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!!!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Turning Blue!

I'd been waiting and hoping for a few weeks that it would come and on Saturday night my wish was granted and a good drop of it too..............SNOW!!! We don't get a great deal of it here in Leicestershire so when it arrives it's a bit of a novelty, it normally comes and goes within a day or two so the opportunity for really "wintery" images are very limited. 

To my delight on Sunday morning there was a pretty good covering, a good few inches I reckon? I needed no further encouragement, it was time to unleash the beast!! The beast being my trusty four wheel drive Landrover, just perfect for these conditions.

Upon arrival two reasonable close owls were located, trouble was they weren't flying around as I'd wished, they were roosting on the ground!! The next hour was spent waiting for them to take off, but they didn't want to play ball. It was starting to get very cold (and boring!) so a change of plan was needed. I decided to see if I could get some shots of them on the ground. So as not to unnecessary spook them the tactics I employed was to get low and creep slowly through the grass.

All in all I was laying and crawling in the snow for around 30 minutes, absolutely soaked to the skin but elated that both of the birds held firm and allowed me to get within 20 feet or so of them, it was utterly brilliant to be so close to such majestic birds. Every movement I made was done painfully slow, but it worked as the birds didn't flinch and I was well rewarded with some "different" wintery SEO images.

On the way home I located my first new Little Owl territory of the year, site No 204! It was sheltering inside a hole in a roadside tree. Sorry it's a pretty boring image but I wasn't going to hang around and wait for it to do something different, I was far too cold and only minutes from getting frostbite!!

A new bird and a new site, I will return to study him with more vigour on a warmer day!.

Further on from the new Little Owl site and nearer to home another roadside owl was spotted sheltering amongst the ivy at my site No 34. Although my fingers were numb and turning blue there was still just enough feeling in them to grab this image.

Crawling through the snow in "normal" outdoor clothes is not something I would recommend doing, but the cold and uncomfortable feeling from that day are now just distant memories, unlike my images they will remind me of that day for a long long time to come!


  1. I don't suppose that you'll ever top those first two images Paul. But what am I saying? Thinking about it, you're bound to surprise us with something else in the not-too-distant future!!!

  2. They are unbelievably fantatsic images Paul. A brilliant post and a fitting reward for such hard work.

  3. Yeah, really nice stuff mate,

    I need to find an owl location in Dorset. Thats my problem, Im so bad at finding them!!

    the top two images are insane, well worth the cold I would have thought.

  4. Just brilliant mate...................

  5. Just brilliant Paul. They are great images and that includes your 'boring' little owl shot.

  6. Absolutely outstanding photos!!! So amazing to see; your crawl through the snow was well worth it!

  7. Paul you're mad lol. Hope the frostbite gets better. In all seriousness great images and fieldcraft

  8. Excellent shots, and a just reward for such madness ;-)

    I was there on Saturday in the snow and fog - was -16C first thing, and all the owls were hiding in the hedges.