Sunday, 11 March 2018

Snowy Owl: Snettisham, Norfolk

Mid-morning on Saturday and with the Snowy Owl already re-located at Thornham, Brian is keen to make the trip. It would be a lifer for dad but he already has alternative plans and is unable to go, so the trip is delayed until today.
Leaving at 5am the plan is to put ourselves in the area and hope it's re-found at some point during the day. Arriving around 7am our first stop was to Hunstanton Cliffs to tick Fulmar before moving onto Thornham harbour. After a lengthy scan, and with several dogs running about on the beach it wasn't a surprise that there was no sign of the owl.
A brief stop around the drying barns at Choseley produced my first Yellowhammer of the year before we moved on to Titchwell. Several Med Gulls were present on the Freshwater Marsh for another addition to the year list and from the beach we enjoyed good views of Red-breasted merganser, Scaup and Long-tailed Ducks. Then as we were scanning the channels for any Red-Crested Pochard news broke of the Snowy Owls presence at Snettisham!
A quick dash back to the car and we are soon parked up in the car park at Snettisham Two miles and 35-40 minutes later we reach the Southern end of the reserve. Sitting on a grass mound in a fenced off area behind Shore Hide is the fantastic sight of the 1st winter female Snowy Owl some 80 metres away! It remained there throughout our visit, sometimes dozing but always aware of its surroundings.

The Snowy Owl had found the perfect spot to rest up, surrounded by a fence with a boardwalk running right along one edge that allowed superb views for all without any disturbance to the bird. There was no hint of anyone trying to cross the fence or encroach closer while we were there.
The RSPB volunteer on site has to be congratulated for the way he handled several dog owners with free running dogs. Respectfully pointing out the situation and asking them to put leads on their dogs. All did so without any problems.

Some handheld phone scope images below.

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