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, 21 January 2014

New owl site - 242

I'm still not getting out anywhere near as much as I'd like to, it's the same old excuses really, limited time, no cash, too cold etc etc. The solution is quite simple really, a huge lottery win and a bit of sunshine!! 

Anyway, my most recent excursion out was at the weekend, a few more year ticks where made and my annual list keeps creeping up nicely, nothing special just Kingfisher, Marsh Tit and drum roll please.............House Sparrow!!!! My tally is now on 70 different species, 43.75% of my original target of 160, however I am not doing that well if you were to ask Col Green who decided that my target should be increased to 175 species, mmmmm that means I am only at 40.00%, the cheek of him!

It was all very nice seeking out these different species for my year list, it makes a refreshing change from spending nearly all my time with the owls but I have to admit it is always good to get back to watching and searching for them. And late in the day when on my way home I got my owly fix, and in the form of yet another new Little Owl site. The bird in question was first picked up in the car headlights as it swooped across in front of me and landed on top of a hedgerow. It was a very quiet country lane so there was no issues with just stopping in the middle of the road. The camera was soon plucked from the passenger seat and after a quick change of the setting the image below was attained.

Little Owl site No 242
The conditions as you can perhaps make out were not good! This was no time to be arty farty, it was just a case of trying to get a usable record shot, and I managed it just! It was 5.51pm and almost pitch black, the auto focus just kept hunting back and forth and just wouldn't lock onto the bird. The ISO was pumped up to 2000 and with the aperture opened up to F2.8 I did managed to lock on just the once and grab an image, albeit at only 1/20 of a second shutter speed.

That is it for this post as nothing else to report, roll on the nicer weather, oh and that lottery win!!!

See ya all soon.............