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!!!

Monday, 10 May 2010

4 G's and a Fox!

Sunday morning went up to "Rids Patch" for a couple of hours before the football. Although windy it was really quiet pleasant. I was hoping to get some more patch ticks of the more common species (dunnock, greenfinch, yellowhammer etc) that I really should of seen so far but haven't!

As I was walking along north meadow down towards the scrape a green woodpecker rose from the grass in front of me, excellent a patch tick and I'd only been here 5 minutes. Further along north meadow there were plenty of whitethroats singing in the gorse bushes, I hung around for a few minutes but the little blighters wouldn't really show themselves for a photo, mind you I was always going to struggle for any half decent images as I only got my 35mm lens with me, my 500mm has still not been repaired yet.

I settled down at the edge of the scrap and my second patch tick of the day came in the form of a fly over goldfinch, my running tally is moving on nicely now and upto 46 different species.

On the scrape the little ringed plovers were seen again but I could only locate two of the usual four, I can only assume the two I couldn't locate must have been out the way somewhere sitting on eggs? Then from absolutely nowhere a grey wagtail landed right in front of me, it was so preoccupied with feeding on the fresh hatch of flies it didn't even notice me, oh yes a third new species tick of the day! 

Then again from absolutely nowhere appeared a fox! Just as with the wagtail 5 minutes beforehand he didn't even notice me! He was walking along sniffing the ground as he went past, can only assume he was on the trial of some prey...........a rabbit maybe?
 Mr Fox

Once the fox had disappeared I again turned my attention to the scrap, still couldn't locate the little ringed plovers but what I did locate was a very handsome greenshank! I was really surprised, one of the last birds I would have thought to see here. It worked its way around the edge of the scrap getting nearer all the time, then unlike the wagtail and the fox it saw me! It bobbed characteristically a couple of times and then off it flew. I did managed this in flight image but again too far away for my smaller lens........doooohhhh!!!!

Greenshank in flight

All in all a very proactive couple of hours and plenty of birds about. Whilst on my walk I also saw 5 wheatears (all females) in snipe marsh but the 4 new patch ticks were the highlights......oh and not forgetting the fox!

And finally I must say hello to Maureen, apparently she is this blogs most avid reader..................... "HELLO MAUREEN"!!!!!


  1. Hi
    I noticed that you have a lot of really good Little Owl photographs. I edit a free magazine called Nature Matters and am about to feature an article by Emily Joachim. I wondered if you would be prepared to let me have a photo or two to accompany her article. I could not pay you as the magazine does not earn any money but you would get a credit and, of course, a note of thanks from me.


  2. Hi Micheal, I have sent you an email!

  3. Great, I am glad you guys are in touch! I was going to suggest that you contact Paul as he has some great images! Nice to see that the females are still incubating their eggs. I look forward to seeing the young hatch out :-)