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!!!

Friday, 30 April 2010

See Snake!

Emily Joachim from the Hawk & Owl trust is here again in Leicestershire and this weekend I am taking her around my little owl sites, she has some kind of electronic device that enables her to record the exact locations onto some mapping software.

While we are out we will also be checking any breeding activity and the amount of eggs the hen birds have laid. Now this might be a difficult task at the natural nest holes as some have very small entrances and can also be very deep! However, Emily has got a fantastic piece of equipment, a Ridgid "See Snake" this is a camera on a long flexi lead with a light on the front end and a viewing screen on the other (see image below).

The lead is carefully pushed into the nest entrance and if there is an incubating bird all will be revealed on the screen! Apparently Emily is an expert at this and she has assured me it will cause minimal disturbance to the owls.

 The See Snake, yours truly can be just made out on the screen!

Yesterday evening I took Emily to one of my local sites where I  had suspicions the owls maybe using one of my nest boxes. Soon after arriving we located the male bird in the suspect nest tree, he was perched on one of the outer limbs, he then dropped from the tree onto the ground and then back again, but on his return he had with him a mouse!  Then without hesitation he took it straight into the nest box! Emily is convinced he was feeding the hen bird who will be by now sitting tight on her clutch of eggs, lets hope she is right and all will be confirmed over this coming weekend.


  1. Sounds absolutely fascinating, Paul!! I look forward to hearing all about it next week. Good luck.

  2. Any luck with proper snakes Paul?

  3. No not yet John, hoping to make another visit soon.