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, 26 January 2013


As any regular readers of this blog may recall last Wednesday evening I chanced upon my 224th Little Owl site. I caught it in my car headlights as it was sitting in the middle of the road. At the time there was no way I could have attained an image as it was too dark and I didn't have my camera with me!
So a re-visit was made late the next day to see if I could relocate the bird, the light levels weren't great for photography but at least they were better than the previous day and this time I had my camera with me. I drove slowly along the lane in the general area where I thought I saw the owl previously, I couldn't be sure exactly which tree it flew up to as there was a long line of them at the roadside? I seemed to recollect seeing a telegraph pole on the other side of the road so that was where I pulled up.
A quick scan of the trees and hey presto there was an owl perched up in the next tree along from where I was parked up! I inched the car along the verge to get a better look and hey ho there was a pair!!     
Little Owl site No 224
So that now brings me to this morning, I was off out reasonably early but not matter how hard I tried I just couldn't locate an owl, not anywhere! The sun was shining and the big thaw was now on which is normally a good combination but the temperature was still low and the wind biting, that was obviously the reason why there was none to be seen?
After visiting at least 20 different Little Owl sites I'd all but given up hope of seeing an owl, my last ditch chance was to re-visit my new site No 224 again. I pulled up next to the tree that I'd seen the new owls in only a few days prior and the story was the same...........NO OWLS.
But my luck then changed as a movemnet caught my eye, it was an owl and the first of the day!!  It was sitting tucked away in what seemed to be the entrance to its nest hole. I managed to get a few shots of it before it disapeared back into its hole, not great views but a very welcome sighting indeed.

Little Owl Sit No 224
On another note but still owl related, I checked out two more Barn Owl boxes and both produced positive results. The first is in an old barn not far from the village of Gilmorton. The box was erected back in 2011 and there has been no evidence of Barn Owl activity. But now there are pellets directly below the box, I've never seen a barnie in this area before but after what has now been found I am sure it won't be long?
The second box I checked is also situated in an old barn and not too far from the village of Saddington. It too was erected back in 2011 and so far the only activity was a breeding pair of Stock Doves back in 2012. Oh but things are really positive here now, as I clambered up on the farm machinery to check out the box a Barn Owl flew out!!! That is now 9 different locations in south Leicestershire where I have made Barn Owl sightings in 2013. Add to that another 7 box sites where I haven't seen a bird yet but  pellets are now beening found.
It is so satisfying that my nest box scheme is eventually starting to work and things look promising for the future..........REALLY PROMISING!


  1. That's really brilliant news about the Barnie boxes, Paul. Well done there.

    That new LO site looks rather promising too! A couple of nice images there already!

  2. Great news for the Barnies Paul, well done. I like both images Paul but my favourite has to be the two together in the tree.

  3. "Arise Sir Riddle." Services to Barn Owls.

  4. Thnaks for your comments guys!