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, 25 August 2012

An owly morning!

Went out on an owl search this morning with Jenny, a local lass who is very much into her birding and a volunteer at the Rutland Osprey Project. She is very much "in the know" with all the local land owners and with her connections we were able to venture to places I'd never been to before.
The Landrover came in very handy as went from one rural location to another. Mid morning though I had a bit of a shock at one site, "park up the Landie Paul, we are going on foot from here"...........what!! "Come on she said, its only a short walk", she obviously didn't know that I am allergic to walking! Dam and blast I had no choice so reluctantly I agreed and off we went.  It was a nice area that had plenty of potential, but no owls were seen. After about ten miles of walking (well it felt like it was that far) we finally got back to the Landie for a well earned rest. Jen then surprised me again by unveiling a flask of tea and bacon rolls, all was forgiven!
She took me to several other locations during the morning, all of which had great owl potential. I will be returning to them one evening in the week to see if they produce the goods. Late morning we passed one of my "special owl sites", so beings as Jenny was doing her bit to help me the least I could do was to stop off and show her some juvenile owls.....if they were still there?
As we approached the corner of the field where the juveniles hang  out we spotted one almost immediately, they were still here!. It wasn't long before all three were seen and they put on quite a show for her, one even briefly landed on the Landrover bonnet. I couldn't resist the chance to grab a quick image of two of them on this perch, they may not be here the next time I visit?

Towards the end of our owl tour I showed Jenny around an area where I have some owl boxes that have yet to be occupied. I was taking a route that I'd taken on many previous occasions and as we passed a Willow Tree that sits in total isolation right in the middle of a field an owl was spotted!
Was it a new site or was it a dispersing juvenile from elsewhere? Gradually I inched the Landrover nearer and nearer until eventually I was close enough to grab an image, below. 
A quick review of the image confirmed it was a juvenile, so was it a new site or a dispersing juvenile? It was inconclusive, there was no way we could know either way.
As we sat and watched another owl was spotted higher up in the tree, a quick manoeuvre of the Landrover and we than had it in full view..........it was an adult! That proved without doubt this was a new site for me, No 214!

The thing that surprised me is I have passed that particular Willow Tree and checked it out on numerous occasions, and seen nothing! Must have been my lucky mascot........nice one Jenny!


  1. Hi Paul,
    because the walk but worth it .. Thanks to Jenny that she you "forced";-) has the image with the two owls on the tree trunk is awesome ... but it is a favorite for me not all pictures are beautiful
    greetings Frank

  2. Apart from the SEO site I've only located one new Barn Owl site this year, not many around here. The one I did find was at night, no good for photography.

    1. Did you mean to say Little Owl rather than Barn Owl Doug?