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, 28 June 2012

Born free!??????

After the minor setback (see previous post) I chose to ignore the idiots and resisted the temptation to respond, so instead I went out to find some WILD owls!

Two sites were visited this evening, firstly I went to my "star site" and surprisingly they weren't as co-operative tonight? Early on things were pretty much the same as on previous visits with the parent owls flying to and fro from the feeding area and then back to the nest. Things then got rather noisy over at the nest tree, the two juveniles had fledge the nest. The parents were then pre-occupied trying to chaperone them to a safe location, but the youngsters were having none of it! They were both sitting out on bare limbs squawking and begging for food. The parents could obviously sense their vulnerability and that they were sitting ducks for any would be predator. The next hour or so made for quite interesting viewing (no images though they were too far away for my 300mm lens). Both the parent owls sat on a grassy mound next to a disused rabbit burrow, they were calling frantically in an attempt to coax them down to the safe haven. I know this to be the case as last year at this site this is where the juveniles (4 of them) spent their first few weeks once they had fledged.

Although I was a good 30 yards away from all the action it then dawned on me that maybe the presence of my Landrover was causing the juveniles to be hesitant about coming down to the ground. With this thought I made a hasty retreat and left them to it, consequently only a couple of images were captured here today. 

The second location I visited, site No 45 was only just up the road, on my last visit here I strategically positioned and old spade with the hope that one of the owls may use it as a perch and one of them did, great when a plan comes together! Only the single owl was seen here although I could hear at least one juvenile begging but couldn't locate it.
I arrived here too late really, even though the light was good most of the area was soon in shade, so for once I called it an early night, well the football was on, and that proved to be a complete let down!

I have named this owl Doug, get it?


  1. Well done, straight back in the saddle ;-) Wonderful photos as always!

  2. Great images Paul, liking that second shot where the owl is looking straight at the camera!

  3. Douglas (man without a spade) McFarlane29 June 2012 at 01:12

    Great set of images Paul. and yes sadly I did get the joke, it's one I've heard a few times before lol.