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Speculation over return of Christchurch Park’s beloved owl Mabel grows as even more sightings reported

Mabel the owl in her tree. Picture: SU ANDERSON

Mabel the owl in her tree. Picture: SU ANDERSON

Mystery surrounds the return of Christchurch Park’s most famous feathered friend as several reported sightings of Mabel prompted a community group to celebrate her arrival.

The new statue of Mabel, commissioned by the Friends of Christchurch Park, hopes to act as a lasting reminder of the tawny owl if she fails to return to her perch. Picture: FRIENDS OF CHRISTCHURCH PARKThe new statue of Mabel, commissioned by the Friends of Christchurch Park, hopes to act as a lasting reminder of the tawny owl if she fails to return to her perch. Picture: FRIENDS OF CHRISTCHURCH PARK

Members of the Friends of Christchurch Park said they have received a number of messages from people claiming to have seen the beloved tawny owl close to her perch in the last few days.

Expert Reg Snook, who originally feared she may have reared her final brood, has also received reports of her returning sending speculation about her return into overdrive.

Despite a number of people suggesting they had seen her earlier this week Ipswich Borough Council bosses said they did not believe she had returned.

Now the Friends of Christchurch Park are hoping a new statue commissioned to honour Mabel may enable visitors to enjoy the presence of two owls if speculation about her homecoming proves to be correct.

It is hoped the statue will be unveiled in the park next Friday. Picture: FRIENDS OF CHRISTCHURCH PARKIt is hoped the statue will be unveiled in the park next Friday. Picture: FRIENDS OF CHRISTCHURCH PARK

Secretary Sylvia Patsalides said: “It’s all up in the air – a bit like Mabel but we have had so many people come to us to say that she is back.

“We posted a message on our Facebook and Twitter pages last night (Tuesday) to say she was back because of the volume of people getting in touch.

“I haven’t seen her myself unfortunately.”

She added: “The Friends of Christchurch Park have honoured its most famous resident by commissioning an oak chain saw sculpture to be placed in front of the tree where she roosted for so many years. Following her unusually early spring exit in February, her fans have been avidly scanning the skies awaiting her return.”

Suffolk based tree surgeon David Good carved the likeness from a piece of oak using a gallery of Mabel photographs captured by onlookers over the last decade.

He also used a specially produced drawing by Mr Snook, who is a ornithologist and artist.

Ms Patsalides added: “We hope that it (the statue) will bring enjoyment to the many who walk the path from Westerfield Road to town – especially now that there are a duo of owls!”

The original idea behind the statue was that it would act as a permanent reminder of Mabel should she fail to return.

Ms Patsalides hopes it will be unveiled next Friday.

Have you seen Mabel? Send your photos to newsroom@archant.co.uk

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