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!!!

Friday, 19 October 2012


Mmmmmmm, I can image that you are asking yourself what is this blog title of WTO all about?

Well, WTO stands for Water Tower Owl, not very exciting or original I know but coming up with post titles does pose a problem occasionally and that is the best I could muster up, I'm in a hurry because its nearly pub time!
OK let me explain, my Little Owl site No 201 is situated right out in the middle of nowhere and because of the location I don't visit here very often. All previous images were only really record shots, with this image below being the best of the bunch. Nothing too special about the image, apart from it shows the owl has a damaged left eye. It wasn't until I dug this image out from my archives that I realised it was captured in October 2011, the last time I actually made a visit, naughty me! 
Anyway, after bumping into the owner of the farm he told me that he was regularly seeing a Little Owl perched up on the water tower at the back of the farm. Interesting I thought, could be a chance to get some improved images.
As I arrived it was raining and getting late, the owl needed to show pretty quickly otherwise it would be too dark for any images. My tactics were to drive slowly past the water tower and if it was sitting there I'd grab some shots, it wasn't there! I then continued to drive past and positioned myself about 30 yards away where I'd get a good view. Although the tower was not very exciting to look at I thought I'd give you a feeling for where the owl had been seen, below.

As I sat watching, waiting and hoping the owl would appear it did and from out of nowhere? It was on top of the right green tank (I was too slow for an image!) blimey I'd only been there two minutes. It dropped down onto the pipe that connects the two tanks and then disappeared behind the concrete blocks. I then drove down deathly slow so as not to spook it, I managed to get into such a position that I could see under the tanks and there it was! 
The light was terrible so a high ISO was required, even then I was only getting shutter speeds of around 1/100th of a second. It sat there looking back at me, it was at this stage that I realised it had a damaged eye, it was the same bird that I saw on my previous visit nearly a year ago! 

It didn't seem to be bothered about the presence of the car as it didn't flinch as I started it up again and moved a bit nearer. Thank goodness I had enough foresight to put my camo scrim up at the window, it allowed for some good close up views. 
It then moved about underneath the tanks and offered a nice selection of different poses as it settled on a variety of different perches.

The encounter was all too brief though, only about five minutes and then it flew off. I was happy though to see it was still about despite its damaged eye and it allowed me to get some improved images.


  1. Without saying too much, but I'm actually kicking myself,lol....glad to see it doing ok with only one eye

  2. Hoi Rid

    Prachtig hoe jij elke keer weer naar een uiltje toe sluipt en hem zo mooi weet te fotograferen ook al heeft hij in dit geval maar een oog SUPER !!!

    Gr Michel

  3. Once again perfect shots and a great series of images ... the keep with you so quiet when you photograph .. super .. :-))
    greetings Frank

  4. Great stuff Paul,hope you are well,all the owls look just fine,and some very good shots of them,
    all the very beat Ian

  5. Thank you all for your comments.