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Chance to see rare birds of prey at Wirral nature reserve
2:22pm Thursday 27th September 2012 in News
VISITORS to the RSPB’s reserve in Parkgate in the coming months will have a chance to see the country's rarest breeding bird of prey, the hen harrier.
The Dee Estuary reserve is hosting In Search of Skydancers, a series of seven events giving nature lovers the opportunity to experience these birds at their winter roost site.
Hen harriers breed in the uplands and are famous for the male’s spectacular courtship display of swoops, twists and somersaults known as skydancing. Skydancing has become all too rare a sight in England.
This year, there was only one successful hen harrier nest in the whole of England, despite a government commissioned report suggesting there is sufficient habitat for more than 320 pairs.
Independent research has shown ongoing illegal killing and disturbance associated with the grouse moor industry is to blame.
The opening events of the In Search of Skydancers season are on October 6 and 7 at 12pm until dusk. The remaining sessions will take place on Novemver 4, December 2 December, January 6, February 3 and March 3. All events are free and you can pop along any time until dusk. All events will be held at the “Donkey Stand” on The Parade.
Besides hen harriers, visitors to the Dee will have a chance of seeing other iconic birds of prey including peregrines, merlins and short-eared owls.
There will be plenty of activities for children enabling them to learn more about these magnificent birds.
In Search of Skydancers is part of Skydancer, a four-year RSPB project aimed at protecting and conserving nesting hen harriers in the English uplands.
The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and United Utilities with additional support from the Forestry Commission.
Paul Brady, RSPB visitor development officer for the Dee, said: “These events will give visitors the opportunity learn about the importance of the Dee estuary with an expert guide revealing the fascinating wildlife and heritage that live within this vast and dramatic landscape.”
More details are from www.rspb.org.uk/deeestuary or www.rspb.org.uk/skydancer.