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, 25 April 2010

Away From Owls

Due to the fact that the little owl activity is some what non existent at the moment I decided to make the most of the time I had this afternoon and spend it at a local area that has really caught my attention recently. I first stumbled upon the area whilst out looking for owls but after a few visits it is now starting to throw up some nice birds. One of the main attractions to me though is, it is a blissful mini wilderness with a tapestry of different habitats with the added bonus of it always seems to be devoid of human disturbance.

I have decided this will be my new patch for general birding when I am not out owling and I'm going to call it  "Rids Patch". But having said that this site does also have owls, I have seen Little owl here before and Barn owl only last week.  So starting from last week (my last visit) I'm going to see if I can achieve an initial target of 75 different species sighting (and photographs) during the next 12 months!

Today's visit and patch ticking got of to a flying start, as I approached the pools I had an initial shock as I unintentionally flushed a pair of curlew and and an oyster catcher. Dam and blast I hadn't got my camera prepared and unfortunately the curlew were not to show again, but the oyster catcher did keep on circling around long enough for this flight image.

Soon after I'd chosen a location to settle down in with an advantageous view across the shallow pools the third bird of the day fluttered in, a nice recent arrival from the continent in the form of a yellow wagtail!

After the yellow wag departed all went quiet for a while with no near birds to get images of so it was out with the binoculars to start notching up other more common species. Up above were five buzzards soaring on the thermals, a kestrel was looking out for voles perched on some power lines and a sparrowhawk flew low over the pools causing havoc with the lapwings. My good fortune was in as one of the lapwings landed in front of me and started to have a bath.

A distant crow was hanging around menacingly.

Then the birds I really came to see put in an appearance, the little ringed plovers.

The main area here has a large shallow pool with muddy scrapes and a shingle and stoney shoreline, further on from this a marshy area a couple of reed beds and a huge sand bank. Then you can add the surrounding deeper pools, meadows, hedgerows, small spinneys and a stream. Sounds good hey........you bet it is, you have obviously realised by now the area absolutely oozes potential !!

My bird tally for the 3 hours I was there was 33 and as follows;

Curlew, Oyster Catcher, Yellow Wagtail, Buzzard, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Linnet, Crow, Canadian Geese (nesting and on eggs), Great Spotted Woodpecker, Pied Wagtail, Little Grebe, Lapwing, Great Tit, Blackcap (male), Chiffchaff, Blue Tit, Moorhen, Coot, Little Ringed Plover, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Grey Partridge, Sand Martin, Swallow, Willow Warbler, Chaffinch, Snipe, Mallard, Jay (heard only), Tufted Duck, Barn Owl (last week) and a pair of Willow Tits that were pecking out their nest cavity in a rotten tree.

At this rate shouldn't be too long before my target of 75 is achieved!!!


  1. Looks like you've got yourself a great patch there Paul!! Good luck!

  2. You have clearly found yourself a good un there. Give it some stick nad I am sure you will get due rewards. Cheers. Phil

  3. Thank you Phil I sure will, keep coming back and you may well see some real specials????

  4. Let me guess,is it near Sapcote by any chance?

  5. Hi Dave, not sure where you are thinking of but no not near Sacote? Have another guess and i'll let you know if you get any warmer!