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!!!

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Late Starters?

I re-visited site No 11 at Claybrook Magna this evening, although it is getting on in the breeding season I had a hunch that there could still be some late chicks yet to emerge at this site............and there was!!!!

After a short wait one of the adult owls was located sitting at the entrance to the nest location (a barn window), I managed some images (in terms of Little Owls that is) that I'd never achieved before, a natural solid black background, I like it as well, a little different? 

I am undecided on which works best though, portrait or landscape? So I uploaded both of them!!!!!

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


Or Landscape??

Then I heard what I'd come for, the hissing of a Little Owl chick, it was coming from a nearby tree so without further ado I investigated. A single juvenile was soon found huddling up against the tree trunk. Taking images proved quite a problem, loads of branches in the way and to compound that low light levels too. Thank goodness I had my tripod with me to steady the lens as the shutter speeds were as low as 1/40th of a second.  

Whilst taking these images a second juvenile was heard "hissing" but I failed in to locate it, nevertheless another two more to add to this years tally.............which now stands at 56 at 27 different sites.

On my way back I purposely went past site No 64 at Leire, I was really hoping for some more late showing juveniles at this site too! Both adults were again located in what seems to be their favourite tree, but no signs of any juveniles.

I must make an effort to get to this site earlier next time, I think I will then be able to obtain some better images in the light! 

Whilst I was attempting to improve on my images I witnessed something that  took me  totally by surprise, it also answered the question on why there has been no evidence of chicks this year.......... they have only just started mating!!!!!

Are these owls very late starters or could they be having a second clutch? I think the latter is unlikely as  second clutches for Little Owls are very very rare!


  1. Brilliant stuff Paul!! I take it that you are still using that huge lens? With regard to the last image - maybe just for fun?!?!?!

    Sorry to have not been in touch for a while - been up in Northumberland and Speyside for just over a week. Hope to catch up with you soon.

  2. Oh! BTW, my vote is for landscape!

  3. Top post Paul!
    Another vote for the landscape here too...Although they both work well for me.

  4. Thanks for your comments guys, I prefer the landscape version too.