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!!!

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Squeaking them in......

Hi all!

I know my updates have been a bit thin on the ground just recently, it has not been a case that I can't be bothered to do a post its just a case that I just haven't got anything to report. Crappy weather, crappy light (before & after work) and what with the Landrover being off the road they have all contributed to not going out! 

However, last week I did make an effort to have a drive around, it was a drab and very dreary day, not that conductive for owling you would think? But because of the fact there wasn't a breath of wind (very rare nowadays!) I suspected that there could be a Little Owl or two to be seen, and there was!

I stopped off at five known Little Owl sites and sightings were made at all five but they were too far away for any images though.  I suppose I could have made more of an effort and got out of the car and got closer but as the conditions were terrible for photography so I stayed put! There is no doubt about it, a windless day is perfect for owl watching, it just seems to bring them out to play.

Later in the day I made contact with owls at another two sites, this time I made an effort to take some photographs as I'd never seen an owl at either location before, they are now my new sites No's 238 & 239.

The owl at site No 238 was firstly heard before I saw it, I was at a very well know local reservoir just doing a bit of general birding when I hear a call come from a scrubby area to my left. It only called  the once and lasted no more than a second but it was undoubtedly a Little Owl. It wasn't going to show whilst I stood there on the bridge so I returned back to my car, wound down the window and poked the camera out of the window. It then took about an hour of waiting before I got my first glimpse, it was perched up deep in the undergrowth and no chance of a shot!  I did my mouse impression (a sort of kissy squeak) and that got its attention. It emerged from the relative security of the scrub and rose high and landed on a bare branch, it stared straight at me for a few seconds before flying off, I did however managed the image below during its fleeting show.

Little Owl site No 238.
On my way home I stopped off at an old farm building where I have on the odd occasion previously seen a Barn Owl. As it was now starting to get dark I was hoping the timing would be about right to see one yet again? I pulled up and opened the window, again it was time for my secret weapon, "the kissy squeak". Unfortunately it didn't attract a Barn Owl, but instead a pair of Little Owls were attracted! I couldn't believe my luck when they flew in and landed on top of a small bush. Luckily I already got my camera ready so capturing a couple of images was done so with ease.

Little Owl site No 239
I think that "squeaking" them in worked so well because there was no wind and the sound carried so much further than normal. As you can see from the quality of the images the light levels were terrible and not conductive at all for good photography. Never the less, it was still good to find a couple of new sites and a perfect reason for me to make a re-visit when the weather is better.

Thanks for stopping by and hopefully we'll catch up again soon.........