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!!!

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Good old Blackies!!!!

Went out really early today, the mission was to get my first images from Little Owl sites 104 & 105. Although I visit these sites regularly and see the owls on maybe every other visit they are always too distant to get any half decent images, until today........... 

I employed different tactics, rather than just sauntering around when the sun is shining (like on previous occasions)  I arrived at the crack of sparrows (dam early to those who have never heard of that expression) and boy oh boy did it pay dividends. Although the light levels were poor at first (slow shutter speeds) and the constant drizzle didn't help, I think the conditions were perfectly suited to the owls. 

First birds to show were at site 105, they were moving about from post to post busily hunting and looking out for a breakfast morsel.   

 Site 105 - Hiding amongst the blossom.

Site 105
 Site 105 - A little wet and a little nearer.

After some fantastic views of the pair at site 105 it was time to drive to the other end of the field to see if I could have as much luck at site 104, en-route I passed site 77 but nothing showing there today! 

As I drew up to the suspect nest tree my attention was drawn to a pair of Blackbirds (Mr Hauge, please note bird names are now capitalized ;-) LOL!!!!) that were making a right old racket along the hedgerow. Now Blackbirds don't like Little Owls, justifiably so as there has been many a Blackbird chick that has ended up on the Little Owls menu! So when they do come beak to beak the Blackies mock the owls and constantly harass them until they move on. Well that's exactly what happened today, I drove very slowly to where the pair of Blackbirds were going absolutely ape and what did I locate, you've guessed it................Little Owls.

It wasn't long before the first owl had had enough of the mocking and flew off but the second held fast, it moved around from branch to branch until it too had had enough and off it flew to join its mate. Thanks to the Blackbirds and all the commotion they were making I was able to firstly detect the owls and secondly get relative close which resulted in some nice images.

Site 104 - A quiet moment!

Site 104 - Owl No 1 - Chased off by the Blackbird! Double click image for greater detail.

Site 104 - Owl No 2 - Chased off by the Blackbird! Double click image for greater detail.


  1. Fantastic Paul (images AND you getting out of bed early!!!). You're getting a bit good at these flight images! Your No.2 owl at site 104 is another one of yours with the 'funny face'. I haven't found any of these on my patch yet.

  2. Thanks Richard, yes the 2nd bird from site 104 is one of those "square headed" types.......strange hey!!!!
    On holiday all week and I've got loads of plans and objectives set so I'll be getting up even earlier tomorrow, and Tuesday and Wednesday and...........!!!!!

  3. It's Mr Hague!

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