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!!!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Drip Drying

It was windy, raining and getting dark as I approached one of my SEO sites, I nearly didn't bother as all "the rules" were telling me it was a waste of time and nothing would be showing. But I couldn't ignore the niggling inclination I had that it might just be worth the effort this time?

I pulled up and quickly surveyed the area for flying birds, initially nothing was seen. As I scanned the area through my binoculars I picked up one in the distance field perched on a very spindly branch, then another on the hedgerow.

Owl No 1

Owl No 2

A couple of quick shots of the two distant birds were bagged, I then moved a little further along the track and a third was was picked up, again on a distant perch in the middle of the field.

Owl No 3

Then as I made my way further down the track and a fourth bird was sighted in a tree, I slowly made my way to it and got the closest image so far!

Owl No 4

I continued along and through a gap in the hedgerow, what met me the other side stopped me dead in my tracks, an owl sat there staring me out no more than 20 feet away! I'm not sure which of us was more startled, but neither of us budged. I dare not move for a few seconds but then my paparazzi instinct kicked in and a few shots were rattled off. The owl then took flight and landed further along the hedgerow.

Owl No 5, my best SEO image to date, I think?

After that fantastic encounter I made my way back to the car, I was just about to pull off when a sixth owl was noticed just along the track. The camera setting were adjusted to the low light and I chanced my luck by creeping very slowly to a more advantageous position, luckily the owl stayed put long enough for me to get that dammed perched image I've been after for months!

Owl No 6, a perched owl.

All the time I was there (around 40 minutes) it was very strange that I never saw an owl flying about or hunting? The only explanation I have is that the birds must have been "drying out" after sitting in the middle of the field all day in the pouring rain, I guess I will never know the answer but one thing is for sure, I will never forget my closest ever encounter with a SEO and at last I bagged that "perched" image that I have so desperately sought for what seems an age.


  1. Wow!!! Spectacular photos!! I especially love #5 & 6. Sounds like a really great time.

  2. Fabulous, Paul! That header is superb, enhanced by the background colour. The penultimate image is a cracker, but it's the expression on the owl's face in the last image that's my favourite!!!

  3. Preciosas la 5ª y 6ª foto.
    Un saludo!!

  4. You really have accomplished your mission there Paul. Wonderful images and I'm pleased for you that all the hard work continues to pay off.

    It's a wonderful feeling, not unlike my own on Sunday, when all the signs are saying that it's a waste of time, but then, it pays off in the best way possible.


  5. Glad you finaly nailed one mate,brilliant