The arrival of the snowy owl causes a shock wave in Spain
Spain’s first three Snowy Owls have been recorded in the past 10 days, blowing bird watchers away and causing the country’s biggest known shake.
The first individual, a male from the first winter, was found exhausted on the north coast near Santander, Cantabria on November 8. He was taken into care and later died. An isotope analysis should be performed on the sample to help determine its origin.
Spain’s third snowy owl in Verdicio on November 14 (Daniel López Velasco).
On the 10th, a second bird was found – a female from the first winter – about 150 km west along the north coast at Moniello, Asturias. He moved to Cabo de Peñas on the 17th and was still there yesterday (18).
Surprisingly, a third snowy owl – another male from the first winter – was found in Cabo de Peñas on the 13th, settling near Verdicio the next day. This strange set of coincidences regarding the location and arrival of the birds has sparked speculation that they are of Nearctic origin and were assisted by ships; El Musel, a large port in Gijon, is less than 15 km from where the two Asturian birds were first discovered.
The owls have triggered what has been described as the biggest tick Spain has ever seen, with more than 500 people visiting since their arrival. Prior to November 6, no snowy owls had ever been recorded in Spain, which is not surprising given that the closest breeding grounds for this arctic species are over 3,500 km away.
Owls have caused a sensation in Spain, with hundreds of bird watchers visiting Asturias (Daniel López Velasco).