Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Snowy Owl in Norfolk!

We don't often day trip any more. It is always an excellent day, with 6 hours driving, with a long day in the field is always a little daunting..

Some birds are enough to get you off your backside though, a mythical bird that will be on your lips for weeks to come, and with the weekend approaching, boom. Snowy Owl in Norfolk! A hasty made plan, and we found ourselves driving around a familiar triangle at dawn, a short hop from the north coast where the bird had been seen the previous day. It had flown west at dusk, so my betting was Thornham Harbour for its reappearance. We slowly made our way north, checking the fields and beach before hitting the north coast road. As we drove through Thornham village, out came the hoped for tweet 'Snowy Owl- Thornham point!'.

2 minutes later, we were screeching to a halt in an empty RSPB Titchwell car park, and soon 'walking' up the track to the beach. A Woodcock got a brief passing glance and a pair of mating Common Frog were hastily avoided as we sped past.

A few cursory scans up the point oddly couldn't find any birders, but a large 'blob' perched up on a branch was a little curious. A couple of further stops and curiosity got the better of me, and set the scope on that 'distant blob'...

Massive, white and heavily barred!


Elated, we paced the rest of the distance to the beach, where we met a couple of birder already in-situ, watching the Owl at about 1km distance. What a beast!
Drying out from the heavy overnight/ early morning rain, she shook off the rain from her plumage and preened and stretched her wings. Over the next couple of hours, the crowd grew, and eventually the bird dropped out of sight at which point those who had recently arrived started getting twitchy. Anxiety grew and, leading on from a few 'forerunners' who had already managed to flush the bird onto the beach, a mass commute began. The Snowy sat comfortably in the open, and the twitch grew. Eventually, with few people remaining at the RSPB viewpoint, we gave in, and walked for closer views with the rest of the crowd.
With the crowd thoughtfully standing back and allowing plenty of room for the Owl, everyone managed excellent scope views and the bird slept here for the remainder of the day.

What a way to spend the morning!


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