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, 22 August 2012

Messing about in the water!

I went looking for the young Barn Owls again this evening, there was no luck in that area and I had a premature ending to the evening but I did have a couple of other nice surprises! 
I ended up searching near to Saddington Reservoir, just the usual Mallards, Herons and a few Great Crested Grebes. Whilst I was checking out the distant shoreline through my binoculars in hope that a Barnie may be out hunting early a  white bird flashed across my view...........Barn Owl!!!!
I recomposed myself and locked onto the bird, I then realised it was wishful thinking that it was a Barn Owl, but a decent bird never the less......an Osprey! I have never seen one here before and a very good consolation prize. It was hunting and I wanted to get some action images of it. From where I stood on the dam wall the bird was about half a mile away and getting a "keeper" with my 300 lens was going to be tricky! Rather than chase around the reservoir in close pursuit I opted to stand my ground and wait for it to come to me. It didn't come any closer than when I first saw it, so my "dot in the distance" image was the best I got!

Whilst waiting for the Osprey to come closer a splash in the water in front of me grabbed my attention, it was a Grass Snake and it was chasing after the fry in the margins! I'd never seen that before so the Osprey was soon forgotten and I was now in pursuit of a more slippery character.
I hid behind a clump of vegetation and waited for it to come closer, the images were OK but I wanted to get low down at eye level as I thought it would make for a better composition? As I was doing so I lost my footing and went straight into the water, luck would have I only got wet up to my knees and even luckier my camera was still dry!
All the commotion stopped the snake in its tracks, it was giving me "the stare", that was the moment and I think I made the most of it?

Needless to say that after my clumsy actions the snake dived and wasn't seen again, but thankfully I got the image I was after even though I was soaking wet!


  1. That one's absolutely brilliant Paul!! Well worth a soaking - even if it wasn't intended!

  2. Douglas McFarlane23 August 2012 at 07:28

    A set of waders next time Paul :)

  3. It was definitely worth suffering for your art, an excellent capture!

    Magnificent photos on the last post too the first of which I see is well deservedly featured as photo of the week in Bird Guides!

  4. A small price to pay for a stunning image Paul. All the foliage around the snake really compliment the snake itself. What a brilliant night - even though no Barnies were spotted. Sometimes such nights produce real keepers and you've definitely got one here with the snake!

    1. I'll catch up with the barnies soon, when I am a bit drier!

  5. Why I am never there when something funny happens to you.............great pic tho