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!!!

Sunday, 31 July 2011

No owls but.......

No posts for the last few days as I have been making the long, boring and ardious journey to Indiana, USA. We are here staying with family for our annual vacation and in between doing all the normal family things I am hoping to slip off occasionally to see what birding goodies are about.

Of course my main objective is to see some owls, but as there's such a vast array of different bird species (that I've never seen before) I'm not going to turn down the chance of a photo or two!

So this morning (Saturday) I had my first real opportunity to see what was about, I spent an hour sat in my car near to some garden feeders and it was just amazing!!!!

First up was a Mourning Dove, a dainty bird very similar in size and characteristics to the UK's Collard Dove.

The second visitor to the feeders was this bright red breasted finch size bird. At the time I hadn't a clue to its identity but later research revealed it was a male House Finch........I think!

A Canary!!!! No, but I thought it was when it first came and settled in. A very handsome male American Goldfinch a truly gorgeous bird.

Red Bellied Woodpecker, best bird I have seen to date, dam difficult to photograph as it doesn't stay still for a second, hopefully better views and opportunities to come!

As yet the identity to this bird (below) remains a mystery to me, I've checked some reference books and the internet but I can't find it, any ideas???

Whilst here I have done some research on the owl front, it appears there are three common species in this area, Barred, Screech and Great Horned Owl. It's not going to be easy to track them down though as all three are nocturnal. I'll do my best to locate them but in the meantime I am going to be spending some more time near the feeders, who knows whats going to turn up next?


  1. Fabulous, Paul. I think that your last bird might be a juvenile Song Sparrow. They're spread right across the USA, and regionally rather variable. There's a hell of a lot of sparrow species in USA! I like your Red-bellied Woodpecker!

    You're in for a real treat if you find a Great Horned Owl!!!

    If you haven't already got it, try and get a copy of The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America - excellent book!! However, I guess you've probably already got it.

    Keep us posted with your news - Good luck, and have a great holiday!!

  2. Great shots mate,I did'nt know when you were going to the US,you guys have great time and i think richard is right with sparrow keep us posted on the bird front

  3. Hi Paul, Welcome to the USA!! Your mystery bird above is a female Red-winged Blackbird. Good luck with the owls!!