have a story to share but to protect the parties involved the names and places all this took place have been changed. Enjoy!
About a month ago I was doing some birding in my favorite spot when I came upon two men set up with scopes looking out over the water. I approached them and asked if they had spotted anything of interest. They told me they were trying to establish if a certain bird was nesting in the area. I thought one of the men looked familiar but couldn't figure out why. He introduces himself as the State Birdman and asks if I remember him. Ah now I remembered, we worked together over 10 years ago on the Osprey Project, he looked a little different but then we all do as time passes.
I felt proud as he explained to his associate all about the volunteer work I did for the State to document the return of the Osprey to Lake Bee. That I had documented the first known nest on the lake and to this day it is recorded as N. Nest #1. A little back history for you here, you see the Osprey were in decline and on the endangered list because pesticides had gotten into the waterways and contaminated the fish they live on. The toxins didn't kill the adult birds but it caused a defect in the egg shells and caused the eggs to crumble and crack soon after being laid, so there were fewer and fewer baby birds surviving and the Osprey numbers declined sharply. After years of study, documentation, and debate, legislation was passed banning the toxic chemicals. It took years for the damage to be repaired but finally, the Osprey numbers were rebounding. So the discovery of an active nest was big news.
We talked about my current volunteer work on the Loon Project. The Loons face a similar problem now, they are being poisoned by the lead sinkers fishermen use. There is currently legislation (SenateBill89) up for passage to ban the use of such lead fishing tackle to protect the Loons. It has passed in the House and is next up for debate and vote in the Senate then onto the Governor to be signed. I have been in contact with my local Representatives and signed petitions showing my support for the bill and urged my Representatives to support the bill. Let's hope the lessons learned from the Osprey Project will help save the Loons of New Hampshire.
Mr. State Birdman then asks me if I would be interested in helping him with the States newest project, Air Force One Project. The State is trying to document the return of Air Force One to the Lake Bee area and search for any active nests. Air Force One like the Osprey had been in decline in our state but has also made a successful return to our rivers and lakes. But there had not been any nests located in the Lake Bee area. Of course, I would love to help out on the project! I tell Mr. State Birdman that I have been keeping a birding journal for years and have documented every time I have sighted Air Force One. He is very interested in this information and asks me to email him all sightings and activity for the past three years.
On the drive home I was composing this email in my mind excited to share with all of you my latest adventure but the current events of the moment made my frivolous birding story inappropriate for what was happening in the news so I set it aside. And it was a good thing I didn't share my story right away because after I emailed my Air Force One sightings to Mr. State Birdman he replied asking for my discretion in this area. He hoped I would understand the need to keep all information on this project on the down low. He emailed me the name and phone number of a fellow “agent” on the project that I was to contact for further instructions.
A couple of days later Mr. State Birdman sent me another email telling me that he had found Air Force One's home base. With the help of a small plane, he was able to fly low over the large area and using heat-seeking technology he found a home base and verified that there were occupants present. Don't worry NH taxpayers this project was funded by a UNH Grad student grant, no taxpayers funds were used. This was very exciting news indeed! I received an email with the coordinates of Air Force One's home base and asked to continue to document any sightings AND asked to be very discrete in doing so. He asked me to NOT set up a scope and to NOT draw any attention to myself so as not to draw a crowd of other birders or photographers. Air Force One's home base was deserving of the highest security protection.
So I am bound by avian ethics to keep the location of Air Force One's home base a secret. I will guard Air Force One's home base to my last gray hair. Yeah sure I've told you the story but I haven't really told you the complete facts. Even if some of you break my code I won't reveal the location of Air Force One's home base even if you try to tickle me with a lobster claw.
Shhh.... Agent 008 out.