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!!!

Friday, 15 June 2012

Boulders and babies!

Once I'd finished work today I was undecided as whether to go out with the camera gear or stay in and watch the footie, Ireland were playing Spain? A quick check on the weather forecast and would you believe more rain was due in a few hours time and then all day tomorrow. I wasn't too bothered about the rain tomorrow as England are playing and I am certainly not missing that game against Sweden, so that was it my mind was made up, birding tonight and footie tomorrow.

The new 300mm F2.8 was with me again, I'm getting use to it now although a little extra reach would be useful at times, but that would empty my pocket of at least 10 grand so we'll just have to make do for now! I am having to employ a bit more field craft now to get nearer to the subjects than I did when I was using the 500mm, otherwise they really are dots in the distance! Still cropping my final results too much so a bit more stealth and patience is required to get nearer and some full frame images.

A couple of Little Owl sites were visited and a waiting game resulted at both of them. All the time I was waiting the weather continued to deteriorate and finally the wind got up and the rain started to come down. The wait was worth it though and I was rewarded with the male owl (at the first site) showing for around 10 minutes and he used some nice unusual perches.......rocks!!

Every cloud has a silver lining as they say and that certainly is true when it comes to the new lens, the large F2.8 aperture comes into its own when the conditions are not so favourable. The light gathering capabilities are unreal, the images taken tonight would not of been possible with the old 500mm F6.3 as it was too dull. The last image (above) of a juvenile Little Owl at the second site was taken at 9.30pm, not bad considering it was tucked right underneath the branches of tree, nearly dark and raining.


  1. Douglas McFarlane15 June 2012 at 23:30

    Hi Paul,
    I too have the 300mm f2.8, you should try a Canon 2x converter, despite what some say it does work. The better the light the better the quality of image, but also don't think of it having 600mm but more of 500mm at f5.6 but lighter than the big ol' 500mm prime and alot cheaper too. Ben used my 300mm with 2x converter all the time and you have to admit some of his images are pretty good..just a thought.

    1. Hi Doug, I do have a 2x converter but haven't done a lot with it yet, it will be tried out when next in good light, fingers crossed the IQ is still good?