Nine days ago I blogged about the suspicious disappearance of a satellite-tagged hen harrier called ‘Fortune’ who had vanished from an undisclosed roost site in Northumberland in September 2020 (see here).
Well guess what? Another one has gone, also from an undisclosed roost site in Northumberland.
This one was called ‘Rosie’, who was tagged (#57278) at a nest site (Northumberland 1) in July 2019 and the tag’s last known fix was 23 March 2020, also in Northumberland. Natural England has this marked in its database as ‘Missing fate unknown. At roost (site confidential)‘.
[Hen harrier Rosie when she was being tagged. Photo by Natural England]
Some of you may remember Rosie. She was previously reported as ‘missing’ in October 2019 (here) but then was reported to be alive and well later in the month (see here and here) and just wearing one of those Lotek tags whose limited functionality has proven to be problematic for tracking hen harriers (e.g. see here). I think it’s reasonable to assume that, ten months on and as there still hasn’t been a signal from her tag, then this is likely to be more than a tag reliability issue this time.
To be fair to Natural England, Rosie’s suspicious disappearance in March 2020 was not concealed – it was included in Natural England’s September 2020 tagged birds update but I didn’t spot it until now. Although perhaps if Natural England had bothered to publicise her suspicious disappearance at the time….
So, along with missing tagged hen harrier Fortune, that’s two gone at an undisclosed roost site in Northumberland this year. Whether that’s the same roost site only Natural England knows. Why can’t the roost sites be numbered, like the nest sites are, to disguise the actual location for security reasons but at least indicate positional proximity?
BASC’s £10K bung to Natural England to help fund winter roost monitoring doesn’t seem to be working very well, does it?
Rosie will now be added to the list of confirmed illegally killed/missing suspected killed hen harriers in the UK since 2018 – the running total is currently 50 but there’s more to come….standby.