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, 28 February 2014


Sorry but nothing to report of late regarding the local owls, any free time I have had recently has been spent with the now long staying Buzzard. A brilliant and very confiding individual that strangely just doesn't seem to be afraid of humans? Luckily it is only a short drive from my home so just "popping" over early morning is no major chore.

Upon arrival the Buzzard was to be found in it's usual place perched up in the roadside tree. I parked up and poked the camera out of the car window took a few portrait shots and then waited for something to happen...........

After a while of watching it do nothing it eventually drop down into the field and started to feed on the remnants of what I can only presume was a recent kill. On a previous visit I witnessed the Buzzard drop down from its usual perch in the "petrified tree" and fly at full speed head first into the bottom of a Hawthorne bush?? There was a right commotion as it flapped and twisted about? It then re-emerged seeming none the worse with a small rodent in its talons, I have no idea what it was feeding on this time but it was significantly bigger than a rodent, a rabbit maybe?

It was a cloudless sky and full early morning sun, consequently the light was excellent which allowed for some higher shutter speeds and a bit of flighty action.  


I do hope this guy hangs around for a while yet as I just can't get enough of it, I've never had views of a Buzzard quite like it before and to honest I don't expect to get them again, so it a case of making hay whilst the suns shines. A brilliant experience, a real buzz!.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Up close and personal.......

I have been doing this bird photography lark for a while now, and one species that has eluded me for any quality views and images is the Buzzard. Their numbers have exploded in recent years so they are seen on an almost daily basis, sometimes 5 or 6 together but getting close to one has proven an almost impossible task.I have had to be satisfied with distant views and record images only as they are always too far away for my 300mm lens, until now!  

A single bird has been located not too far from where I live that just doesn't seem to have a fear of humans. I have made several visits now and it is always located either perched up in the dead roadside tree or occasionally on the ground doing a bit of "worming". I can pull up alongside the tree and shoot from the open car window, the views and photo opportunities are brilliant but they are limited. Because the location is situated on a single track country lane every time a car comes along I have to shunt out of the way to let them pass, a real pain in the backside!

On Sunday morning the light levels were just perfect (the best since the bird was located) so I nipped over to see the Buzzard again, I was only there for around 20 minutes before I got completely fed up with the continual stream of passing cars, but it was a 20 minutes of time well invested.

As usual the bird was located on one of it's favoured perches in the dead tree.

It wasn't too long before it took flight, luckily I managed to capture this bit of action (below) before any cars came along!

 Once landed on the ground it was a matter of only a few yards away!

     It then proceeded to search out the worms in the mole hills. 

During the small amount of time that I spent with the bird it repeated its sequence of flying to and from the tree on a few occasions, this gave me the opportunity to capture a couple of diving images.

It would quite happily feed without any fear, it only seemed to take flight when yet another car came along and papped at me to move out of the way. 

This last image if easily my favorite of the morning, by a country mile my best Buzzard shot ever!

The continual stream of cars coming down the lane really spoils what could be one of the best wildlife encounters I've ever had. However I have now gained permission from the local land owner to take my Landrover into the field, but because it is so boggy at the moment I've got to wait for it to dry out, I hope the Buzzard hangs around until then?