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, 18 September 2011

Humble Pie & 4 more!

Three weeks ago my daughter (Louise) gave me a tip off  on the where abouts of a new Little Owl site, she was making her way home on the school bus and whilst going through the village of Ashby Parva she saw one sitting on top of a road sign! She explained to me roughly where the sighting took place and I then crossed referenced this with my maps, if she was correct with her location it was definitely a potential new site for me! Without further ado (and against her will) she accompanied me back to show me the exact location.

Since then I have made several visits to the area and seen nothing at all! I was beginning to doubt the credibility of her sighting, even though I must admit the area does look perfectly suitable for owls. Anyway in the week, I again stopped off at the location and BINGO, there sat a Little Owl on a distant post! I was elated to find another new site (No 195) but on the other hand I was deflated in the fact that I ever doubted Louise! Yes it was a difficult thing to have to admit to your teenage daughter that Dad was wrong and all along she was right, oh you should have seen the smug grin on her face!!!

This was the only image I managed (below) a good 300 yards away and a sure contender for one of the "best blobs in the distance" images you will ever encounter (see the Hooded Birders Blog for more info on this black art) .

Little Owl site No 195.

After notching up the new Little Owl site I decided to investigate the area a bit more, on the opposite side of the road was a bridleway so off I went for a bit of a nose around! A couple of fields in I noticed a suspicious looking blob in the distance, no it couldn't be.......could it? I approached it in a zig zag fashion and eventually got close enough to confirm yet another Little Owl!!! It was a good 7-800 yards from the first owl so after much deliberation (with myself) I decided that this will be new site No 196! 

I was very satisfied with my image from around the 100 yard mark but not wanting to eclipse the Hooded Birder  I worked myself nearer and nearer until finally the resultant image was attained (below).

Little Owl site No 196

The owl started to get a bit twitchy so I backed off and left it to play " I'm a statue" all on it's own!  As I was making my way back to the car I flushed yet another owl out of a tree, it was confirmation that there was a pair here and I was well justified giving it the honour of being a new site.

Later on in the evening my good lady (Gaynor) and myself were driving near to Saddington resevoir and we chanced upon TWO more Little Owl sites, No's 197 and 198! On both counts the birds were seen on roadside telegraph poles. Sadly it was far too dark for any images but bet your bottom dollar I will be returning very soon to put that right!


  1. Four in a night !! Amazing !! Great image of a rather handsome bird too! Well done again!

  2. Cheers Richard!
    Are we still on for one day this week?

  3. I wondered what the upsurge in links from you're site to mine was all about....taunting me with your blob images are we!!? Getting better although more work is needed to create a truly aweful owl image!