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!!!

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

A quick catch up, Feb 11th 2015.

Hello all.

It has still been a quiet period in terms of owling so far this year, although I did manage a couple of mini excursions out last weekend where I managed my first owl images of the year! Col and I are still very busy making and erecting owl boxes, the benefits of all this hard work will hopefully rewarded with plenty of occupancy and breeding birds come the spring. The networking within the local farming community has also been high on my agenda, to be fair it never really stops. In order to firstly find suitable locations and then get permission for access and erections is a slog of a job, but it must be done.  

I'm also occupied with getting all the boxes identified with the numbered discs that I mentioned a couple of posts ago, so far 55 boxes are now sporting the new discs', only about half way then!

Of this last week I have manage to locate two new owl sites, firstly a pair of Tawnies have set up a territory in a tiny roadside copse along one of my more frequented "back lanes". They are currently quite active and very vocal, even in the daylight! This is not surprising as they surely will be getting on with breeding very soon? No images as yet but hopefully when I start to "work" this site there will be some good photo opportunities in the early spring. 

I have also managed to locate a new Little Owl site, this individual, (below) was chanced upon by complete accident. Again along one of the "back lanes" that I frequent on a regular basis is a roadside tree with a very owly hole at about 8 feet high. I always give it a glance and nothing has ever been seen, that is until one day last week! I was making my way out through the lanes and to my amazement on this particular morning there nestled in the hole was a Little Owl!  

At the time when I first spotted this new Little Owl site I was working and had no camera gear with me, but come the weekend I made an effort and returned, I was to be rewarded as yet again there it sat. It had obviously become accustomed to the passing traffic as it didn't batter an eyelid as I pulled up alongside and captured an image.

I have also had a brief encounter with a Barn Owl, it was accidentally flushed from one of my boxes whilst I was adorning it with a nice new shiny numbered disc. This particular box has never shown any evidence that it was being used by Barn Owls so it was quite a shock when it flew out. 

Luckily I'd got my camera with me so once the disc had been attached I sat in the car awaiting its return. Five minutes later it duly obliged and I managed to capture this fly past image just before it re-entered the barn.

So all in all things are still quiet but momentum is slowly being gained, with a bit of luck my posts will become a bit more frequent as the weather improves and the action increases. 

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


  1. Woodpigeon make me jump when flushed I think a Barn Owl leaving a box might've given me a heart attack lol. Love the LO image and Barn Owl image/header.

  2. Nice image of the fly by Barnie mate!!

    1. Would have been better I'm sure if I'd had a 500mm lens!

  3. I like the Little Owl and its nest hole - nice contrast with the green stuff. You should get some good shots there later in the year.

  4. Hi Paul, as usual great work, are you aware of the work of Paddy Jackson In Northamptonshire ? you have many things in common.


    John Finlayson.

    1. Hi John, thanks for the link, looks very interesting, I'll have a good look.

  5. Super image from your new LO site, Paul. It looks like the site has a lot of promise.

    I can imagine your surprise with the Barnie. I'll never forget peering through the top half of a 'stable door' and a Barn Owl flying out and brushing my cheek with its wing!

    I'm having my slowest ever start to the year since I took up owling! It's partly me and partly the weather.

    Good luck with the Tawnies! - - - - Richard

    1. Oh I forgot to mention that the spooked Barnie crapped all over my shoulder as it departed the box!! It may be slow for you at present but maybe a record breaking March is on the cards?