Large white bird mystery

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Snowy owl

Last week, Audlem Online received an interesting story of a large white bird of prey that had swooped down on a rabbit at Brookfield golf course and killed its prey instantly. It was described as possibly a very large owl, prompting suggestions that a Snowy Owl — famously featured in the Harry Potter films — had been seen in the area.

Three of these extremely rare birds to Britain have been seen in Cornwall and the Channel Islands this winter, an unusually large number of the large Scandinavian-based birds. It has been suggested that they have been forced south by a shortage of lemmings, their natural prey, in their Arctic home. Perhaps the lemmings have all fallen of a cliff, we wondered — a little like the economy.

An expert has been consulted. Could one of the three birds be heading back to Scandinavia via the Audlem area — it's not a bad route, as the crow flies! The expert ornithologist says that theory cannot be dismissed but says a more plausible explanation is that the bird seen was an albino buzzard — not a different species but a very pale variant of the common buzzards that are now seen everywhere in the area. A number have been reported in Cheshire in recent years, we are told.

If anybody has any reports of sightings, of a whitish Buzzard or a Snowy Owl, please let us know. Some very rare birds have turned up in Audlem over the years. Could this be another?


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