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!!!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

A bit of variety!

Quite a varied and enjoyable evening was had tonight, as I write this up its getting late, so not too much waffling  with reams and reams of text, I'll hopefully let the images speak for themselves, well maybe just a little explanation here and there!!!

I was in the eastern part of Leicestershire and on my way to revisit a recently located Little Owl site (No 176) when I passed what I thought to be a very "owly" roadside tree, image below. I parked up next to the tree and inspected it further through my binoculars, there were some clues to what the likely resident was. I could make out a couple of quite large black pellets and some loosely scattered white feathers on the ledge, Barn Owl maybe???

After a few alterations on the camera settings I was able to take an image deep inside the blackness of the hole, and to my utter delight my first suspicions were confirmed......a Barn Owl! It was fast asleep so there was no point in hanging around, I'm sure it won't be too long before an improved image of this bird is gracing the pages of my blog?

I finally arrived at my Little Owl site, and whilst I was sitting in the car waiting for some action a flash caught my eye, it was a Kingfisher and it had settled on some reeds in an adjacent pool. As I watched, it dived down into the water and then re-emerged with a small fish (a Roach I think?) a quick maneuver of the car got me into position and a single image was attained before it departed with its catch!

Finally my waiting was rewarded when the resident owl showed itself, the low light levels under the canopy of a huge Oak tree made getting a decent image tricky, these are a few of the "keepers".

On my way home I stopped off at the "5 egg" Barn Owl site, I didn't have to wait too long before the male bird appeared out of the barn. The light had almost gone so again I had to employ the use of my new speedlight flash to get an image. Although the flash doesn't seem to bother the owl, one day I hope to be able to get some more natural looking "daylight "images of this bird, maybe he will come out a bit earlier when he has young to feed?