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!!!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Chick chick hoorah!

Its Saturday again and that can only mean one thing, a whole days owling and unbelievably I wasn't feeling lethargic or heavy headed, this was a really unusual for a Saturday morning. It wasn't difficult to work out why though, for once I had been a good boy and had a steady Friday night,  only a few beers!!!

Today's target.......to photograph some chicks in the nest!

So with me being as fresh as a daisy it was an early start and the first location of the day was my new site No 180 over near Husbands Bosworth. I was hoping that the chicks would be peeping out of the nest by now but during my stay they were heard plenty but not seen, maybe another week or so? I did however see the male owl going to and fro a few times delivery goodies for his rapidly growing chicks.

Can you believe those yellow eyes!

At the second site, No 141 near to Ashby Parva there was no activity upon arrival, so I settled down within  good viewing distance of the nest cavity and waited. After around an hour I started to hear a very familiar sound, Little Owl chicks "hissing" in the nest, they were begging for food! 

Not long after a couple of them showed.

OK that was great, my target for the day was achieved, all I wanted now was an image of one of the parent owls bringing in some food, a dangling shrew or mouse would make a nice image!

I sat and waited for 3 hours before one of the parent owls showed, nice close up views but no mouse!

Time was getting on so it was time to move on, Brascote was my final destination of the day but en route I passed by site No 159 near to Croft, although I didn't plan to visit this site I'd got nothing to lose by stopping off for half an hour?

Since my last visit here the farmer has moved some cattle in and consequently the access gate was all tied up with rope. This meant I had to get out of the Landrover and walk, normally using these tactics for getting close to owls is not good. And that proved the case again today, the owl was located almost immediately but it was nervous of my presence so I had to make do with these distant images before it did its disappearing act.   

Finally I arrived at Brascote, the first owl was soon located sitting on the barn roof. Then the second adult appeared and on and off they showed really well for a couple of hours, they were relaxed and came quite close to the Landrover at times, obviously they had no idea I was inside!!

Around 7.00pm I heard that same familiar noise that I'd heard earlier, chick hissing! My attention was now firmly fixed on the nest entrance in the side of the barn. And true to form it wasn't long before they were at the entrance waiting for mum and dad to feed them.


  1. looks & sounds great.
    hard to pick out a favourite from those, but the wind-vein & the 2 heads in the 'brick-gap' are xlent.

  2. Cheers Stevie, I'm not having very good breeding returns so far this year with my Little Owls, how are you faring up their in the NE??

  3. Cracking images Paul, makes us all jealous!! Really look forward to seeing these, thanks for posting.