous policy decision which led to Chris Packham’s resignation as President of the Hawk & Owl Trust.

More on the CLA shortly, as Henry rocked up at the CLA’s Game Fair this weekend….