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

No Cuckoo!

This evening the chosen location for walk was over at Rids Patch, as I have recently heard Cuckoo calling at other locations in Leicestershire I thought my patch just might produce one tonight? I decided to take my smaller lens with me this evening so I could capture a few images of this location (but not birds) that would hopefully give a feel for the area.

I'd only walked a 100 yards or so from where I parked the car into East meadow when I came across this barn owl pellet on a fence post, the white area at the front is a skull from some kind of small rodent.

After east meadow you come to the shallow water scrape, here all the usual suspects could be seen along with a very nice pair of common sandpipers, a first for this location and a patch tick for me.

Shallow water scrape

Next I moved onto the south reedbed area, here I notched another patch tick in the form of a superbly marked male reed bunting. You never know, maybe a wintering bittern here one day?

South reedbed

I have named the next area wet marsh, as opposed to dry marsh which is next to it. Here there was a few lapwings and a solitary little ringed plover.

Wet marsh

At the side of wet mash is this rotten tree stump, this is where a pair of willow tits have excavated their nesting chamber. The work of these industrial little birds can be clearly seen in the below image.

Willow tit nest hole.

The next spot that I spent some time at was Q pool, here the resident pair of oyster catchers were located but nothing much else apart from some tufted ducks and coots.

Q pool

I'd now reached the furthest point from the car so I turned and started my way back, I walked down snipe meadow, aptly named as this is a good site for seeing common snipe, you never know a jack snipe will be found here one day!

Snipe ditch.

Not far from the car a fluttering from a hedgerow caught my eye, after a while of waiting and watching an incredible seven passage wheatears were located (4 males & 3 females). This was was a totally unexpected patch tick, poor images due to me having the wrong lens....doooohhhh!!!!

Wheatear  x 4 on the hedgerow.

As it happens it was a very productive couple of hours birding and again some unexpected quality sightings and patch ticks, but sadly no cuckoo!!


  1. Your patch looks good. Are the Willow Tits photographable as they go about their business?

  2. Hi again John, sorry I missed your comment yesterday! Yes they can be photographed if their nest site was to be staked out but not really too much activity at the moment. I believe this is mainly due to incubation duties but it won't be long before the feeding frenzy of the young starts so should be better oportunities then. Just let me know if you are interested and i'll show you around.

  3. Cheers Paul, keep me posted and I'll come down when they start feeding.