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, 30 May 2011

A Long Slog

Absolutely typical, a days owling planned and what happens??? Rain, rain and more bloody rain, should have known.....its a bank holiday!! 

So this morning I was in a dilemma, stay in and do some DIY or brave the atrocious weather conditions and see if I could find some obliging owls, mmmmmmmm that's a hard decision........NOT!!!!

I headed for my Little Owl site No 105 over near the village of South Wigston, a huge strip of private pasture land that fortunately I have permission to access in my Landrover, thank goodness I have as I wasn't going to be walking around in this deluge! On the way I stopped off at several other owl sites, it wasn't surprising that nothing at all was showing, things looked bleak and I wasn't hopeful of seeing anything today.

I finally arrived at my destination just before midday, I opted to park near the nest tree which was used by the owls for breeding last year. My plan of attack was to sit it out and wait, if they had chicks the parent birds must show at some time?

Finally after 2 hours of waiting an adult owl showed at the nest entrance, but it wasn't in a hurry to go anywhere, it just sat there keeping dry whilst looking at the rain and me!

It took it an hour before it came out!!

The next few hours proved to me that they must have chicks that needed feeding, for every 30 minutes or so one of the adults would leave the comfort of the nest to brave the elements and go hunting. And it was worms they were after! The soggy conditions meant that they were in plentiful supply as no sooner had they left they were back with one dangling from their beak!!

I was very privilege to have had some fantastic views whilst they went about their business, below are a selection of images from the FIVE hours I spent there, sadly most are quite noisy (grainy) because as it was so dark I had no option but to shoot at an ISO of 1600 to get any kind of shutter speed for the flight shots (max 1,000th sec)................yes that's a proper excuse this time!!!

My favourite image of the day.

Considering the conditions, my photographic inexperience and modest camera equipment (oh for a Canon 500mm lens, anybody got one!!!!) I am very pleased with the results.

So yes it was a hard slog, but better than doing DIY!!!


  1. This is a very interesting Blog and the images you are posting here are of a very high standard, you are also quick to point out those with which you are less than satisfied. You describe your equipment as modest, what kit are you using?

  2. This looks like an amazing set of images to me Paul! Well worth enduring a bit of poor weather - I admire your dedication, as well as the much-deserved results!! Well done!!

  3. Some great shots again mate

  4. GK; sorry for my slow response, I missed your post!!! My kit is OK I suppose, I do it an injustice calling it modest, but its not what I desire (Canon 500mm prime lens). Currently using a Canon 40D body and a Sigma 150-500mm lens.