Marsh Harrier Success Story


With so many negative stories regarding birds of prey in the UK at the moment it’s nice to hear a success story for once. Last year Marsh Harrier bred in Poole Harbour for the first time in 50 years and it was hoped that they would return this year for a second year in a row to help establish the south coast population. Well, return they did but not just one pair this time, a second female arrived who the male from the original pair took a fancy too quite quickly. Over the course of the spring the male busily snuck off and alternated between the two females helping them nest build, and provided them both with food as they begun to incubate the eggs. As summer approached the activity of the male increased indicating that the eggs were hatching and before he knew it the male was on a full time mission providing for a plethora of young and two grouchy, tired females. Eventually the chicks were old enough to be left at the nest sites and the male was helped by his two ‘ladies’ in the search for food, hoping to avoid an awkward moment as their paths crossed. As the weeks passed it was just a matter of time before the young conjured enough courage and strength to break the reedbed skyline and in the second week of July they eventually did. Nest site 1 has miraculously fledged 4 young whom can be viewed from standing at the end of Swineham Point as they twist and turn, tumble and talon lock providing the most extravagant aerial show. Nest site 2 is currently still being monitored and its thought there is a minimum of two youngsters in that nest (fingers crossed for another4)! 

The four juvenile Marsh Harriers from nest 1


Paul Thompson

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