Winter is a great time for wildlife spotting. Less greenery and the need to constantly forage for limited food means birds and mammals are easier to see at this time of year. The RaptorLIFE team are also busy out and about!
Satellite tagged hen harrier
RaptorLIFE have been monitoring hen harriers during both their breeding and wintering seasons. However one of the biggest gaps in our knowledge of these rare birds are where the young birds go after they leave their nest sites. We have been trying to answer this with a stellite tagging programme in collaboration with NPWS. Thanks to Paul Kelly (@irishbirdimage) we have a fabulous photo of one of our satellite tagged hen harriers in Wexford. This juvenile female was originally tagged in the Mullaghareirk Mountains, but has been spending a lot of time on the east Coast. She has done well to survive the hurricane this winter so deserves a bit of media exposure! We'll continue to following her progress throughout the winter and hopefully some eagle eyed photographers will snap some more photos as she moves around the country.
Hosting Polish students
RaptorLIFE had a very enjoyable day hosting an information day for students from the Technical School of Environmental Protection in Szczecin, Poland. We were happy to share our knowledge on various upland management techniques and to show some of the actions we have undertaken on one of our project farms. Thank you to all the students for your enthusiastic participation!
Integrated Catchment Management
IRD Duhallow hosted part 2 of an EPA Catchments Science training workshop. RaptorLIFE gave a presentation on the work undertaken as part of IRD Duhallow's LIFE projects, followed by a field trip to look at the catchment actions implemented as part of DuhallowLIFE. There was plenty of enjoyable conversations throughout the day and we hope everyone found it beneficial. Special thanks to former project scientists Fran Igoe and Kieran Murphy (now with LAWCO) for help in leading the field trip! The participants got a chance to see first-hand some of the measures that were developed by IRD Duhallow in partnership with the local farmers and stakeholders to improve water quality on the upper Blackwater catchment.
Some very interesting talks were heard at the 7th Irish Ornithological Research Conference in University College Cork. RaptorLIFE scientists Ilse Corkery and John Ballinger contributed to the day by presenting talks based on the results from our Hen harrier and Merlin monitoring programmes. It is essential that the target project species and their potential prey are monitored throughout the duration of RaptorLIFE and compared to a baseline standard established at the beginning, so that project actions can be measured.