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, 19 January 2012


On my previous blog post I announced that I was going to try and resist the temptation to upload any more images of "boring" subjects (like SEO's in flight) unless they were in some way different. Well that promise didn't last long did it because here are some more!

But in my defence the reasoning behind these latest images is because they are from a new (but undisclosed) site in Leicestershire. I have known that birds were here (3 of them) for a good few weeks now and although the light was terrible they are my first images, so I thought I'd share.

Now getting back to my promise of more "interesting" images, these next two are definitely in that category, well for me they are anyway! For those of you that don't know SEO's (short eared owls) spend an awful lot of time on the ground, for the best part of the day they roost on the ground and in the breeding season they actually make a nest on the ground too.

I was recently watching a private area of rough pasture which is frequented by SEO's, I'd been there for around an hour waiting for them to rise from the long tussocky grass and start hunting . Then all of a sudden there was an explosion as two owls rose from the grass right in front of me! Up they came and off hunting they went, unbelievable how could they have been so close and yet I didn't see them?

Once the birds had flown off I took the opportunity to take a closer look  in the grass from where they came, all was then revealed as to why I didn't detect they were there. As can be seen in the images they had both made little tunnels where they could cower down and keep out of the wind and of course stay undetected.

I was fascinated, it was obvious that these "roosting tunnels" were used on a regular basis because they were both full of poo and had piles of regurgitated pellets at the entrance..............cool hey?


  1. Muy buenas fotos, en especial la pose de las dos primeras.

  2. Great insight into a hidden world, fascinating indeed.
    Looks like they've been there a while
    Id imagine the roost area had a bit of a smell to it ?

    Like the "quarter past six" image #1

    Great post, keep em coming

  3. Interesting find mate??????

  4. Thank you for sharing this with us Paul. I'd heard of the grass tunnels, but never seen an image of one - great images too (all of them!)

  5. Love the top image - looks like it's doing F or 6 in semaphore.
    Did you grab some pellets for dissecting? The Barnie pellets from last year were great - would be interesting to see how many voles the SEOs are cramming into each one.

  6. Thanks for your comments guys, glad some of you found it interesting. Yes Stevie, the area did have a pong, and not a nice one either! Skev, sorry mate I didn't get you any pellets, I'll get you some on my next visit, if I remember??

  7. The light may have been terrible but the images are class! Brilliant pose Paul on the right-angled bird and the background in the second shot is perfect to highlight the classy sharp shot. Keep them coming!