A Special Day Sat-Tagging….

A late Sunday evening train to Newcastle and another night away from home and the family, but an important mission awaited me early on Monday morning.  I had a planned early meeting with a number of Natural England’s Hen Harrier Team to travel much further north to sat-tag some young Harrier chicks. While helping the team sat-tagging Harrier chicks is an absolute pleasure and massive privilege in itself, one of these chicks was destined to be extra special. Let me explain why……

On the 11th June 2019 I had the pleasure of meeting an inspiring young boy called Alex Goodwin. On this day Alex captured the hearts of over 100 Police Wildlife Crime Officers and all the partners present at the sat-tag training workshop he opened on our behalf. Alex is a brave boy who is winning a battle against bone cancer. Alex is passionate about all wildlife and especially birds of prey. You can find out more about Alex here. It was on this day that Natural England agreed with me that one of this years tagged chicks would be named after Alex, a Mini-Police Wildlife Crime Officer.

So back to today…

After an early start and a drive further north we arrived at our destination. With the truck parked up and our bags loaded it was time for the long off-road hike to the nest site. The nest contained 4 chicks (3 female and 1 male) and with mum and dad keeping a watchful eye we (Stephen) got to work fitting the tags. Sat-tags have proved invaluable in tracking the movements of so many birds of prey, but particularly Hen Harriers as seen in the recent Nature publication  where they have shone a light into the dark hole of the ongoing disappearance of our birds.

With the tags fitted we left the nest area and watched from a distance as mum quickly returned to her young to check they were all ok. After some time watching these amazing birds it was time to hit the road and commence the long long journey south (via a late and delayed train).

A truly inspiring day and one I will never forget.

Natural England and I would like you to meet Alex (Top Female) and her sister Rosie (Bottom Female)…….

We all wish her every success and I look forward to tracking her movements and providing you all with regular updates.

Safe travels Alex, Rosie and all the other raptor chicks that are in their early days…..

My thanks to the Natural England Team, Stephen and Pat and to Martin from the Forestry Commission.


Photo Credits-

  • Top- Me
  • Bottom- Me

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