Northern Ireland HHDay

Two Hen Harrier Weekend 2016 events were organised in Northern by the Northern Ireland Raptor Study Group on Saturday 6 August.  Alan Ferguson said:

 

"We arrived early (0845) on Saturday morning at Glenariff to get set up. There was no going back now.  As the other organisers arrived, we wondered if anybody would show up at all. Stall was set up, merchandise, booklets and banners were placed on display and while this was happening, a steady stream of cars began to fill the car park and I realised they were here for HH Day. In all, approximately 20 people showed up along with around 6 organisers/volunteers.

 

There was great interest in the materials both HH Day and NIRSG info leaflets, people were very generous in donating and buying raffle tickets and once everyone had a slice of our delicious Hen Harrier Day cake, the speeches began.

 

I was first up covering the origins of BAWC and Hen Harrier Day, next was Dr Marc Ruddock (NIRSG Project Manager) who spoke about our Northern Irish Harriers, their threats here and their dwindling numbers, finally was Dr Eimear Rooney (NIRSG Monitoring Officer) who covered wildlife crime in NI, with particular focus on birds of prey.

 

Then we had our raffle. 1st Prize was an amazing pencil sketch of an upper body study of a male Hen Harrier, kindly produced and donated by an artist friend of mine, Leanne Mullen.2nd Prize was a choice of photographic raptor prints complete with frame.  And 3rd was a copy of ‘Inglorious’.

 

To finish our day we had a photo opportunity with all our banners, posters and placards with the jaw dropping Glenariff valley in the background.  People thoroughly enjoyed the event and personally congratulated me on the success of it and to be honest, I became a more than a little emotional.  Then it was a much needed cup of coffee and a really quick pack up. Once this was complete, it was a 90 mile road trip in convoy across the country to Castle Archdale in Fermanagh.

Here was a smaller attendance, which I had expected but we had the opportunity to meet with Dara McAnulty, a young man with Asperger’s Syndrome who writes his own wildlife blog which you can find HERE.  He was incredibly excited that NI was having a HH Day.

 

We also met a lady who decided to take up birding in memory of her uncle who passed away and was very passionate about it. She has only recently started and decided to attend HH Day as she said she began to ‘get it’.

 

These are some of the interesting personal stories behind people’s reasons for attending and supporting HH Day. The speeches were in the same order and the raffle included 1st Prize, a peregrine print by NI bird artist John Moore, 2nd Prize was a photographic print and 3rd Prize was a copy of ‘Inglorious’.

HH Day NI was a success and we hope to make it a regular fixture and have even more people attend next year.