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, 26 February 2012

Early riser

I was up with the lark this morning, the weather forecast was for brilliant sunshine and I wasn't going to waste such an opportunity. My mission was to try and attain my first ever images of the Little Owls at my site No 188. They are usually pretty easy to see albeit at distance but for some reason they have evaded me getting any form of an image. 

I was there at first light,  I opted to park in such a position that it allowed me to cover a variety of near and distant perches, surely today was the day? 

I'd been waiting patiently for something to happen for around an hour, the deathly silence was then shattered with the shrieking calls of two owls, one either side of me. They were both obscured from view but surely this was the chance for the final part of the jigsaw to fall into place? Then right on cue, one of the owls duly obliged and showed itself, and what luck it landed on the nearest post right in front of me.......get in there!

Over the next 30 minutes I had some great views as the pair of them fluttered from post to post.

Time for a quick snooze.  

This is a full frame image (no cropping) only about 10 feet away! The owl couldn't see me as I was masked behind a camo sheet, I think it is the sound of the camera shutter that makes them inquisitive? 

The images on this perch are my favourites from the day, the low but not too harsh sunlight really brings out the complementary colours of the rustic perch and the diffused background.

The owl then moved around to the other side of my car, good views still but the light was now coming straight at me which allowed for these two back lit images.

Once I'd nailed a few perched images I then concentrated on trying to get some flight shots, the light allowed for high shutter speeds so freezing the action wasn't a problem, but getting the owl in the frame was!

And the final two images are of "nearly shots" on both occasions I wasn't prepared enough for the owl taking flight and clipped the wings off. Normally I wouldn't upload images of this nature but as they are pretty sharp and a little different from the normal "perched" images I thought I'd share. 

Sadly my time with the owls came to an abrupt end, dog walkers and horse riders put paid to that, but it just goes to show that it is the early riser who gets the worm........or in this case the owl ;-)


  1. Great set of shots Paul, all the images, but that last flight one shows a real panache for ballet! Fantastic.

  2. Amazing photos! The close up is superb!! I love the take off photos as well.

  3. Superb set of images Paul, but my favourite has to be the fourth one. Superbly lit, and a wonderful expression on the owl's face - just magical!!!

  4. Top marks,these are super images,love the flight shots,fantastic detail.