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!!!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Bad news and mouse supper!

Tonight I went to check out a couple of my occupied little owl nest boxes as it has been a couple of weeks since I last visited them. I was keeping my fingers crossed that both sites will by now have chicks.

First stop was a site at South Wigston, on my last visit the hen bird was sitting tight on four eggs. Oh but nothing like that tonight, when I opened the nest box door to have a peek inside my heart sank, the box was empty!!!! No parent owl, no eggs and no chicks. I suspect something (or someone) had been in to either eat them or even worse........take the eggs??? Problem with this site is it's not far from a very well used public bridle way and I have noticed many people spot the nest box.......a lesson learnt on future site selections!

Next stop was over at Kilby, better news here, mother a three very healthy fat chicks of about 2 weeks old were in the box. Luckily this box is located well off the beat and track and the only disturbance is from me and the local farmer driving by in his tractor. I'll be looking to make a re-visit in the next week or so to do some ringing with Andy Smith.

My last check was a natural site at Whetstone, the last time I visited the hen bird was sitting on seven eggs. Well not anymore, they have transformed into a nest full of fluffy balls and pin feathers. Due to the sprawling mass I wasn't able to deter just how many there were, definitely 3, possibly 4 and with a bit of luck 5 but I am convinced there wasn't seven?

Well that was enough of checking boxes for tonight, next on my itinerary for the evening was owls in flight images, and site 107 was where I was going to give it a go. Upon arrival one of the adult birds was located sitting just inside the nest hole giving me the glare!

It wasn't long before the second adult bird showed bringing home a mouse supper. I nearly nailed the flight shot but I wasn't quite ready with the camera settings ......well that's my excuse for missing yet another fantastic opportunity, to be truthful they are just too fast for me!  

I was now ready and waiting, the light levels were just fantastic, all I needed now was an obliging fly past owl............and it happened, resulting in my best yet little owl flight image. Still not the pin sharpe image I am after but it'll do for now!!!!!!  


  1. Could have been worse . . .
    - at least they left you the box !

    ( we've had several taken.
    In one case we took the lower branches off with a chainsaw, but "they" took a 5-bar gate off its hinges & used it as a ladder to get up & remove that A frame Barnie box.)

    keep up the good work.

  2. Hi Paul. Sorry to hear of your nest box problem. It must be really upsetting.

    To happier things - brilliant images (all three of them!).