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, 6 June 2011

A double Bonus!!!

A late email from Mark Skevington on Saturday night followed by a phone call from Col Green early this morning got me owl n about earlier than expected. They had both been over to the village of South Kilworth as reports were filtering out to the masses that a very rare bird had been sighted, the bird in question was a Hoopoe and due to how often they are seen it is classed as a "mega" for Leicestershire. 

Whilst they were both there waiting for the Hoopoe to show they saw a Little Owl and as they are both good old boys they let me know. As this was a potentially new site for me I soon had all my kit gathered and was on my way. I was hoping someone there who was"twitching" the Hoopoe would be able to point out the owl to me, but on arrival I was surprised to find myself alone! It was a fairly large area and there were loads of likely spots, there was no option but to give Col a quick call and with his expert directions he soon had me looking at it through my binoculars. 

It was fairly distant but no doubt, a Little Owl and new site 181. 

After a while a few members of the Leicestershire twitching scene starting turning up, the Hoopoe hadn't been seen since Saturday evening, but unperturbed they got kitted up with their walkie-talkies, scopes and binoculars and off they went in an eager search, that was my signal to depart.
A few stop offs on the way back produced some more owl sightings but the best of the morning was still to come. As I was passing my Little Owl site No 87 I noticed a solitary owl sitting on top of a stack of farm manure, the gate to the field was open so in I drove! I was taking my time and being very methodical as I didn't want to scare the owl off, but I needn't have worried because this was one confiding owl!

It seemed to be aware of my presence but it wasn't fazed in the slightest, I pushed my luck and drove nearer and nearer, it was posing fantastically for me.

I think I may have got just a little too close as it suddenly came to life and postured in an upright and alert manner, then I noticed it was a rung bird!!! 

To my knowledge no one else has rung any Little Owls in this area for years, so surely it must be one of my birds from 2010? Of the 16 juveniles that were rung last year this is the very first I have actually re-located since they dispersed from their natal sites. At this stage I can't be sure which ringing site it came from but the two nearest sites are 1.25 & 1.75 miles away.........Superb or what???

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