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, 6 June 2012

New toy!

My week long quest for owls and especially juveniles continued yesterday, the weather was slightly better but not brilliant, overhead cloud but no rain! However, today I was armed with the "equaliser", hmmm what could that be I hear you ask?

For the last few years I have been using a Sigma 150-500mm lens that has served me well, and it will continue to do so, a brilliant lens for the money but it does let me down somewhat in low light. So I have taken the plunge and purchased a new piece of kit, again a Sigma lens (I can't afford Cannon) but this is only 300mm but it is fast, an F2.8! Apparently it is "tack sharp" which will be a welcome improvement over the quite soft at times 500mm.

So chomping at the bit off  I went looking for a likely subject to try out the new lens on. A few owls were seen, and a juvenile too (my first of the year!) but they were all too far away. Eventually I did manage a few shots of some closer birds, (images below).

Nothing spectacular in terms of variety or poses but what I have found with this new lens is the reduction in post process requirements (sharpening), basically what you see here is what I got. But the one thing that is a massive improvement is its light gathering abilities, all these images were taken in pretty poor and overcast conditions but with the aperture wide open at F2.8 it makes it look as though the light was fantastic!

As I write up this latest post (weds 10.45am) the sun has just poked its head around the clouds. Not wanting to waste such a rare opportunity I am off out again now. My aim is to see if I can firstly locate an "out of the nest" juvenile and then get some images of it, of course any accommodating adults will do too!


  1. Good post mate, I also have the 150-500mm and I totally agree with you! The result look good though for the new lens!

  2. Very nice Paul! I love the results from your new "toy"!! and am looking forward to seeing the juveniles really soon...:)

  3. Very impressive first results Paul. Looking forward to your juvenile images any time now !!!

  4. There brilliant mate..........

  5. That flight shot has got to be one of your best mate. Great pose and background.

  6. I just want to add further comment: It just goes to show the importance of expert fieldcraft. You must have got exceptionally close to get these images with a 300mm. Superb indeed. Where these from the Land rover?

    1. Yes they were taken from the Landrover Christian, but all the images have been cropped some what, it helps when you have 16 million pixels to play with.