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!!!

Monday, 14 January 2013

Weekend round up.

Late on Saturday afternoon and I set off to check out a potential Barn Owl site not far from the village of Broughton Astley. Sadly whilst there I didn't see any Barn Owls but what I did see/hear was more than satisfactory compensation, a solitary Short Eared Owl and a new Little Owl site!
The Shortie sighting was very brief indeed, the light was still OK for viewing but poor for photography so no image, even if it was OK I still wouldn't have been quick enough! It appeared totally out of the blue and I picked it up as it flew across the corner of the nearby lake and then off along a hedgerow into the distance, in total I had it in view for about 15 seconds  but  there was no doubt about what it was, only my second sighting in Leicestershire this winter.
After the excitement of the Shortie fly by I got back to concentrating on what else was happening....nothing! I'd all but given up on this owly looking area when I heard the calling of two Little Owls. I'd guess they were no further away than 50 yards but it was by now too dark to actually see them, dooooh! But hearing them was good enough for me, new site No 222!
On Sunday I was off out early, (no booze the night before Richard!) as I still have dozens of sites/boxes that needed checking out. Of the six Barn Owl boxes that were checked pellets were found at two of them, could have been the same bird though as they are only a few hundred yards apart? Little Owls were noted at five more known sites, three had pairs and singles at the others.
Whilst in between two of my known Little Owl sites at Peckleton I chanced upon another new location that holds birds, and it was located without even trying! I pulled up in a gateway to survey the general area and there sat on a post just inside the field was a Little Owl, and I thought I'd given up on locating new territories? I lent over to grab my camera off the passenger seat and by the time I'd turned back around it had gone! I couldn't see it anywhere so against my better judgement I got out of the car so I could see over the hedgerow, still I couldn't see it. I then glanced up into the nearby tree and there it was perched up high watching me! As soon as the shutter on the camera sounded off it flew, it landed on top of a barn roof which was partially obscured by some trees but viewing it through my binoculars I could see it had gone to join its mate!  I dipped down below the hedgerow and crept nearer to the barn, I was after an image of the pair of them together. But oh no they were far too cute for me and they had both disappeared and not seen again whilst I was there. I wasn't too disappointed though as this was my new site No 223!  
Little Owl site No 223 - Peckleton
I finally arrived at my site No 47 at Peckleton, here it was good to see that the resident birds are still holding their territory. The views were atrocious as they stayed up high in the nest tree, below.
Little Owl site No 47
Not a lot else to report from the day really, a few other species were noted as the day progressed,  this hen Bullfinch came quite close as she fed on seed heads near to one of my owl sites. 


  1. I would never had guessed that when you started your Little Owl project that you'd end up with 223 sites, to be honest I was thinking about 100 with a lot of hard looking/searching, truly impressive Paul, well done.

  2. Although the LO images are great, Paul, I love the Bullfinch image! It's just that bit different.

    As Doug says, 223 sites is truly amazing! People look at me in disbelief when I say I've got 34 LO sites!

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