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, 7 June 2012


As you may well recall I have being going on recently like an old rag woman, ranting and raving about the dam weather of late and how it was ruining my photo opportunities whilst on holiday. Well today I definitely have some serious nagging to do! The weather of a couple of days ago was almost tropical in comparison to yesterday, it bloody chucked it down! At times it was of biblical proportions and if I wasn't so stubborn I'd have gone home and started to make an Ark! Anyhow, beings as I am on a self appointed quest to locate some juvenile "out of the nest" Little Owls, the show had to go on come rain (downpour) or shine.

In my previous post I briefly mentioned that a couple of days ago I did briefly see a juv out of the nest hissing away, at the time it was too far away for an image. Well I have to be honest, it was too far away because I couldn't be bothered to open the two farm gates that stood in my way, beings as neither Daz or Col were with me (they are expert gate openers) I wouldn't lower myself to such a Mundane task!  

So despite the conditions I headed out in the trusty Landrover and my destination was my site No 182 near to the village of Fleckney. This is where I had made the brief juvenile sighting a couple of days ago, I'd plucked up the courage and conviction to make the effort and open the two gates so as to get nearer. The other reason this site was selected was the massive tree that the owls were nesting in would give some relative rain cover underneath its massive outstretched limbs.

Finally, I was in situ and the waiting game began........

After 90 minutes a little face showed itself at the entrance to the nest hole, snap snap snap, my first juvenile image of 2012 was captured..........MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!

The owl was showing extreme caution and just sat there looking out of the hole, there was no way it could see me as I was well concealed behind all my camo netting. It may have been a combination of my Landrover and the hideous thunderstorm that was keeping it tucked away? Eventually though, it plucked up the courage to come out, followed closely by its sibling.

I spent the next three hours with these owls, not because they were doing anything special but because I was waiting for a rest bite in the rain so I could go and open the gates!

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