Hi and welcome to my Blog, my name is Paul Riddle and I live in south Leicestershire, UK. Back in August 2008 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 5 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!!!

Saturday, 22 March 2014

More little un's.

The weather is starting to improve and the days are starting to draw out, spring is definitely in the air and the new breeding season is just around the corner. Getting out in the Landie at this time of year is very rewarding (almost a privileged although expensive!), especially early morning just as the day is dawning. 

Every thing is great, so what could improve matters?? I'll tell you what, a new Little Owl site (No 243) and with a very showy resident pair too! 

This latest site wasn't just accidentally stumbled upon, I have had my eye on this particular location for a while now but nothing was ever there, or at least I never saw them before. It compromises of a couple of isolated farm buildings/sheds that are only really accessible in the Landie, but unlike on previous fruitless visits this time I hit the jackpot! 

After staking the area out for an hour two birds showed in the gap at the end of the brick barn.


Initially they expressed caution and checked out the Landie from the relative security of their little hidey hole. After a while I think they realised there was no threat and they dropped down onto a lower wall. They were now very close and I had to stay as quiet as a mouse behind my camo scrim so as not to spook them. The only noise being made was from the camera shutter, they could  obviously hear it as they would occasionally turn and look right down the lens, it didn't scare them though, in fact I think they were inquisitive?


As the time passed they grew in confidence and started to use a variety of different perches. By now they almost totally ignored the Landie, just the occasional glance was made.


Although mild it was still very windy, this played into my hands as the grey clouds were soon blown away leaving an almost cloudless sky and brilliant light.


It was amazing just how blue the sky was at times, although I had to be aware of not blowing the whites in the now brilliant sunshine.



The good light also allowed me a few opportunities of capturing a few "flighty" shots, this particular aspect of photography is dammed difficult and I messed up a couple of chances but luckily I did nail a few in the end.

 
The "head on" shot of an owl in flight has to be the hardest particular image to attain, the camera and operator have to work in total synchronization,  oh and the setting have to be spot on!


The flight shot of an owl moving across (eg from left to right) is I suppose a bit easier than when one is coming straight at you, although still a tough one to capture. The light has to be really good allowing for a greater depth of field without the loss of the much needed high shutter speeds The final ingredient to capturing the perfect image is of course a lot of luck!! 


It is not often that when a new owl site is located some half decent images are captured in the same visit. Usually there has to be plenty of planning and re-visits but I guess on this occasion I just got lucky?

Thanks for visiting and catch you all again soon...............

15 comments:

  1. Hi Rid,
    stunning series of photos .. every time I visit your blog I am thrilled on latest from your images
    regards Frank

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  2. Fantastic photos and well worth getting up early for. You must be thrilled to have found this pair.

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    1. Yes thrilled to bits I found them, getting up early paid dividends!

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  3. What a fabulous outing and some beautiful shots to show for it.

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    1. It was a memorable outing, and I have the images to remind me. Thanks for the comment.

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  4. Stunning mate just stunning!!!!!!!!!!

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  5. Loving the flight shots Paul, brilliant images all around

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  6. Good to see you making full use of the Landie again, and with brilliant results too. Well done, Paul!

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    1. Oh yes the Landie makes all the difference Richard, cheers for your comments.

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  7. Excellent photos!!!
    Best regards from Poland

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Dzial.

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  8. Enjoyed these wonderful photos !...

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