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!!!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Just perfecft!

All my searching for new sites during the cold dark winter months is now starting to pay off now the warmer lighter nights are creeping up on us. Tonight was just perfect for locating Little Owls, no wind, quite mild and a bit of late evening sun peeping through!

I was lucky enough to locate the resident pair at site No 62 near to the village of Leire without too much difficulty. All I had to do was get the sun off my back and systematically search through all the likely roosting spots near to the nest tree. Although this image looks similar to one I recently posted on my blog that had a pair of owls perched amongst the ivy I can assure you this is a completely different site and about 3 miles away.

Nestled nicely in the ivy getting some rays, my 1st image of the pair together at this site.

The next location I went to was at Dunton Bassett and my relatively new site No 156 that was located at the end of last month. I was after my first image and it didn't take long, I pulled up in the Landrover, parked up near the suspect nest tree and hey presto the owl appeared out of what I thought to be the nest entrance.

I rattled off a few shots before it flew to a nearby tree. This gave me a few seconds to review the image I'd just taken and check the settings, would you believe it a second owl then popped out and flew off!

My setting weren't quite right for this image, but I'm still happy with the result.

Whilst en route to the last site I bumped into a local farmer and we got chatting, he gave me the heads up on a potential Little Owl site on his land near to the village of Croft. I didn't need a second invitation and it wasn't far so I was soon on my way. On arrival it looked very promising, a scattering of old barns and brick buildings and some nearby wind damaged Ash trees. Mmmmmmm where do I start looking???  I decided to have a drive around and give the area the once over when I noticed a very suspicious lump sticking out the apex on one of the barns. I drove nearer and nearer and nearer still and to my astonishment it was a......LITTLE OWL!!! I couldn't believe my luck and it wasn't bothered about the Landrover one iota! The camera was soon locked on and some images attained, and I must admit I am really very pleased with the outcome!

New site 159 near to the village of Croft.

The bird then disappeared inside the barn, what more could I do but follow it? I entered quietly and located it up in the rafters peering down at me, the cheeky brass neck still wasn't bothered by me!

An "up in the attic" image complemented with a bit of flash.

As time was now getting on I decided to see if I could squeeze one more site visit in before the light failed on me, as I was only just up the road from site No 141 at Ashby Parva that's where I went! I'd previously only managed images from over a roadside hedgerow and nearly always into the sun so needless to say they were pretty poor quality. This time I took a different approach, I'd previously got permission from the very kind lady who owned the land for me to drive my Landrover into her paddock/orchard. This I did and it made viewing of the area much easier with the sun off my back, all I needed now was an owl!!

There was a couple of likely candidates for the nest tree and luck would have it they were next to each other so this is where I parked up. I was sitting and observing the general area when "flash" an owl darted in from nowhere and straight into a hole in the nearest tree to me! I think my Landrover had obviously made it a bit nervous, hence the hasty retreat? It wasn't long though before its curiosity got the better of it and it popped back out for a look at me!

My best image by a mile from this site.....so far!!  

So that was a crammed packed couple of hours that can only be summarised as.....JUST PERFECT!


  1. Great post. I love owls, but most of ours are much larger. Check some of them on my blogs.

  2. Fantastic images, Paul - was the comment about the sun in the first paragraph intentional!!!??