Sunday, 7 August 2016

Two Owls meet Iolo Williams

Hen Harrier Day South - Arne RSPB

Jackie rubbing shoulders with Iolo - literally 
This morning Jackie and I were up early and met Liz and headed off to Arne on a slightly overcast morning for "Hen Harrier Day South" at Arne RSPB Reserve.  As many of you know as birders and wildlife enthusiasts Hen Harrier on grouse moors have been devastated by continued illegal persecution. So Two Owls went along to show our support for the cause to stop this continued flaunting of the law that persists on our grouse moors which our government continues to ignore.

We arrived about 9 o'clock and met Luke from Arne RSPB who mentioned that he hadn't gone through the moth trap, so over we went and started working our way through the nights catch.  Fortunately it was quite as good a catch but there was some nice moths with a male and female Four-spotted Footman and a single Diamond-backed which are migrants.  There was good numbers of Black Arches, Straw Dot, Coronet, Maiden Blush, Willow Beauties and Small Magpie and the list goes on.  It was whilst sorting the moth trap a guy came over and stood next to me and showed interest and ask to have a look at one of the trays of moths so I handed him the tray and carried on. To say my mind wasn't in gear properly I suddenly realised it was a welsh accent and took a second glance and here stood next to me was Iolo Williams the TV presenter who was the main speaker for the Harrier Day. (tick).  Liz and Jackie went off to do a little birding before things got underway and I helped Marcus from Dorset Bird Club setting up stands next to his stand.  I ran into a couple of friends and head off for a coffee at the cafe and Iolo went off around the reserve to do a little birding.

male Four Spotted Footman -Arne © Nick Hull

Just before 11o'clock Luke gathered everyone together and we walked out onto Combe Heath where we listened to speeches from Paul Morton (Birds of Poole Harbour), Mark Constantine (Lush cosmetics). Who explained about how by producing a Hen Harrier bath bomb and selling it to raise funds, they have been able to raise over £100,000 which is going to support radio tagging Hen Harriers and other initiatives to save this species from extinction in Britain.
A few of the 260 people on Combe Heath Arne
The RSPB's Southwest Regional Manager Nick Bruce-white and Mark Thomas from the RSPB's wildlife crime unit spoke on what the society is doing and the efforts the crime unit has to go to, to get the evidence to charge these estates and gamekeeper who believe it's ok to break the law and kill Hen Harrier.  
Our Speakers and the crown of Hen Harrier supporters.
 Last came Iolo Williams who gave a very passionate speech that brought a tear to the odd eye of the 260 people who were there.  He spoke about his first finding of a breeding pair of Hen Harrier at a nest site on a Welsh moor as a teenager and how he still visits the area each year to watch the Hen Harriers and monitor their success. He also made some heart felt comments on what he would like to do to these people who think it's ok to shoot or destroy nesting Hen Harrier which received a very load applause of agreement from the listening crowd.

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