Posted by Graeme Lyons , Wednesday, 8 February 2017 08:29
Before you read anymore, I think it best to set the atmosphere so hit play below. Even though it was 20th February 1991, this music was actually playing at the time. Despite being six years before the first book was written.
Now my notes tell me we were in Wanefleet, Leicestershire but it didn't take me long to realise today I was actually in Lincolnshire. Clearly, it didn't really matter to me what county or town I was in, as along as it started with the right letter, had a similar number of syllables and we saw the birds. Anyway, imagine being 12 years old and going to see a Snowy Owl in the UK. Oh, yeah, probably copied (not traced I'll add!) that picture from the Reader's Digest book again...
We either could have gone straight to Norfolk and stayed there all day or gone to Wanefleet to see the Snowy Owl, and , depending on how long it took to see it either go to Norfolk or Gibralter Point.
We found the infamous (?!) sea lane and carried on a long it, the fields spread for miles (definitely Lincolnshire then), it could have been anywhere we began to think it would be one of those days. we got to the end of sea lane and saw three cars, two were empty the third held one man (a little dramatic Little Graeme). We pulled up next to him and asked him where it was, he said (with a mouth of salad sandwich, go down the right hand sea wall , follow it till you get to a barrier the Dyke on your left, follow that up and there it is.
We followed his instructions and before we got to the barrier we had saw it. A big (enormous even), huge white owl. pure white with strange half closed cat like eyes. It sat more like a halk than an owl, and it didn't do much, the hole half hour we was there the most it did was turn his head. After a while, we headed back down the sea wall, and heard a strange , lapwing noise but we could see nothing we got back to the car and Mr Gardner went and lost his lense (I'm guessing this was just a lens cap) to his scope we went back to look for it but all we saw was some speedwell and a Snowy Owl! (God, Snowy Owls are just so boring after the first thirty seconds, gimme a lens cap any day to stop the intense boredom, ha ha). We didn't find it so we headed to the car and headed towards Norfolk...
I've not seen a Snowy Owl since. What an amazing experience. Don't miss the next installment from Norfolk where not only do I get three more lifers but I nearly lose all my bird-watching equipment in a reckless bet.