Volunteers across the country are now at the half way point in the
National Hen Harrier Winter Roost Survey. After beginning in October (many even in
August and September), a large amount of information has been built up, giving a
greater knowledge and understanding of what Irish Hen Harriers get up to during the
other 6 or 7 months of the year when not engaged in the breeding season.
Fixed roost watches and casual sightings continue to pour into co-ordinator Barry
O’Donoghue at firstname.lastname@example.org and 087-9110715. I would like to take this
opportunity at the half way point to thank those who have got out there and filled the
forms and/or submitted casual sightings. From Strangford Lough to West Kerry,
Longford to Limerck, Inisowen to West Cork, Connemara to Dublin, it has been a
pleasure hearing from you all and learning of the whereabouts of Hen Harriers during
the winter. Some have had the pleasure of sighting some of the youngsters which we
tagged in Cork, Kerry, Clare and Galway this year. Anyone that has seen harriers
tagged or untagged will agree it is a most enjoyable survey, and even those who have
gone out in search of new roosts but have not seen harriers on a particular evening
have usually been entertained by the wealth of bird life at these wetlands at sunset.
Marsh Harriers, Peregrines, Barn Owls just some of the other Birds of Prey sighted in
this years survey for example, not to mention the thousands of starlings and various
Indeed a good number of new Hen Harrier winter roosts have been discovered this
winter – places heretofore unknown. Furthermore, old traditional roosts which have
not been watched for years are being returned to in aid of this survey. It cannot be
stressed enough how important it is to keep Hen Harrier winter roost locations secret.
In reports which will be generated for the whole country out of this survey, roost
locations are not mentioned – most often they are masked by giving the nearest town
name or a name of the observers choosing (as per record sheet).
People can fill roost record sheets (and casual sightings forms) as they go along and
submit to email@example.com or to Barry O’Donoghue, Ballynabrennagh, Tralee, Co.
Kerry bit by bit or together at the end of season. It is important to fill the roost details
sheet (just once for each roost) as it will let us know what harriers require for their
roosting habitat. It is further important to log watches where no harriers have been
seen. This will allow trends to be drawn at a roost as the winter progresses e.g. maybe
all harriers gone by January, or maybe they don’t come until November etc.
This Saturday 1st December is roost watch day (1st day of month). Being a weekend, it
is our best chance at co-ordinating a mass roost watch across the country. I urge
everyone to get out there this weekend either Friday, Saturday or Sunday from
3.45pm to 4.45pm (or alternatively for morning watches from 07.30am to 08.30am).
Anyone with queries or comments please do not hesitate to make contact with me at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 087-9110715.
Go raibh mile maith agaibh go léir.
Barry O’Donoghue, the National Parks & Wildlife Service Ranger for South
year and is looking for some help across the county and beyond. The