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!!!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Little Gems

There is no doubt about it, owls are without doubt my favourite bird species, big uns, little uns, fat or thin it doesn't matter. It would be frightening if I actually knew how many hours I must have spent watching, studying and photographing them? But occasionally it is good to leave them alone and spend sometime with a different species altogether.
Last week when John and I went to Norfolk we saw loads of different bird species, it was a refreshing change to spend time watching something else rather than owls. But for me none of them really hit the spot. Yeah they were good to watch for half an hour or so but where was the  "character" that the Little Owl for example just oozes? None of them grabbed my attention and I quickly got bored and wanted to move on. That is apart from the Sanderling, what a brilliant little wader, I was absolutely captivated by them. The Sanderling is a small plump sandpiper of 18–20 cm in length. It does not breed in the UK, but is a winter visitor and passage migrant in spring and autumn, journeying to and from their high Arctic breeding grounds.
Several were seen on the beech at Hunstanton feeding along the edge of the surf, and if one employs a bit of stealth and patience they can be quite approachable. I reckon John and I got to within about 20 feet before they got nervous and scampered away along the beach. And when they move they really move, they are very energetic little birds that hardly stand still! Their little black legs are just a blur when running so as to freeze the action high shutter speeds were needed, and that is where our problems started because the light levels were atrocious. But I did my best under the conditions allowing and here below were my best efforts from the day with my 300mm.

So if you have never had the chance to watch these stunning birds you should make the effort and get down to a beach near you now, you won't regret it! I for sure will be returning to see the ones at Hunstanton again and hopefully next time the light will be more forgiving?


  1. Great post about the best wader species in the world, well done.

  2. Excellent shots Paul, they are little beauties.

  3. Absolutely gorgeous Paul. I think I may have seen one at a distance and not known what it was in Brixham.

  4. I too love the Sanderlings - they're just amazing to watch as they busy themselves along the shore-line! Nice images too Paul!

  5. Thanks to you all for your comments guys.