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Saturday, 4 August 2018

Rescuing a Marsh Harrier at RSPB Greylake!

When I woke this morning, I didn't think that within an hour I'd be sitting in the back of a car next to a wild Marsh Harrier.....but that's exactly what happened!!

    So here's the story;

I woke pretty late as I had a late night and it's the weekend. I'm not a morning person, which is unfortunate as early morning is usually the best time to go birding!
I reached over to my bedside cabinet to grab my mobile phone and immediately saw my mate Geoff was trying to call me. I called him back straight away and he told me he was at nearby RSPB Greylake and was sitting next to an injured Marsh Harrier!
   He'd been trying to get help for a couple of hours with no luck but didn't want to leave the birds side in case further harm came to it. I jumped straight out of bed and with the help of my other half, Nick, found a big enough cardboard box to fit the bird in. Nick taped up the bottom of the box, put some newspaper in and grabbed some towels plus a thick pair of her gardening gloves, then I quickly drove to Greylake to find Geoff and the Harrier.

     They were at the first corner of the reedbed loop in the reserve. Geoff was crouched down within feet of this beautiful bird of prey, which was laying prone on the grass and looked a pretty sorry sight! At the time Geoff thought she may have a broken leg or a broken wing, but on putting on the gloves and approaching her slowly she stood up OK and spread her wings in a defensive position, and even lifted a talon to swipe ay him!
     We decided the only way to safely get hold of her was to throw one of the towels over her and grab her quickly before she struggled and possibly injured herself more. Geoff did this expertly, and I held the box open for him to put her in. One of her talons came through the towel and grabbed one of Geoffs gloved fingers! Bringing the gloves was definitely a good idea!

  We carried her back to the car, passing a couple coming the other way who looked at Geoff strangely. 'Guess what's in the box' I asked them.
'A Snake?' came the reply.
'No....a Marsh Harrier!'
They looked suitably surprised!

Geoff then drove to Secret World Wildlife Rescue at East Huntspill about 8 miles away.
I sat in the back beside the box. The Marsh Harrier was silent and still tangled in the towel Geoff had thrown over her. I was impatient with traffic holding us up. I knew it was important to get the Harrier to the rescue centre as soon as possible. Suddenly there was movement in the box, and I breathed a sigh of relief that she was still alive. It's always a worry with injured birds that they can die from all the stress of being rescued!

  I phoned Secret World to tell them that we were on the way with an injured Marsh Harrier.
'WOW' came the reply from the woman who answered. By all accounts, this may have been the first Marsh Harrier ever brought into them in their long and distinguished history of rescuing and treating the local wildlife!

    They are a charity, entirely dependent on donations and fundraising to pay for the fantastic work that they do. I donated a small amount once we arrived and they took the bird away to be looked at.
    You can visit their website and donate here;

Secret World Wildlife Rescue

   We waited around for a few minutes, just to check that the Harrier was OK.
Someone returned and said that she had been quickly checked over and that there didn't seem to be a physical injury but that she was emaciated. They are going to look after her and treat her. If she makes a full recovery we were invited to go with them when they release her back at Greylake!
Geoff and I are keeping our fingers tightly crossed that she makes it!
She was a beautiful bird, and it was thrilling to see a wild Marsh Harrier up close, although obviously not in those circumstances.

Below are pics of the recued Marsh Harrier and the hero of the hour, my mate Geoff!

You can see Geoffs nature photography on his Flickr page HERE

Also included are pics taken in the last week since my last blog post, including Little Owl, Goldfinches, Bees, Butterflies and Poppies!






















^Above^ - The beautiful female Marsh Harrier, with Geoff trying to work out a way of safely grabbing her!




^Above^ - Great White Egret at RSPB Greylake.


^Above^ - Little Egret at Greylake.


^Above^ - The highest flying Kingfisher I've ever seen at Greylake!



^Above^ - Mute Swan and Cygnets at Greylake.




^Above^ - Little Owl near Bleadon in Somerset.



























^Above^ - Adult and Juvenile Goldfinches at Apex Park in Burnham on Sea.


^Above^ - Young Magpie at Apex Park.


^Above^ - Lesser Black Back Gull at Apex Park.



^Above^ - Little Egret at Durleigh reservoir.


^Above^ - Young Pied Wagtail at Durleigh reservoir.



^Above^ - Grey Heron near Godney in Somerset.


^Above^ - Carrion Crows near Godney.




^Above^ - A ropey looking Reed Warbler at the Huntspill river in Somerset.


^Above^ - Woodpigeon at East Huntspill.













^Above^ - Juvenile Great Tit at the Huntspill river.




^Above^ - Kingfisher flying away at the river Huntspill.


^Above^ - Grey Heron at the Huntspill river.


^Above^ - Blackcap on barbed wire near the Huntspill river.



^Above^ - Comma Butterfly on Buddleia near Godney.


^Above^ - Comma Butterfly and Red Admiral on Buddleia near Godney.



^Above^ - Red Admirals near Godney.




^Above^ - Damselflies on the river Huntspill.


^Above^ -Bumble Bee after visiting a water lily on the River Huntspill.



^Above^ - Pondskaters on the river Huntspill.


^Above^ - Bumble Bee and Buddleia near the river Huntspill.


^Above^ - Bumble Bee on Cornflower at Apex Park.
















^Above^ - Poppies, Daisies and cornflowers at Apex Park.





^Above^ - Sunflowers at Apex Park.



^Above^ - Speckled Wood Butterflies near Brent Knoll in Somerset.


^Above^ - Ropey looking Gatekeeper Butterfly at Greylake.









^Above^ - Bees on Columbine flowers and pink unknown flower at Greylake.


^Above^ - Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly at Greylake.


^Above^ - Red Admiral Butterfly at Greylake.


^Above^ - White Butterfly at Greylake.



^Above^ - Cute calf at Godney, covered by flies sadly!