We saw a Snowy Owl today; never seen one before in my life. It was flying close by in a sheep field on the Waskerley Way which is a disused rail track in the North Pennines. It was hunting . . . in broad daylight . . . low to the ground, as I have seen owls do. While we were watching and it came very close . . . within 50-meters . . . it scared up a Kestrel, a much smaller hawk and we wondered if it had stolen the Kestrel’s catch: it was certainly highly irritated. It wasn’t snowing, by the way. There was no snow at all although it was pretty cold.
Can’t find anything about them on any UK site: they are so rare that they might as well not exist but Wikipedia says they are Artic birds normally resident above the Artic Circle in places like Russia, Alaska and Greenland. If you see them at all in the UK it would be in Shetland or perhaps the Outer Hebrides.
Incredible to see one here 45-minutes from Newcastle.