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!!!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Out owling....

The last few days here in Leicestershire has been foul weather wise, consequently no blog updates! I have still been getting out most evenings but nothing has been seen, well no owls that is! But tonight things improve somewhat, the conditions still weren't idea but the nasty wind had abated which surely meant I'd see some owls?

The chosen location was a strip of private land near to the village of South Wigston, here I monitor three different well established Little Owl sites that are in close proximity to each other. I regularly make a sighting or two of an owl but tonight there was nothing showing, at any of them! I decided to try searching further a field and just as I had about given up seeing anything an owl was sighted, and it was in an area I'd never seen one before! 

It was sitting on the side of an electricity pylon, I couldn't get a clear image of it because it was partially obscured by the barbed wire that stops any would be idiot climbing up it!

I quickly surveyed the area and to the right of the pylon was a thick hedgerow with a couple of exposed fence posts in front of it. I opted to manoeuvred the Landrover parallel to the posts and waited. Luckily it wasn't spooked and eventually my gamble paid off as it dropped down onto the furthest of the posts, a clear and unobstructed image was then attained.......thank you Mr owl!

It then flew past me and landed in a pollarded Willow Tree about 50 yards behind me, I waited a while for it to return but it seemed quite settled where it was, the light was starting to fade so it was time to run the risk of spooking it and move again.

I slowly reversed up and repositioned at the edge of the tree, during the backing up I lost sight of the owl, I wasn't sure if it had flown off? I needn't have worried though as I soon relocated it again, on the other side of the tree! I wasn't prepared to run the risk spooking it again so I stayed put. My patience paid off when it moved nearer to me,  it was still obscured by a vertical limb but then it peered around it and the below image was achieved.

It then seemed to forget about me being there and hopped to a different branch in full view, it was totally relaxed and only gave me the occasional glance. I am particularly pleased with the outcome of the resultant image, the setting sun can be seen reflecting in its eyes.

Things then got even better, it was joined by a second owl!

Soon after this they both flew back up to the pylon, that was my signal to vacate. It was great to be back out there seeing owls again, especially when it was a brand new site, No 194...........get in there!!!!!

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