I always hope to see Hen Harriers. If I had to have a spirit animal it would be a Hen Harrier. They’re wonderful birds and persecuted to near extinction in England.
I’m due to be on Mainland Orkney this afternoon. I’ve got a ferry to catch. Then I see it. There’s a Hen Harrier perched on the fence at the north of Westray:
What a great sight:
It’s distant but unmistakable.
I can see one flying towards me.
It’s still a bit distant. It’s flying over a field full of agri-environment scheme. One small piece of nature amongst all the monoculture short grass is what a Hen Harrier needs to search for a meal.
It’s got a red ring on its leg
The wings are broad and very decorative.
It sweeps away from me and then I see an even bigger surprise. There are two Hen Harriers quartering the field.
It looks like an adult female is taking a youngster hunt-training.
I wish them all the best. And as for me, I may miss the ferry.