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, 18 August 2012


Haven't managed to get out properly during the last few days, just one quick rekkie late on Thursday evening. One owl was seen en route to my destination (image below) at my site No 53 but I didn't stay with it long because I was heading over to the Wistow area to check out an area that previously I'd never been to before.

My mate Glyn "the gamekeeper" had been telling me I should go and check out this particular area as he was convinced that it would produce some goodies..........and he wasn't wrong! Quite a vast area that could only really be covered in the Landrover, good job as I am far too lazy to have walked!

My main objective was Barn Owl, the terrain was just right for them and I was hoping that I'd bump into one of the four recently fledged birds from the breeding site just down the road. This wasn't to be but, I did see a single Hobby hunting high up over the woods, countless Buzzards, two family parties of Spotted Flycatcher and..............a Little Owl!

The Little Owl gave away its presence by sounding out its alarm call as I approached its territory. Another responded then all went quiet, this is the usual tactics they use and the game of "hide & seek" was now on! I systematically searched all the surrounding trees and eventually the tell tale silhouette was spotted. It was perched in a pollarded Willow, highly likely to be the nest tree?  It sat there statue like not moving a muscle, its piercing yellow eyes fixed firmly on me. I was confident that it wasn't going to move and reveal itself because of the distance between us so at this stage I grabbed an image (below).

Once I'd secured the first image from my new site 213 I chanced my luck and moved nearer, I was being greedy, I wanted a better image. But oh no, I'd got too near and within its "comfort zone" and it was having none of that and flew off!

I shall be returning very soon to get an improved image.........watch this space!


  1. Great stuff Paul! That second image isn't so shabby either- conveys a great atmoshpere!

  2. wow,
    the facial expression and the view is fantastic ..
    good photo
    greetings Frank

  3. I too like the LO in the willow tree, looks great.

  4. Hi Paul,

    great stuff as ever!
    Did you hear the Radio 4's "Living World" programme about Little Owls with Emily Joachim? On iPlayer and to download at http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/nathistory


    1. Emily did email me the link this morning but for some reason it didn't work, but thankfully your link did. I am listening to it right now as I write this reply, many thanks!