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!!!

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Bank Holiday, part 1.......

Yippee, a whole day off work, the weather was reasonable and I'd got my Landrover back! There was nothing else for it, an owlathon was on the cards. I hadn't been over to the eastern side of my monitoring area so far this year, so that is where I headed.

First stop was at my site No 169, the roadside nest tree normally makes it quite easy to locate the owls, but not today! A bit of searching soon had the first one within my sights though, it was in the next tree along sheltering out of the wind. From my position I wasn't able to get an image so I drove off down the lane, turned around and then pulled up on the opposite side of the road parallel with the owl. It wasn't spooked, it just sat there seemingly quite content to be tucked away out of the wind. 

The male owl then put in an appearance, he'd landed on a gate post a little further down the lane. From the angle he was at the camo netting I had up at the window wasn't  concealing me, he was giving me a proper stare! A couple of shots were rattled off and then that was that, he was gone!

Next site was my No 176 near to Launde Abbey, only a single owl was seen here and he was dead easy to find! He was on the same branch and in the same tree he is always to be found in. I spent a good 30 minutes parked up underneath him and in all that time he didn't budge!

At site No 186 some brilliant close up views were had, it took a while for the owl to show though. From previous visits I knew the owls favour two different trees to perch in, and in between them is a solitary post that they used. Near to this is where I positioned myself and eventually my patience was rewarded.

And to cap a pretty good day another new site was located, No 208! I was venturing along a lane  that I don't recall going down before near to Launde Abbey and then into view came a roadside tree that just oozed Little Owl. It had all the attributes required, isolated, mature, riddled with holes, some nice low down hunting posts and nearby pasture.  As it was time for something to eat I pulled up, started to fill my face whilst watching the tree.

Barely half of my sausage roll had been consumed when an owl appeared!!! Well at least I think it was an owl, it was a very fleeting glimpse on the far side of the tree and nearly 90% obscured by the branches. I needed no further encouragement, the picnic was put on hold and the Landrover re-positioned into a nearer gateway. After that I lost sight of the owl, unperturbed the camo screen was erected and my camera was at the ready, the waiting game was now on!

The next hour passed without occurrence, nothing was seen or heard, I was beginning to doubt if  what I saw earlier was an owl? A call of nature was now becoming a pressing requirement, I dare not get out of the Landy as that would deffo kill any chance of the owl showing itself. I weighed up the options and I decided it would cause less disturbance by driving off, seeing to my needs and then returning.

I was only gone around 5 minutes and on my return the owl was there!!! Firstly it sat perched in the tree and then on a wooden fence, I managed to capture images of both the used perches (below) before it again disappeared. 

Yep it was a good day, and what's even better is another bank holiday is with us this Monday, bring on part 2.......


  1. Brilliant results from a very enviable day Paul! All the best for Monday, although the weather forecast for that day is a bit iffy at the moment.

    1. Thanks for the weather forcast Richard, I took your advice and when Sunday instead.

  2. Absolutely top pictures Paul. Hope tomorrow is good too although it does not sound promising.

    1. Thanks for your kind words Mike, yes you were right Monday was horrid!