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, 18 July 2011

Only 10 More!

An email received just lately gave me a bit of a wake up call?? I'd unknowingly slumped into a lethargic period as far as my owling was concerned, and getting out there had taken a back seat! The last two months had been so intense with excursions out almost every evening that sooner or later I needed a break from it all.  Don't get me wrong, I just love what I do but sometimes you can have too much of a good thing? 

Anyway the kick up my backside that finally woke me up from this mini break was a potential new Little Owl site, my mate Tony, from Barwell had sent me an email letting me know he'd seen Little Owls whilst he was out walking near the village of Cotesbach, as I'd got no sites in that area it needed further investigation!

I made my way to roughly the area Tony told me about and started searching, there one obvious tree that just "looked right", so I headed straight for it. I was about 30 yards away when all of a sudden there was an explosion of owls, they seemed to be everywhere as they flew off in all directions. This instantly stopped me in my tracks, I surveyed the tree from where I stood and luckily two birds hung around long enough for me to get an image (below).

Superb a new site (No 190) but in all the confusion I wasn't sure how many of them there where, obviously it was a family party and it contained juveniles but just how many???

An inquisitive juvenile. 

An adult owl "hiding".

I made a hasty retreat to around a hundred yards and waited. After another 30 minutes of observations I finally made out that there was two adults and at least 3 juveniles! They were all difficult to see as they were low down in a hedgerow taking shelter from the prevailing wind.

A very distant image of the three juveniles.

So after the successful "tip off" from Tony (cheers mate) I now have another site to add to the "proven" breeding list for 2011, that list now stands at 89 juveniles (at least) across 36 different territories! My overall different Little Owl sites is now on 190, only 10 more required to reach the magical milestone of 200, I would have never guessed I'd get anywhere near this total 3 years ago, my original target was 20!!!!   

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