Last week started with the launch of the Operation Owl website which also signified the operation becoming our nationwide approach to raising awareness of raptor persecution. The site had over 1000 hits within the first few days of launch and I hope it goes a long way to helping us all raise the profile of the persecution that takes place.
While pressing `publish` on the website I was getting on a train to the far north of England to spend a day off (Annual Leave) from Beds Police on nest watch with one of Natural England’s finest, Pat. We travelled so far north I almost needed to swap my money at a `bureau de change` but the long trip was worth it as we spent the day in the middle of nowhere in the fresh air and brief sunshine watching some amazing birds. During the day we were lucky enough to see buzzard, peregrine, raven and also managed to see a number of hen harriers and to top the afternoon off a glorious food pass between male & female.
Late on Monday night I started the journey south to Northallerton ready for the Raptor Persecution Investigation Workshop on the Tuesday. Importantly this was the first of its kind to include specific information for Police Wildlife Crime Officers on Sat-Tag data. The RSPB beat me to writing a blog about it and probably did a better job than me anyway, so you can read about it here. Thank you to everyone that made the session possible and for everyone who took the time to attend.
Anther long journey on Thursday, this time to Hampshire. With the great support of Hampshire Police, NWCU and Dr Tim Mackrill we were able to host a really informative session on the forthcoming White Tailed Sea Eagle reintroduction project on the Isle of Wight. There was fantastic attendance from all of the local Police Forces WCOs, The Forestry Commission, Natural England and other partners as we all look to work together with the project to ensure it is a real success.
Another day off today (17th June 2019) and another long drive. This time to the Peak District to spend time with Mike Price of the Peak District Raptor Monitoring Group and Steve Downing (NERF) to monitor hen harrier and goshawk. It was an absolute privilege to be able to be involved in the ringing of two hen harrier chicks and something which has made my drive and passion for ending #RaptorPersecution even stronger.
As I sit here typing this blog watching my local red kite in and out of their normal tree rearing young, I am delighted to be leading this work on all our behalves. Together we are stronger and together we will succeed.
Photo Credit – Debby Thorne