Avid bird watchers travelled from across the country to catch a glimpse of a rare avian visitor to Titchwell Marsh and Snettisham over the weekend, when a rare female snowy owl appeared.
Hundreds gathered on the RSPB reserves to see the bird made famous thanks to Hedwig, Harry Potter’s post-carrying messenger in JK Rowling’s novels.
The news of the snowy owl’s arrival was broadcast through the birding community and within hours a crowd formed.
Graham Minster from Swindon, Wiltshire, left home at 4am, driving 170 miles. He said: “I never imagined I would see a snowy owl in person. She is a beautiful bird and worth every minute it took me to get here.”
These strikingly white birds are more commonly found in the high Arctic tundra rather than the coastal regions of Britain.
During winter months they can migrate southwards looking for food sources and it is possible this bird came from Scandinavia or even as far away as Canada with the recent snap of cold weather.
Snowy owls had limited breeding success on Shetland in the 1960-70’s and occasional sightings in the UK have been reported since then. It is incredibly rare to see one as far south as Norfolk.
Unlike other species of owl, snowy owls are active during daylight hours and may be seen gliding low over ground looking for small mammals such as voles or event rabbits.
The birds are content to sit still for long periods of time either on a low perch or boulder making them an ideal ‘twitch’ for wildlife fans.