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, 10 November 2011

A talon of turf!

A late drop in to see the SEO's threw up a couple of salvageable images. Although taken just before dusk the light was still better than it had been last weekend, and that was in the middle of the day!

Four birds were showing well but sadly they kept their distance most of the time, mainly due I think to the other observers who'd gathering to watch the hunting and Ariel displays.  

I settled down in an area where the birds don't often frequent, it was well away from the other folk and a bit of a gamble really but in order to get any close up views it was a gamble that had to be taken. 

After 20 minutes nothing came close and I was resigned to a gamble that hadn't paid off, then a solitary owl was spotted coming towards me along the hedgerow. It coincided with a split in the clouds and a slither of late sun shone through, this was my chance. It got nearer and nearer and at about 20 meters away it spotted me and turned, the precise moment the shutter rattled off.

Still not the full frame image I am after but a pretty good result never the less.  

I had one more semi near fly by, this was due to a successful capture of a vole by an owl and then a second owl pursued it whilst trying to steel its bounty. They were so involved in the ariel "dog fight" dispute they moved away from the relative security of their hunting area and towards me!

This action occurred after dusk and the light was terrible, thankfully though I was able to capture the action with a high ISO setting. The lead bird (on the left) can be seen trying to evade its pursuer, although the vole can't really be seen the clump of grass that got tangled around it can.

Although I only had a couple of near views my gamble of moving away from "the crowd" definitely paid off as I don't think an owl went anywhere near them!


  1. This is incredible...what I would give to have opportunities such as this. Marvelous!!!

  2. Really enjoying this blog , but the pictures are torture , great work again

  3. It's satisfying when a gamble pays off like that! Both remendous images..again! That second one Paul is a stunning capture, teeming with story and intrigue. I'm enjoying this blog too!

  4. Fantastic images Paul, as Christian says it's great when a gamble pays off, that one was a real winner. Impressive work on the owls too. I've only just found you through the DDD blog, looking forward to more of the same!

  5. I am loving these short eared photos!