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!!!

Friday, 24 June 2011

Mad Dash!

I have spent the last two evenings looking for fledged juvenile Little Owls, and due to their very timid nature and the fact they are experts at keeping hidden I had to take a tactical approach. Late evening is the best time, they tend to wonder out of hiding with a little more confidence whilst continuing with their persistence begging call for food.......hissing!

This juvenile wasn't difficult to locate as I walked past, it sat quiet and motionless up against an old building in the village of Countesthorpe. It was relying on its cryptic camouflage feather pattern to keep it undetected, obviously it didn't work!  

At the next site near Husbands Bosworth they took a little more finding, the last time I visited this site there was three juveniles in the nest. They were easy to see as the natural cavity was only two feet from the ground! Upon arrival the nest was empty, they had fledged! I knew they wouldn't be far away as they were too young to fly, I thought it improbable they'd got into any of the nearby trees as they had no low limbs for them to clamber up on to!

I then heard a hiss, it came from a mass of exposed tree roots 50 yards away!! After a good wait they revealed themselves, but there was only two of them!

Once I had attained an image I walked back in a direct line to the nest tree, and on the way the third owl was found, or at least evidence of it......a mass of feathers but no body! It must have been taken by a predator whilst making the mad dash for cover, more than likely the culprit being a Fox or a Tawny Owl!

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