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!!!

Friday, 4 February 2011

A quick update.

This last week hasn't presented many opportunities to get owl n about, early starts, late finishes poor weather etc etc. However, in between all the day to day chaos two new Little Owl sites were located, the first followed a visit over to Thornton that was made a couple of weekends ago. I had a morning out with Andy Smith from the Charnwood Ringers, we were checking out the area for potential Barn Owl box locations and Andy pointed out a potential Little Owl nest tree, he and the local land owner had seen the birds here the previous year.

Armed with this info I stopped off one evening as I was making my way home to check the tree out. On arrival nothing obvious was showing, I then systematically searched the tree through my binoculars looking at every branch and nook n cranny until.........BINGO, there he was!!!  Andy was right and the owl was still hanging around, not a good image though as the light levels were poor and the bird distant, never the less new site 150 was most welcome!

I stopped off again later in the week in better light to attempt a better image, I hung around for a while but on this occasion it was a no show owl. I then made my way further down the road and pulled over at a very owly looking area. I got chatting to a local resident who invited me into his house, we sat down in his conservatory which incidentally overlooked the area I'd been checking out.  We had been there no more than 5 minutes when to my amazement a Little Owl landed on his garden fence, get in there site 151!!!!

The story then unfolded that they had been in his garden for the last couple of years and last year they successfully bred and had 2 youngsters. He explained that sighting of the owls were made a couple of times a week and nearly every day in the breeding season, although he is not sure where the nest is? That was it, I didn't need any further encouragement, permission was sought (and granted) for me to return and investigate further, and I am also allowed to take my Landrover onto his lawn, can you believe that, what a fine chap! 

Watch this space as I am sure there will be some super images to come from this site come the breeding season.


  1. Well done thats an incredible amount of local sites. Up here we are lucky if we have sites in double figures or are we not looking hard enough!

  2. nice update Paul

    what do you reckon your chances are of getting a second invite onto that Lawn then......?
    (im thinking of the mess i made yestday - although all 4 of my drive wheels are on the rear axle)

    Folk ask me where & how to see owls - i tell them as rudely as possible "you maybe need to get out of your car & try walking about..... "
    You seem to have blown that hypothesis clean out of the water....

    maybe they just need to buy a Landy.... ;-)

  3. Abbey Meadows; Thanks for your comments, I am sure you must plenty of sites in your area? I must admit though they are dam difficult to locate sometimes so a bit of patience is required and obviously a little bit of fieldcraft!

    Stevie; Haven't yet taken my landy on to his lawn, I may have to make the best of it when I do as not sure if I will get invited back when he sees the ruts!!

    Getting really close to Little Owls, deffo go buy a Landy!! Don't think it would work quite as well with the other owl species though? As you say, fieldcraft fieldcraft fieldcraft!!!!!