Hi and welcome to my Blog, my name is Paul Riddle and I live in south Leicestershire, UK. Back in August 2007 my quest began to locate as many local Little Owl territories as possible. The driving force was a reported decline in the uk numbers so I thought I would do my bit and conduct a study in my area. After 7 years and countless hours out in the field I have detected over 200 different sites. With a thirst for a greater understanding of the owls a more comprehensive monitoring and nest box programme then commenced. This also now includes monitoring the local and very sparse population of Barn Owls, please pop back occasionally and catch up with the life and times of my owls and any other wildlife that I come across. I hope you enjoy your visit!!!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Crazy night 2

Last night I managed to see owls at 7 out of 8 local sites that I visited, a really good return and the most owls I have seen in such a short space of time. I decided to go for it again tonight to see if lightning would strike twice? I decided that none of last night’s sites would be re-visited so some planning was required; I needed to be smart and plan a route that would allow me to visit as many sites as possible before the light goes.

First up was the two sites just north of Countesthorpe, Rose Farm site A & B, both produced birds in no time at all but only site B allowed a photo (below), sitting at its nest entrance sunning itself.

Site 39, Countesthorpe - Rose Farm site B

Next stop was Wayside Farm at Kilby Bridge; after 30 seconds of arriving a single little owl was spotted sunning itself in a nearby ash tree, due to the fact that the sun was shining at me from behind the bird only a silhouette could be seen no photo was possible!

Pushing on the next planned stop was my new site over at Wistow, upon arrival I parked next to what I believe will be this summer’s nest tree and bingo!!!! A single bird was perched high above me and the same as the previously seen birds of today, it was making the most of the low evening sun. Don't know if you agree but this little chap seems to have a real angry look about him!

Site 97, Wistow - Wain Bridge (NO NOT THE JOHN TERRY WAYNE BRIDGE!!)

Things were looking good, a 100% success rate at four sites in only 30 minutes, the next site could spoil all that though, my last few visits had drew blanks and I was wondering if the birds had moved on? All my fears were soon dismissed as soon as I pulled up, a single bird was sitting on top of a sawn off tree trunk getting some sun..........result!!!

Site 1, Carlton Curlieu - Marks Plantation

The sun was now starting to set and the light fading fast, I had to move on to the next site pretty sharpish otherwise yesterdays target would not be beaten. After 5 minutes of driving I pulled up at the next site and nothing!!!! Through desperation I tried playing my little owl contact call on my mobile phone and almost instantly there was an inquiring pair of heads at the nest entrance.

Site 19, Fleckney - Lyndon Lodge Farm

My favourite site was the next on the route, and true to form no time was wasted here as "scabby" was waiting for me on one of his posts. A 30 second pit stop (photo) and I was off again to the next site.

Site 16, Arnesby - Newstead Farm

Next stop was site 53 back at Countesthorpe, a single bird was seen sitting on top of a pollard willow but unfortunately it was too distant for any images! Due to how dark it was now getting I had time for one more site and what better than the morphing owl site (see post 6th Jan 2010). Upon arrival I was expecting to see an owl of some type sitting at the hole entrance but nothing? I sat and waited for 20 minutes until it was only just possible to see but no owl, I think I must have missed it by seconds!!

To sum up it was another great night for little owl viewing, I believe the settled weather and the evening sun was the recipe for them to be dripping out of the trees...........8 out of 9 aint bad!!!

1 comment:

  1. Ruddy amazing!!! BTW - have you noticed that all this crop have widely spaced eyes ? Could it be that if you're doing these quick 'bashes' and sticking to a smallish area each time, the gene pool is small - wide-spaced eyes in one area, and narrow in another?

    All I saw this evening were three Barnies - they're delightful too, but in a rather different way.