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!!!

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Not even a sparrow!

A couple of nights ago I erected a permanent hide at one of my local sites, it was made out of some old wooden pallets and a large tarpaulin. It took me a couple of hours to make and if all goes to plan the resident Little Owls will accept it and some super close up images should follow!

Anyway, today I tried it out for the first time, my intentions were to make the most of the early rising sun, so I arrived very early.....4.45am! It was a  great start too, one of the resident Little Owls was sitting out on one of the new stumps that I'd put up, right next to my brand new shiny hide!

At 9.45am I departed...................FIVE HOURS of waiting and nothing, the owl didn't return and not even a dam sparrow showed!!!!

Oh well, all things come to those who wait, I'm sure I'll have better luck next time?

Next stop was South Wigston and site 105, I was hoping for some better luck at this location. I parked the Landrover near to the nest tree and within minutes I picked up the hissing sound of begging Little Owl chicks, the noise was coming from high up in a tree, but not the nest tree. This meant they have fledged the nest, all I had to do now was locate the blighters, this didn't take long, and there was a pair!! They were running, yes running back and forth along a fallen limb that was wedged horizontally about 5 metres up. Although the light was not favourable I did manage some images of them, double click on any picture for a larger size with more detail. 

Getting a little weary now, a big yawn, maybe ready for bedtime?

I thought as much, after 20 minutes of playing around with its sibling one of them snuggled down just inside the fallen limb and fell asleep!

I sat and waited for a bit more action from the youngsters when both the parents appeared.  They skillfully positioned themselves between me and the juveniles, a form of parental protection no doubt. The closeness was quite amazing, something you only really get during the breeding season.....if you are lucky!!!!

I sensed that they were becoming agitated, so a few images later I departed leaving them all to it!

Next stop was site 39 at Countesthorpe, nothing was showing in or around the nest tree but again I heard the hissing from a begging juvenile. It didn't take long to find it, no hang on, I'll re-phrase that......THEM! Superb there was a pair, although distant I did managed a couple of images.

I waited a while to see if the parents would come and feed them but no such luck. It was now time to go but not before I managed this close up of one of the juveniles that apparently had come over to have a closer look at me. Unfortunately the image is not too clear as there was some foliage in the way.

I may go and try the new hide again tomorrow, but not as early as today because I need my ugly sleep and I won't be staying too long as I have a pressing appointment with a few pints of Guinness at a local pub, its time to cheer on England in the footie again.


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  2. Hi Paul,

    I'm so pleased with your focused efforts in this regard. It's remarkable and my hats off to you!

    With best,