Hen Harrier day

Hen Harrier day

Wild Justice Hen Harrier day attracted over 1,500 people to Carsington Water in Derbyshire on the 11th August, the day before the infamous ‘(In)Glorious 12th’ - the beginning of the driven Grouse shooting season in Scotland and the Peak District of England.

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A male Hen Harrier, flying free over a winter landscape in Somerset, safe from gamekeepers.

Hen Harrier day was first held at Derwent Dam in 2014 to draw attention to the plight of the majestic and persecuted 'Sky Dancer'.

So called because of the male's striking aerobatic display flight for the female, the Hen Harrier has been blamed for the woes of the driven grouse industry and for supposedly destroying millions of young grouse across the upland areas of the UK. Given that numbers of Hen Harriers across England are now in the region of 50 pairs it is clearly not a accurate depiction. Respected members of the shooting community confirm this.

After an interview by the BBC and an introduction by Mark Avery, Iolo William stirred up the crowd with his rousing talk and some Welsh fire and brimstone - listen to his whole speech here or watch an extract on the video below.

The fate of the Hen Harrier looks bleak

In 2013, Simon Barnes wrote this about the Hen Harrier in the Times:

'Hen Harrier extinction: looks bad on the old CV. Extinction. It's a big word, a big concept. Extinction can be local or it can be global; local extinctions generally prefigure global ones. To get close to wiping out the breeding population of an entire nation is a remarkable achievement, especially since the whole process is against the law. Are we going to accept this, I wonder? Or will we do something to stop it?'

Despite everyone's best efforts, adults and juveniles alike are being illegally killed on the Grouse moors of the UK, along with Golden Eagles, Peregrines, Buzzards and Mountain Hares. Ethical estates blame the rogue few, but with an unwillingness to name or shame and a lack of self-regulation in the Grouse industry, there seems to be little option but to licence Grouse moors, or to totally ban driven Grouse shooting across the UK.

Wild Justice are working very hard to draw attention to this and related issues with the help of their many supporters.

Ruth Tingay is well known for her work on Raptor persecution in Scotland.

Dominic Dyer is known for his work on Badger conservation, opposing the Badger cull and his writing for ‘The Ecologist’.

He is also well known for being a fiery speaker - as Mark Avery put it at the end of Dominic’s speech “The weather forecast was Thunder and Lightening” “Pure, essential, Dominic Dyer, every afternoon ought to have a bit of that.”

Take a listen below:

Chris Packham closed the event with the help of moving poems and writings by local school children

The BBC interviewed each of the members of Wild Justice

Thanks were extended to so many people for their help with the day including Severn Trent Water for the use fo the site, to Derbyshire Wildlife trust, the speakers and over 1500 people who were confirmed to have attended the event.

I was filming and recording sound at Hen Harrier day for Wild Justice, on a pro bono basis.