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!!!

Monday, 4 April 2011


Work took me to Manchester again today, on departing Leicester it was surprising just how bright it was considering it was only 6.00am. Sunglasses at the ready it was going to be a pleasant drive northwards.....NOT!!! The traffic was atrocious, the journey normally takes just over 2 hours but today with all the hold ups it took 3 and a half hours!!! 

Anyway, after my two meeting were out of the way I opted to stop off on my way home at my Little Owl site No 160 near to the village of Flash in Staffordshire. The plan was to sit and watch the owls whilst I ate my late lunch, well that was the plan anyway!  The weather had turned foul and it was hammering it down with rain, needless to say no owls, there was no point in hanging around here so I continued my journey home.

By mistake I had the sat nav on the shortest route option and it started taking me up hill and down dale along isolated roads I never been on before. Then when I was in Derbyshire it happened, it was like a mirage appearing out of the fading rain, there in front of me was a derelict roadside barn that just looked perfect for Little Owls. This must be what they say about every cloud has a silver lining and all that! I pulled up in a good, but distant vantage point and started munching my late lunch come dinner come tea?

I'd been sitting there for around 10 minutes when I about choked on my sandwich, an owl peered over the rooftop and it was looking straight at me, crikey I wasn't expecting that!!! Flipping brilliant, A new site (No 164) and the run continues of finding a new site every month for the last 33 months! Oh what a plonker, my camera was in the boot!! I drove off around the corner and got it out, luckily when I returned the owl was still there.

The next half an hour offered some great views of the owl as it popped in and out of the barn through the various windows and doors. I had problems though, it had started to rain again and due to the extremely low light levels all my shooting had to be done at an ISO of 1600.

Finally the light improved slightly as did my viewing as the "showy" owl was joined by its mate.

Just as I was departing the local land owner drove by, he stopped off for a chat and permission was granted for me to return and set up my hide in his field. That could well be a date for this weekend, weather allowing........up north, not a chance!!!!


  1. Hi Paul.

    I've just stumbled across your blog and I love it! I have come to realise my own affection for owls recently, so to see an owl-dedicated blog is wonderful. I just can't get enough of the creatures.

    I live near Preston and I can agree with you regarding your shock at having some sun in the north! I know of four sites myself quite close to my house, so if you're interested I can send you details.

    You have some wonderful images of Little owls, especially in-flight which I can imagine require a great deal of patience.

    Regards and appreciation of tour work.


  2. Cheers Christian, nice words. When I need a Lancashire Little Owl for my "counties list" I now know where to come!