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, 4 April 2010

En route to 75.

Today found me being escorted by Richard Pegler, another photographer and birding supremo from the north west of the county. Richard and I had a day out owling on my patch at the back end of last year and since then he too has also got the little owl bug! He has been doggedly searching around the area where he lives and now has a very creditable portfolio of 9 unique little owl sites, you can catch up with Richard, his owls and many other bird related items at Peglerbirding

Anyway, today was a little different rather than go owling all day we decided to spend the morning over at Eyebrook reservoir to see if the ospreys had returned back after their long migration from Africa. 

On the way over to Eyebrook Richard was telling me he hadn't seen a little owl for a few weeks so I made a slight detour to see if my favourite owl "scabby" was showing (see my very 1st post). As we pulled up he was there, sitting at the nest hole entrance posing for the cameras!

Scabby the owl, Site 16, Kilby - Newstead Farm.

As we drove down the approach lane to Eyebrook I pulled over and pointed out to Richard that the isolated oak tree in the field was home to a pair of little owls, after a bit of straining we picked out the pair in the tree.  

2 little owls, can you see them?

When we finally arrived at the reservoir we parked up at the bridge and started to survey the surrounding area, there wasn't much showing (not a single wader of any description ) this wasn't surprising though as after the recent heavy rain the Eyebrook was so heavily swollen it had covered the mudflats.

Eyebrook Reservoir from the bridge (into the sun!). 

With nothing of any note showing in or around the waters edge we turned to the sky, this is where all the action was! Within a minute or two we picked up several buzzards, a red kite and our target for the morning, a returning osprey. As the image below shows it was quite distant but still good to see.

A long distant traveller.

Eventually we lost sight of the osprey so we moved along the reservoir to the Stoke Dry car park, here we bumped into John Turner (whom I went out with last weekend). John had earlier had some very good views of the osprey and you can see his excellent picture by clicking on this link birdguides.

After a good morning watching the raptors at Eyebrook it was now back down to business of little owls on my local patch. I wanted to take Richard over to my site 75 as the pair there had been showing really well recently. On route we stopped off at site 31, Crossways Farm. Because I was driving I wasn't able to take any images here but I managed to position the landrover in such a way Richard was able to capture some of the action, click here to see  Peglerbirding.

Still on our way to site 75 we went by site 53, here we pulled over and had some distant views of the little owl feeding on the ground.

Site 53, Countesthorpe - Soars Lodge Farm - Site B.

We finally arrived at site 75 and true to form both of the resident owls were located with-in minutes. Here we both managed to get some images of the very showy male bird.

Show off.

Just before we departed the male owl joined his partner and again some pleasing images were obtained.

Site 75, Peatling Parva - Preistlands

Not a bad day at all, I think the final tally was; Little Owl - 10, Red Kite - 1, Buzzard 11, a few Kestrels and a single Osprey.

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