I change my plans and choose to start the drone off across the river (as planned) but in a more isolated location, moving the craft to its permissible height and then dropping it down into location across the river in front of the museum.
As soon as the patch of blue appears, I check for birds and then manoeuvre the drone to my planned spot and take a few photos. Then I start to bring it back over the river and take a few more shots. Once again I hear an ear piercing screech, so I start to bring the drone back over towards its landing spot. Before it reaches its location an Oyster Catcher angles in from the west and nudges the bottom of the drone. Instantly it starts to tumble. The drone has a failsafe auto-correct built into it - so it normally spins around and starts to hover - but before it can do this - it hits the outstretched branch of a tree over the river and lodges itself within a tangle of leaves.
“Before it reaches its location an Oyster Catcher angles in from the west and nudges the bottom of the drone. Instantly it starts to tumble.”
I’m shocked but comforted by the fact that my risk assessment came into fruition and that the Oyster Catcher was unhurt.
The patch of blue has almost gone, so I untangle my tripod and run across the bridge to get some more shots from the list on my camera. All the time I’m processing several strands of thought: the movement of the light, the busy traffic on the bridge, my camera settings, the view of the extension, the trip hazards from the tripod and the gnarly problem of my drone up a tree several hundred yards away.
I get the shots and move on to the drone. I search for “man and a cherry picker” on my google maps and am surprised that there’s a business a few hundred yards away. I make contact and, for the princely sum of £360, he is willing to come out and attempt to get the drone.
Before he comes, he asks me if there are any complications. I tell him that there are none other than the tangled branches. I put the phone down, walk over to the tree that holds my drone, and am instantly buzzed by a swarm of wasps nesting in the tree.