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, 26 July 2013

Mulling it over........

Every since I got back into this "birding" lark 6 or 7 years ago I have wanted to visit Scotland. Several of my birding buddies have been and when ever I hear about where they went and what they saw it only whets my appetite even further.

The biggest draw for me is to go and see Short Eared Owls in their natural breeding grounds, closely followed behind that is to see White Tailed and Golden Eagle in the flesh (or feather). I have been advised that the month of May is probably the best time to go but as we know that has come and gone so too late for that one! However, I am sure that we will see plenty of other goodies whilst there?

North Uist in the outer Hebrides would have been my first choice of destination, but trying to get accommodation this late in the day and nearby to a local pub proved almost impossible. My second choice was the Isle of Mull so after much deliberation I have finally taken the plunge and booked the ferry and some accommodation for early August. I am going with my mate Adey and it will be his first visit too. The B & B that we have booked has WI-fi that we can use (for a small donation to the RNLI) so if we get to see anything of interest I'll be able to update my blog in the evenings, that is if I do it before my visit to the pub!

For those of you who don't know where Mull is located  (and I doubt there are many of you who don't?) here is a map of Scotland with the island pinpointed. The island has an area of 875.35 square kilometres (337.97 sq mi) and is the fourth largest island surrounding Great Britain and a resident population of of 2,667.

And this is the blown up  portion of the same map showing the island itself.

On Monday the 5th we will be making the 400 mile drive up from Leicester up to Oban. We will be going through the night and hope to catch the 7.30am ferry across to Craignure. I think we are pretty well prepared and thanks must go to all those friends who have given us info and assistance especially Mick and Richard who supplied us with maps and loads of detailed info.


  1. Good luck Paul, look forward to hearing/seeing more and hopefully (all fingers and toes crossed) you'll get a shortie or two.

  2. All the best for this trip, Paul.

    Your sat-nav will probably take you round the Glasgow ring road (M8 west), Erskine Bridge, A82 past Loch Lomond to Crianlarich & Tyndrum, and then A85 to Oban. You'll probably be OK with this route if travelling at night, but during the day it can be VERY SLOW round Glasgow and Loch Lomond (which goes on forever)!! Our favoured route is to avoid Glasgow by taking the M73 north, A80 to Denny (recently upgraded), M80 & M9 to north-west of Stirling, A84 to Lochearnhead, then A85 to Crianlarich (then as first route). In the daytime its a lot more pleasant a route, and quicker.

    Looking forward to your 'report' on your return!

    1. Goodness this comment must have taken you an age to write Richard? But very pleased you did as your "local" knowledge should make it a more pleasurable journey for us, cheers mate!

  3. Fantastic birding location, loads of interest on:

    1. Thanks for your comment and the link Andrew.

  4. Doubt if I will see you before you go so have a great trip mate and look forward to seeing some super images