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!!!

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Productivity......

Hi all!!

It has been a very busy time since my last post, but not all with owl watching and photography, although I have squeezed a bit of that in too!

One of my land owner pals has a fantastic woodworking shop on his farm, and it is hardly used, well not until now that is! I approached him earlier in the year with the offer of making and erecting a few boxes for him (as he had requested some boxes) and in return was it possible to use his workshop? A deal was soon struck and Col and I made our first visit there one evening last week.

As can be seen from the image below the workshop is huge, however my 35mm lens just doesn't do the size of it justice. Working in there just couldn't be better, there is loads of room, its nice and warm, good lighting and plenty of working space, just perfect for a horrid winters night. 


Available to us are 4 different types of electric wood saw, they make stripping down the 8ft x 4ft sheets that we use a doddle, Col can be seen here in this next image doing some cutting to size.


We made two visits on consecutive evenings and before long the large timber sheets had been transformed into five brand new Barn Owl boxes, yours truly can be seen here taking a well earned rest with the boxes.


Once the boxes had been made the next two evenings were spent treating them with a quality wood preserve, I don't like this part of the task as it is boring and very tedious but it needs to be done! Six hours later the boxes had all had four coats and they were all ready for erecting.

Saturday morning we honored our part of the deal and the first box was erected on my farmer friends land. We selected a mature Oak Tree with a north facing aspect, it was just perfect but before being secured to the tree a large amount of Ivy needed removing, Col told me that was my job, as can be seen below!


Col came in at the eleventh hour and took all the glory by securing the box in place!


Just a mile or so down the road we erected a second box on a huge Ash Tree, again Col can be seen here (below) doing the "good bit" of securing the box, again!


Last year both these boxes had breeding Barn Owls within a mile, so hopefully the fledged young will still be around and find these two offerings very soon?

Last Sunday I re-visited my newly found Little Owl site No 250, previously I'd not managed any images of the resident birds, apart from the one that was taken at night with the aid of the Landrover headlights, it was a terrible image.

So on this visit I set about checking the small group of trees in the corner of the field, initially I wasn't looking for the birds but their nest hole. If the hole could be found then the birds are usually found too. This theory was put to practice as the hole that I suspected belonged to the owls did actually result in seeing the pair albeit after a lengthy wait. The hole was unusually quite high up in the tree, hence these next two images are heavy crops and the quality has diminished somewhat but always nice to see two owls cuddled together!



One of the owls flew from the relative security of the nest hole down to a lower limb to my left, it was an awkward angle for photography but I managed to grab a shot before it flew back up to its mate.


During the next few months Col and I will be burning the midnight oil when ever we can with the manufacture of more boxes, so watch this space to see how things develop.......

That's all for now folks.

Catch up soon........

11 comments:

  1. I'm very envious of those workshop facilities, Paul. Col seems to be worth his weight in gold too!

    I'm loving those images from Site No.250. What a beautiful pair of birds!

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    1. Oh my goodness, that will be a lot of gold Richard!!

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  2. Great to see the two owls together, personally I don't think there is anything wrong with the quality of the images myself. Well done on the box erecting too.

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    1. Oh they are massive crops Doug, but thanks never the less buddy.

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  3. It's good to see some people are working - nice job and well done!

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  4. Great set of images of the little owl mate, and a really nice header!!!

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  5. Yet another great blog Paul, It looks like the prefect workshop for machining and building your owl boxes.Great set of little owl images too....

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    1. Thanks Adey, looking forward to when you start your blog!

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  6. I've just installed iStripper, so I can have the hottest virtual strippers on my desktop.

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