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!!!

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Owl and about 7/3/10

The light levels this morning were absolutely fabulous for photography, so it was out to a few local sites to see what was about. Although very bright and sunny it was bloody cold, thank goodness I had my Benny hat with me!

First port of call was Crossways Farm at Whetstone, after observing the site for 10 minutes or so two birds were located feeding in the bottom of the hedgerow, the strength and direction of the light was perfect for some fast shutter speeds (my lens is a bit slow unless the light is very very good), so I decided to sit it out in Benson (my pet name for my Landover) and attack my nemesis...............owls in flight!

Site 31, Whetstone - Crossways Farm

After a short wait the birds accepted my presence and started to feed in the pasture, this one was presumably looking for beetles and grubs.

Site 31, Whetstone - Crossways Farm

I had one opportunity to nail the flight shot and this was the result, I'm pretty pleased with it although I had to crop the image quite a bit due to the distance I was from the bird, this has obviously resulted in a reduction in quality (oh for a fast canon lens).

Not sure if it is just a Leicestershire phenomenon but seemingly from nowhere the buzzard has had a remarkable increase in its numbers recently. Only a decade or so ago if I saw one it would have been a real one off and a talking point for the rest of the day, nowadays if you venture out into the countryside it is virtually impossible not to see one. However, as popular as they are I am finding them difficult so and so's to get a decent image of. So when I pulled up at a little owl site at Kilby today I couldn't resist capturing an image of this handsome guy.


After the buzzard had buzzed off it was back down to the business of little owls, I drove right upto the nest tree, (of which incidentally I have recently put up a nest box) and bingo a pair was in residence capturing the morning sun right next to my box!!! This image (below) was captured before they decided I had ventured too close and off they went!

Site 91, Kilby - Wayside Farm

The next location was where "scabby the owl" could be found (see my very first post) but to my surprise he wasn't around, but his other half was!! As you can see (below) she was at the nest hole entrance watching me!!!!

Site 16, Kilby - Newstead Farm

Next stop was Rose Farm site A, although a little obscured by the branches the resident bachelor owl was located sunning himself in the apple tree.

Site 37, Countesthorpe - Rose Farm Site A

On my back I decided to call in again at Crossway Farm to try and nail that "in flight" shot that I am so desperate for. This time both birds were located in the nest tree cuddled together and seemingly happy to pose for the lens albeit they were not flying around though!

Site 31, Whetstone - Crossways Farm

Just as I was pulling away one of the birds flew down onto one of the fence posts and stayed there long enough for me to get this final shot of the day.

Site 31, Whetstone - Crossways Farm

An excellent couple of hours owling where 6 birds were seen at 4 different sites and some images that I am well pleased with.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely images Paul - well done on the flight shot !!!

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