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, 28 June 2010

Leaving home!

Sunday morning found me checking out Little Owl site No 6 over at Peckleton, and what a superb visit it turned out to be. Upon arrival I kept my distance and gave the nest tree the once over through my binoculars. To my amazement, and good fortune there were three chicks sitting out around the nest entrance. I knew as soon as I moved any closer they would disappear back into the nest hole so I took a record shot image just in case, although distant all 3 chicks can clearly be seen. 

Landrover parked up and mobile hide in hand I climbed over the fence into the field and true to form all 3 birds had gone! I quietly moved into position and set up my hide about 20mts from the tree and waited.

After about 10 minutes the first juvenile showed itself, but not out in the open, it poked its head out of a tiny hole in the main tree trunk in quite a comical way, I think he was checking me out!

Then at the same time the other 2 chicks appeared higher up in the tree, they too were checking me out!

In an attempt to get some images with better detail I decided to move the hide nearer, this scared them back into the hole..........but not for long! Although I couldn't see them the parent birds were calling from the next tree, this seemed to encourage the chicks back out, they were now all in a very excited and agitated state! What was all the hissing and wing flapping about?  

All 3 chicks now positioned themselves on elevated perches, the parents continued to call, I then realised what was happening......they were being encouraged to leave home. 

Preparing for take off - Chick No 1

Chick No 2

Chick No 3

Over the next half an hour or so what I witnessed was pure magic, one by one they all took the leap of faith and make their first flight to join their parents in the next tree. All three made the short journey safely, although the landings were not that proficient, a little scrambling and holding on for dear life but all seemed to be OK. 

Safely landed.

Double click on any of the above images for a larger and more detailed version.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a truly magical interlude, Paul! All your hard work has paid off big-time. Well done!! I'm extremely envious - but then I've not put in all the work that you have!