Sunday, 30 March 2014

Heather checks out potential summer homes, Sky Dancing illuminates the skies!

Heather's ramblings over the last couple of days 28 - 30 March 2014

Last week Heather broke from her traditional territory and headed for the Ballyhouras, a mountain range holding breeding Hen Harriers to the north. Interestingly, she also visited some other known breeding ranges in the meantime, including the Boggeragh Mountains and the Carriganimma/Musheramore area to the west. It appears as though she is checking out potential places to stay for the summer, perhaps attracted to these mountains on the horizon by other Hen Harriers circling (the harriers’ latin name is Circus) high in the sky. Hen Harriers advertise their presence back on territory by circling higher than any other bird in Ireland, going so high that they can disappear into tiny specks even when you watch them with binoculars. Other harriers can see this from miles away. What is really spectacular is when the harriers plummet down from the clouds to perform their sky dance, hurtling at breakneck speed towards the ground while performing awesome acrobatics, pulling back up into the sky again just metres from the ground. This is a really special time of the year to witness this, one of the most amazing sights in all of Irish nature and it has been great to hear of people around the country witnessing the Sky Dance so far this Spring. Be sure to get out and see it this April – it is becoming a rarer sight with every year.