Three years ago I started admiring the absolutely stunning male Hen Harrier. I got a few distant images but they keep their distance and for very good reason... Last year not one Hen Harrier bred successfully in the whole of the UK. They love to breed on moorlands where, as it happens the red grouse also breed. No guesses for guessing why the harriers fail!
A fabulous male hen harrier is here again this winter and I think it's time to really get to grips with it and get some nice close-up images. Putting up a hide (blind) doesn't work, he wont come near it and so a Ghillie suit is definitely the answer. I was so well hidden in the shade of a tall shrub that an incoming kestrel, intent on perching above me on top of the shrub didn't see me at all until the last few feet and then it let out a shocked, short squeak and veered off. The ghillie suit is perfect for his job, nothing changes in the landscape.
I have had three attempts now; on only one day did it turn up but it was feeding on the outer marsh about a mile away and must have been doing well because it didn't come inland near where I was. Yesterday I waited and waited... a juvenile spoonbill flew in and began feeding in a creek right in front of me, a sparrowhawk flew over me from the outer marsh, two short eared owls began hunting just before dusk but no hen harrier.
I SHALL RETURN!
Here's the Short Eared Owl, at least he gave me half a chance.
...and, the very attractive male Hen Harrier, two of the many distant images I have taken in the past but never close enough.