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, 20 November 2011

All fingers and thumbs!

Its addictive this SEO watching, I was compelled to make yet another visit on Saturday. The weather was indifferent though, one minute it was dull and drab the next the clouds broke and the sun shone through.

I was lucky enough to yet again get some superb views of these majestic birds, at times they came close, too close sometimes as I couldn't fit them into the frame and ended up cropping off their wings!!  

The light levels were forever changing and this proved to be challenging at times. Trying to get the correct exposure was tough, especially when the birds were moving from high up in the sky to low down over the grass in a matter of seconds. So in order to try and over come this I had a go at shooting in manual mode (thanks for that Pete!) this involves continually adjusting the exposure, ISO, depth of field and taking the shot all at the same time, oh and I forgot to mention whilst doing all that you also have to track the bird in flight as well!

Using this new technique resulted in loads of crappy images, I was all fingers and thumbs because I just wasn't able to change the settings quick enough, there was loads of good opportunities wasted! However, as the day progressed I was starting to get the hang of it which resulted in a few keepers. Yes it is as difficult as it sounds but I think in time I will slowly perfect the technique, all I'll need then is a Canon lens!!!    

  I took loads and loads of images and below is a selection of them.....


This final image (almost full frame) is of the closest encounter I had all day, it was flying straight at me and I just couldn't "lock on" to it, then just as it went overhead (about 10ft away) I locked on  and unbelievably caught the action, well sort of.........! 


  1. another set of cracking images mate! I assume you won't be there today because you'll be watching the mighty foxes thrash palace!

  2. Some great pictures there Paul well done

  3. More brilliant images, Paul! I particularly like the two with two birds in - well captured with the feet to feet grapple! And I've never noticed a SEO's little 'goatee beard' until I saw your last image.

  4. Absolutely magical set Paul. I love the ones with two birds tussling and the one of two in flight together. Fantastic. The close-ups are incredible.

  5. Looks like the manual mode is already paying dividends Paul - glad to be of help! Love the fighting shot with the pair grabbing one another.

    Excellent shots mate!

  6. Thank you every one, yes seeing them grappling is just awsome!