Page last updated at 17:38 GMT, Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Snowy owl 'first seen since 1948'


The snowy owl attracting all the attention

A snowy owl has been spotted in Cornwall for the first time since 1948, according to local bird watchers.

The bird, which is native to the Arctic Circle, was first seen in the Isles of Scilly, before it arrived in Zennor, near St Ives.

John Chapple, a local bird watcher, said the owl appeared 10 days ago and bird enthusiasts have been travelling to see it from around the UK.

He said the bird was a young one and seemed "happy and content" to be there.

The chance of a snowy owl landing here is once in a blue moon
John Chapple, bird watcher

Mr Chapple said: "I was exhilarated and excited when I heard about the owl and just had to go and see it.

"It's a fantastic record for Cornwall, the chance of a snowy owl landing here is once in a blue moon.

"It seems happy and content there.

"It must be finding plenty of food."

Snowy owls grow to almost 2ft (0.6m) in height and have a wingspan of more than 5ft (1.5m), making them one of the largest owl species in Europe.

The birds predominantly live in Canada, Russia, Greenland and Iceland, with a smaller presence in Scandinavia.

Lemmings are their usual source of food.

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