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!!!

Monday, 8 September 2014

Bombay Bum Birding........

Saturday morning had me waking up very early indeed, initially it was 2.00am, then 3.15am and then again at 4.20am. No I didn't go to bed too early, around 11.00pm so nothing too out of the ordinary there? But the constant visits to the toilet with a stinging hotter than larva soon had me wide awake up and dressed. I knew what the problem was, although I didn't realise at the time it was going to make me so uncomfortable and for the whole weekend too!! 

On Friday night we were invited out for a meal (by Col & Sue), they wanted to take us to a new Indian Restaurant that they had recently discovered to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. I wasn't sure as what to order so I asked the waitress what she would recommend? "Oh without a doubt sir, the chef's special is a meal you will never forget" and she was right! Now I must admit the meal was delicious, I had it my normal Madras hot, it was bursting full of flavor and much more spicier than I am use to but not too hot. It was a fantastic meal and at the time I enjoyed it very much.

The enforced early rise had me wondering as to what I was going to do now? It was still dark outside but as I'd had the Landrover serviced and a new exhaust fitted on Friday I thought what the hell lets grab my "birding kit" and get out.

Initially it was a waste of time as it was too dark to see anything, however at one location where I was parked up I heard a Tawny Owl call. I have known of this particular pair for a good few months now but due to the crops in the field I could never get near to the nest tree for a closer look and possibly a few images. As the farmer had now harvested the crops I took the opportunity to drive over the lumpy ground and positioned the Landrover parallel to the nest tree.

It didn't take long for the owl to call again, the light levels were very low but I could just about make it out sitting at the nest entrance. It wasn't until 6.50am that I was able to grab a couple of images of it. The light still wasn't good so with my camera settings at ISO 1600 I was able to manage a shutter speed of 1/30th of a second. I didn't have a chance to improve on these two images (below) because as the light improved the owl backed off into the hole not to be seen again on this visit.

This had now whet my whistle for Tawny Owls and I wanted more. Therefore I opted to visit another location where I know a pair reside. Sadly no other Tawnies were seen at this second location but as compensation a Little Owl put in an appearance.

It was a misty morning and the light levels were still poor, although they were better than when I was with the Tawny Owl I could only muster 1/80th of a second shutter speed. Thankfully the Little Owl would hold a "statue like pose" which assisted in the reduction of any motion blur. 

It wasn't long before I started to have some more reoccurring belly rumbles and the morning was prematurely cut short. After a dash home to damper things down with a cooling cream (may as well been mustard for what good it did) I was out again in the afternoon at a different location in pursuit of a different species altogether, but that will be in my next post.

At the time of writing up this post (Sunday night) I am still suffering and it feels like someone has inserted a red hot poker into a certain part of my anatomy! But guess what? It was one of the best curry's I've ever had and I WILL be going back!! Many thanks Col & Sue for a most memorable evening, in more than one way!!

Thanks for stopping by

Catch up again soon...........


  1. Do you remember the map of Bonanza?

  2. Initially Barry I didn't have a clue as to what your comment was referring to? However, after giving it some thought I now have it! The "ring of fire" on the map, oh how apt that reference is to how uncomfortable I have been ha ha. Thanks for your comment!

  3. Brilliant images Paul despite the high ISO very little noise if any. But (should that be butt) a bigger congratulations is in order...well done Mrs. Riddle for putting up with Pauls owling for 25 years lol...seriously though congratulations to the pair of you on your wedding anniversary

  4. Thank you so much for your belated congratulations Doug, very good of you!
    On another note, I am having loads of issues with the derogation of my uploaded images, apparently it is the google auto enhancer that makes the images lighter, darker or more saturated. Apparently the only way I can overcome this is to upgrade to google+ and turn of the enhancer! Have you had any issues in this area?

  5. Glad you enjoyed the evening mate and it was our pleasure, and it did get you up early bright eyed and, well bushy tailed is not really appropriate is it? nice images mate.

    1. Not suffering anymore mate and everything is back working normally, so I guess I am ready to go again soon!