Saturday, 22 September 2012

Marsh Harrier

A female Marsh Harrier was found flitting about in a game cover crop up on the Wolds by a farmer. He rung the East Yorks Red Kite's Nigel Puckrin who brought the bird here.
She was light but seemed in good form with no breaks etc.
She had a brood patch so she must have been a breeding bird.

I left her to rest in a warm shed with food after re hydrating her.
She had a thin line, with chips on her feathers underneath which usually means they have hit overhead cables. So think she must have been bruised and unable to hunt
and got weaker and weaker.

Here's Mike Jones the vet giving her the once over.

I heard there was a roost of Marsh Harriers up on the Wolds close to where she was found with 10 birds dropping into uncut corn.
The crop had been harvested in the time she was here.

She faired well , put on weight and was soon ready to be off.

After discussions with Craig we decided to release her at North Duffield. There had been up to 15 Marsh Harriers dropping into long rank grass on the Ings by the river.

She was bto ringed and quickly released. She flew spectacularly well , high with perfect wing beats ,
back out where she belonged. Always a thrilling sight to see a big bird out in its element.

She has been seen a few times from the hide at North Duffield , the only ringed female , coming in to roost with juveniles and an adult male.


Thankyou to Craig and the team at Lower Derwent Valley.

Barn Owls.
The 4 Barn Owl youngsters mentioned in the previous blog were returned to their nest box for release.
Andy Menzies had been and put in an inspection hatch in the nest box and fashioned a cage to go on the front of the box bob hole.
The birds, now all flying and looking grand were returned home. Andy fed them for a few days contained in the box. Once they were eating well and settled, the cage covering the bob hole was quietly removed and the young birds were free to come and go.
Young Barn Owls tend to roost back in their nest box home. So we decided to continue with the food and Andy kindly went to feed them every other day. They did return to feed and its good to know they are back in the wild just where they should be.
My thanks to Andrew Menzies, the householders and their kind neighbours in Swinton for looking out for these lovely birds.

This young bird was found collapsed on a ledge outside a nest box. He was very weak, cold and alone. The farming family that found him took him straight to Battleflatts vets at Stamford Bridge.
Mark the vet got some fluids into him and warmed him up.
He's doing well, eating growing. I have to be very careful not to spend time near him as he would imprint very easily.
So I am minimal round him and he hisses crossly at me when I put food in for him. He should do well , lets hope for a mild November when he will be ready to go.

Badger Persecution.
A farmer from Bulmer in March this year filled an active badger sett with 5.000 gallons of cattle slurry. I received a phone call about it and PC Jez Walmsley the Wildlife Crime Officer at Malton and I went out for a look.
The sett was full of slurry pooled up high in the entrances, horrendous to see.
I photographed the scene , took notes and left Jez knocking on farm house doors.

Malcom Foster pleaded not guilty and we went to Scarborough Magistrates Court for a one day trial.

It was a hard day, the defending barrister was a difficult arrogant man. He had to mind his manners after being told by the Senior Magistrate to moderate his tone with me the witness.

Its always hard and daunting to stand in the witness box but the badgers can't stand up for them selves , so has to be done.

At the end of a long hard day, Malcom Foster was found guilty of recklessly damaging a badger sett.
He was fined £500 with  £700 costs and a £15 surcharge.

The lives of a colony of badgers is worth £1215.00

The badger cull and the shooting of badgers in Somerset and Gloucester looks likely to go ahead.
There has been a big push to make the government think again and wait for the vaccine to make its mark.
They don't seem to be listening , the farming lobby are baying for badgers blood and being so influential the government seem to want to listen to them first.

To allow the legal killing of a protected species is a dangerous precident. Worrying times.