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, 28 July 2012

Out of the shadows

The weather of late had been settled, no rain and only a very gentle breeze, really good for the owls. So yesterday I had a marathon session (NINE hours) my plan was to get to the first site nice and early and maybe, just maybe I'd get the image I'm after of all five owls together?

It was warm, very warm and incredibly bright, upon arrival it didn't take me long to locate all five of the resident owls. Each one was perched up in a different location, and all in the shade! The nearest of them was one of the juveniles, so before I settled down I grabbed a shot of it (below), not easy to capture great detail when the light is coming from behind the subject but a good start never the less.

After the good start the hours ticked by without incident, really exciting stuff this! I was fed up of twiddling my thumbs waiting for something to happen.........and it didn't! So after five hours of watching the grass grow something had to be done, but what? I knew that in all probability they would eventually "come out to play" but when? Normally I visit this site in the evening (when activity is at its highest), but I wasn't prepared to wait that long so with just the one image taken I upped sticks and headed for site No 2.

At the second site only four of the five resident owls were located and the story was initially the same, yes they were all in the shade! However, they weren't quite as static as the previous family and occasionally they did venture out from the coolness of the shadows. Consequently a few images were captured but after four hours of sitting in the pressure cooker of a Landrover I had to concede I was beaten..........Weather 2 - Rid 0.

Whilst at the second site there was a bit of "proper" action, albeit for a few brief seconds. One of the juveniles ventured out from underneath the hedgerow and chased a Blackbird (below), trouble was I was too far away to get anything like a decent image........typical!

During the sweltering hours it hit home just how fortunate I'd been on previous visits, rain, wind, fog, storms and clouds but there had always been activity. As far as I am concerned, you can keep your mini heatwave as it's just no good for watching owls. I'm sure it won't be long before the crappy weather is back with us.........bring it on!


  1. How beautiful .. and many! very good scenes and great pictures .. Congrat..

  2. I'd happily put in twice that number of hours if I thought I'd get some images half as good as these - absolutely brilliant!