Sunday, 15 September 2013

Heather makes herself at home in South Cork

Since arriving in South Cork after an epic journey from Kerry to Wicklow to Northern Ireland, Heather has set up a home range and appears to be making the most of her time along the southern coast of Ireland. A young harrier may travel in their first few months until they find a place that ticks all the boxes. They may then establish a home range, visiting the same areas on a daily basis before returning back to their roost every evening. Interestingly, Heather has found a friend in the form of a wing-tagged harrier now in her fifth winter. It is hoped that Heather will learn from this older bird, about where all the good places to go are.

Heather is in a good area for the two basic requirements of any young harrier's early days of independent life - food and shelter. The tillage landscape, including stubble fields of oats, wheat and barley provide food in the form of rodents. Hopefully no poisons are being used in these fields. In Ireland, tillage fields are not as big as they would be for example in Britain and the amount of hedgerows we have in our tillage landscape is very important in supporting wildlife also. It is important that the scrubby areas that have been left alone for years are retained as an important reservoir of biodiversity.

It is interesting to see that Heather is again making some short forays out to sea before returning again. Is she thinking of leaving these shores or will the draw of food along the south Cork coast keep her in Ireland?

One of Heather's daily runs in South Cork. Click to enlarge


  1. Looks like she was doing a porpoise survey!

  2. Hi Conor!

    Haha, yeah! When Heather came to the area first and travelled 7km out to see, she followed the exact line of the Ferry to the Ferry was there!

    Heather has now visited at least two places with Sally in the name ; Sally Gap in Wicklow and Sallyport in Cork. Sally was her older sister.