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, 10 October 2010

Hide & Seek!

I've had enough of checking out existing sites just recently, don't get me wrong it's still as much a thrill to see any Little Owl but theres something really special about discovering a brand new site. With this in mind my target for today was to locate a new site, and to get some images! Hmmmmm easier said than done but I wanted to keep up my run of locating a new site every month for the last 26 consecutive months.

So where was this new site going to reveal itself? I decided to stake out an area of lush pasture with a scattering of mature and wind damaged Ash trees over near Lubbesthorpe, a perfect location and only two or three fields from where a local birder (Skev) reported seeing some Little Owls a few years ago.

I positioned myself (in the Landrover) in a vantage point overlooking a meadow which ran downhill away from me up to a hedgerow and small stream. From my location I was also able to scan all the isolated trees, surely if any owls were in the area this would be the place!

I'd been waiting, watching and listening for a couple of hours when eventually as the light started to fade I heard the distinctive call of a Little Owl, get in there site No 129!!!!! It was coming from the hedgerow at the far end of the meadow so tentatively I drove slowly back and forth along the line of the hedgerow a few times but to no avail. It continued to call but I just couldn't locate its exact location, I think it was teasing me! Finally I narrowed down the search to a single bush, then it showed, and showed well. A very tidy and handsome bird with superb markings and brighter than normal piercing yellow eyes.

I had a good views of it for a full five minutes and had ample photo opportunities, the only problem was the light had all but gone, even with the camera set at ISO 1600 all I could managed was a shutter speed of 1/10th of a second, however I think the end results are OK and the image does do the bird justice.

I hung around for another 15 minutes but due to how dark it had got I was just about to call it a day when a second owl appeared, a very poor image in comparison to the first and aided by flash but a record shot never the less.

So thats another new site for me to monitor over the next few years, I will return in the next few weeks to hopefully get some improved "daytime" images........ 

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