This summer we were thrilled to have had a pair of marsh harriers successfully breed at the Millennium Country Park.


All about the harriers

Bird enthusiasts have been delighted by sightings of these majestic birds of prey in and around the Park for several years. With a wingspan ranging from 115 to 130cm, the marsh harrier is the largest species of harrier and as with many birds of prey, the female is larger than the male. Distinguished by their broad, slightly elevated wings forming a 'v' shape in flight, these birds primarily breed in reedbeds and wetlands, making our own reedbeds in the Wetlands Nature Reserve a perfect habitat for them. Their diet consists of other smaller birds and small mammals.

Photos by Martin Green at the Millennium Country Park

Welcoming the fledglings

The exciting news of their breeding success began to unfold in April, when a pair of marsh harriers was observed engaging in behaviours indicative of breeding. Shortly afterward, it became evident that the female was sitting on a clutch of eggs. After a period of patient anticipation, the first fledged marsh harrier was sighted, accompanied by both parents. This was swiftly followed by the appearance of two more fledglings. We are overjoyed by the success of the marsh harriers' breeding, especially after last year's achievement of the first breeding bittern in Bedfordshire. 

Stock picture - Marsh harrier (Circus aeruginosus)

Peter Nash, Bedfordshire Bird Recorder, expressed his excitement, stating, "This is the first known breeding record of marsh harriers in Bedfordshire, making it an incredibly special event." We celebrate this remarkable milestone as a testament to the Park's commitment to supporting and enhancing the diversity of bird species in the area.

Check out the other species that have been spotted at the Millennium Country Park last month


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