Favourite time of the year!

Flanders Moss, NNR

It is that time of year, my favourite time! Hen Harriers are returning from the highlands to the lowlands to winter roost.

If you have visited Flanders Moss, and have read the interpretation panels you will know that this is no secret. A couple of weeks ago we saw our first male hen harrier for the season down at Loch Lomond NNR, too say I was super stoked to shout out to the group ‘Hen Harrier!’ is an understatement.

Steve is incredibly knowledgeable and whilst he was wowing Ellen (student placement) and Alison (Rural Surveyor) on the Scottish dock, I couldn’t help but feel useless, keeping myself right at the back with the camera, trying to collect some material for a blog. UNTIL……… I noticed something in the far distance, and with no hesitation, no binoculars, shouted Male Hen Harrier, with a fist pump in the air.

Some may think that is a bit extreme but when I first started with the NNRs 3 years ago as a student placement, Dave asked me to think of a project to make the most out of my year and I chose the Hen Harrier. I never knew anything about the Hen Harrier so let’s just say during my year as a student placement their were many incidents where I had thought I had seen one, got people’s hopes up to then be told it was a gull. One thing I have learnt is everyone doesn’t know everything and everyday is a school day.

On Wednesday I had a site visit to Flanders with a group of Stirling University Students (blog will soon follow) but standing on top of the tower I noticed the first Hen Harrier (male) at Flanders Moss, it was around 9.30am and I would presume this was it leaving its roosts for the day as he headed East.

This was taken in 2016 during my time student placement (I didn’t have an opportunity last week to try and capture the Male leaving the moss)

Over the winter months the team will be carrying out Hen Harrier winter roost counts at Flanders Moss. If you would like to join and learn more about this species then email stirlingnnrs@nature.scot

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