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!!!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Excellent Night!

Had to get out this evening and make the most of the glorious evening sun, and boy what a memorable evening it turned out to be!

Firstly a trip over to Barwell to check out one of my boxes and although I didn't see an owl go into the box it was hanging around pretty close (image below) dare I suggest near enough is good enough??......no of course not!!

Site 42, Kirkby Mallory - Brockey Farm Site A

My second stop was at Sapcote, I wasn't holding out much hope to see anything at this site as my last sighting was back in the autumn of 2009! I feared the worst and that the bad winter had taken its toll, and then I saw him, looks like we have a survivor after all. Not the best of images but one I was really pleased to be able to take.

Site 49, Sapcote - Glebe Farm Site B

Next was site 75 over at Peatling Parva, this location has become a bit of a regularity just recently, only one bird showing again which now indicates the female is sitting tight on her eggs. In comparison with all the other hundreds of little owls I have encountered, it is quite incredible how confiding this male bird is. He really wasn't bothered about my presence as can be seen here he was more interested in finishing his beetle!

Site 75, Peatling Parva - Preistlands.

Not far from site 75 is site 58, here both birds were out, the first (image below) was sitting in the nest tree not too far from my box, the second bird was 50 mts or so along the hedgerow hunting. Obviously no egg laying yet otherwise the hen bird would be tucked away doing her incubation duties. 

Site 58, Peatling Magna - Lower Brookhill Farm.

It was now time to check out another box at site 45, this was another site where I hadn't made any sightings this year. Judging on how well the evening was going I was hopeful of an owl showing. My patience paid off as I spotted the bachelor bird and guess what? He had another bird with him!!! Can the night get any better?

Next the new pair put on a very fine mating show with plenty of squeaking, squawking and wing flapping. Maybe the nest box at this site will get some use after all?

Just as I was departing they came over towards me (maybe for a closer look) and sat staring from a trailer and fence that the farmer had left out.

Site 45, Willoughby - Willoughby Lodge Farm.

Being really pleased with the evenings events and the light was fading fast it was time to make tracks home. I was reflecting on the nights events when suddenly I spotted what I thought was a little owl, it was in a location where I hadn't seen one before and only a couple of hundred metres from the last site!! No it couldn't be.......could it? I pulled up, opened the window and waited. Oh my god it was then confirmed, sitting on top of a telegraph pole calling out was a little owl......RESULT.....get in there site 103!!!!.
Although nearly dark there was just enough light for a record shot (below).

What I thought was a great night suddenly turned into an excellent night! 

NEW Site 103,  Willoughby - Lodge Farm


  1. What a brilliant night you had! Great photos too. I was out this evening looking for any kind of owl, but still not found one :(

  2. Hi Birdtracker, yes it was a superb night thanks. I have located a lot of my owls by going out in the countryside at dusk, somewhere nice and quiet and listening. Once you hear them they will not be too far away when you return in the daytime. Hope you find some soon.