One of the curiosities of recording TV programmes is the little time capsules of news that you catch at either end of the thing you want. So it is that I have just watched a newsflash about Gatwick Airport being closed due to snow. It caused me to reflect for a moment on Newton's Fourth Law, which states: the airtime given by BBC News to snow and ice dramas is directly proportional to the amount of snow that falls upon London and inversely proportional to that which falls upon Northumberland.
A few years ago now we were driving down a quiet road in North Northumberland when my daughter annouced that she had just seen two owls in a tree. (By the way, there is a connnection to snow here if you stick with it). As it was 11am on a bright hot sunny May day, I thought little owl, but my tyres were right when they screeched a passable barn owl impression on the tarmac. We slowly reversed back up the hill to an old roadside ash to see four black eyes staring out of the hole in the bole.
There has been a lot of press inches about the effect of prolonged snow cover on Barn Owl survival and given that their primary food source, voles, are inaccessible to a hunting owl in a snow covered landscape, this must be a significant factor. As with most things though its more complicated than that. The Barn Owl Trust has an interesting overview of winter survival here.
So with the gloom surrounding the Owl Tree this year it was all the more pleasing to have seen the owl at the top of the post fit and well on the Northumberland Wildlife Trust's Hauxley reserve.