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, 30 June 2010


Got out again tonight but not as early as I would have liked, working late and a front near side puncture put paid to that!! Anyway, I went out to site 107 near to Gilmorton, although I knew there was 3 Little Owl chicks at this site, (because I helped ring them a couple of weeks ago) but I was yet to see them out the nest. Well tonight was the night and it was a bloody brilliant couple of hours, the owls showed really well and considering how late it was the light was good too.  

I had an hunch the owls would be in and around an old hay stack across the road from the nest tree, so this was where I parked up the Landrover and waited. Soon after one of the adults showed, I couldn't believe my luck, it was now up to me to nail a few half decent images.

As usual, double click on any image for a larger and more detailed version.

Adult owl shows.

Ten minutes later two of the juveniles popped out of the gap in between the hay rolls, I wondered where the third juvenile was?

Juvenile No 1 & 2

It didn't take long for my question of the whereabouts of the third Juvenile to be answered, the adult owl was eating it!!!! Something gory had obviously happened to it and like any good parent.......waste not want not!!!

Adult owl and the recently departed juvenile No 3....hmmmm tastes familiar!!

The older of the juveniles decided to go on walk about, I think it was looking for some different type of food as it was fed up with eating its little brother.

Getting brave now, dropped down onto the ground, can you see the ring I helped fit on its right leg?

The parent had had its fill of cannibalism and flew onto a nearby plastic fence post, this could be an "owl in flight" photo opportunity?

So so so nearly nailed it, not quite what I was hoping for but I am well satisfied with the results............for now!

The second Juvenile went on walk about and offered some excellent photo opportunities.

The light had all but gone now so it was time to get going, a hundred yards down the road I came across the second adult sitting on top of a sign post. It posed really well for me, shame I hadn't captured it went the light was better.

I decided to take a detour on the way back through the village of Gilmorton and just as I was leaving the village I spotted a Little owl sitting on top of an old barn in a disused farm yard, another new site without even trying.........GET IN THERE!!!!!

I had to bump the ISO up to 1600 on the camera but never the less it was a record shot of a bird at site 109. I hung around for ten minutes or so to see if it would come any closer..........it didn't but I did see a second bird, maybe there will be some chicks as well, I will investigate this later in the week.

In between Gilmorton and home I also confirmed breeding successes at site No 68, Peatling Magna (2 juveniles) and site No 53, Countesthorpe (2 juveniles). With tonight's counts it now takes this years confirmed juveniles so far to 42 at 19 different sites, beating last years 39 at 20 sites.

What a brilliant and very enjoyable night!


  1. Very interesting post Paul and you nailed that flight shot!
    Shame about the third youngster, but that's nature for you I guess.

  2. Hi Anyhony, thanks for your comments. I'm still not 100% happy with the flight shot, although I am getting there.....albeit slowly!
    Yeh it was a shock about the 3rd juvenile, but as you said, thats nature........Cheers Paul.

  3. Amazing stuff, Paul!!! I swear that the adult has a guilty look on its face in that third image. Well done again!

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