Friday, 19 August 2016

Hen Harrier Diaries: Entry No. 6

After an extremely busy few months we have finally decided on the six pairs we are going to follow for the Hen Harrier Diaries 2016, the six pairs are all situated in territories from the Stacks to Mullaghariek Mountains Special Protection Area for Hen Harriers, after a few anxious moments at the start of the breeding season all six pairs settled down and are well on their way with their breeding attempt with the females either incubating eggs and some even have young chicks.

Introducing the pairs:

Pair 1. Penny.
The young female from the 2015 Hen Harrier Diaries, Penny had an outstanding season last year rearing three beautiful young Hen Harriers, and again this year she is off to a flyer, she has chosen to nest relatively close to last year's nest and is in close proximity to a mature sitka spruce plantation, this is a treacherous location with an abundance of predators lurking nearby, she is currently incubating eggs and we believe she might have at least one chick, the male is now either landing in the nest with food or dropping it straight into the nest this is a good indication that they might be young in the nest.

Pair 2. Heather's Mom and Dad.
It's wonderful to see this pair back again this year for another attempt at breeding, hopefully they can produce something the same as last year. These two are really making us work hard to find the exact nest location, hopefully for the next update we will have the nest located and maybe even news of chicks in the nest. 

Pair 3. The Glen Nesters.
These two are professionals at rearing young, rearing three chicks last year, they have again chosen the secluded Glen as their preferred nesting location, the secluded Glen was thrown into chaos at the start of the breeding season with another male and female present, the resident male had to use every ounce of energy to show his unwanted guests who the king of this Glen was, all is peaceful now in the Glen, and the female is now incubating eggs while the male is kept busy keeping a watchful eye over his territory and providing his female with food.

Pair 4.
This pair have again decided to nest in the same location as the previous two years, it's an area where turf cutting is active, last year they reared one chick. Two pairs were active here at the start of the breeding season and we could possible have two pairs, hopefully we will have more information on the second pair for next update, the female of the resident pair is currently incubating eggs, the male is kept busy supplying food for the female and defending his territory from any intruders.

Pairn 5.
After an outstanding breeding season last year rearing 3 Beautiful chicks pair 5 are back again this year, hopefully they can produce the same result again result as last year, they have again decided to nest close to last years nest on a steep slope of gorse and heather, this female is also incubating eggs while the male is extremely busy evicting other males from a neighbouring territories out of his territory.

Pair 6.
This is a new pair to the Hen Harrier Diaries, they nest in a territory that has records of Hen Harriers breeding as far back as 1955, their preferred nesting location is also a steep Glen covered in heather bramble and bog myrtle, they had an excellent year last year rearing 4 chicks, after a few anxious moments at the start of the breeding season when the female had not returned, she finally returned to take her place alongside the male and is now incubating eggs, the is male is keeping a close eye on proceedings, returning with food and occasionally to check that all is well in his domain.

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