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!!!

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Getting Lighter.....

For the last few months getting out "owling" has very much been limited to weekends only, and then for the majority of the time it has been dedicated to box erecting. But now that spring is just around the corner and the evenings are starting to draw out it means there are opportunities to squeeze in an hour or so after work.

Just such an opportunity was yesterday evening, after work I grabbed my new lens and headed over to my Little Owl site No 9, a location that hasn't been visited since last summer. The reason that this particular site was selected is due to the fact that the nest tree is situated high up on a hill and the nest hole faces west, these variables combined mean the last slithers of light from the setting sun are cast over the nest tree. All that was required now to complement the scene was an obliging owl or two, that is if they were still there?

After a mad dash across the country lanes my first bit of luck was in, the track gate that leads up the hill to the nest tree was unlocked and open. Many a previous visit here had been scuppered at the last minute because the gate was locked, I took this as a good omen! However, I was soon in position with my mighty 500mm lens poking out of the car window. It was now 5.34pm and the nest hole (where the birds usually show first) was saturated in golden sun but there was no signs of any owls. Time was obviously of the essence as the sun was setting fast and if they were going to show it needed to be very soon otherwise it would have been too dark.

I needn't have worried, within 5 minutes I was rattling off a few shots of a single Little Owl as it peered down on me from the relative security of it's hole, below.


Running along side the nest tree is a very well used farm track that see's plenty of heavy duty traffic passing by. So when it came to my small car being parked up near by it was nothing for the owl to be concerned with, consequently the owl fluttered out from it's hole an on to a nearby branch. 


I then noticed a second owl (the female) was showing back at the nest hole, this bird seemed more hesitant to come out and called to the first owl which was still up in the tree.


The continued calling from the owl in the hole must have been a summoning request as the first owl was soon back the nest hole sitting alongside it's seemly more dominant partner. 


I had a good five minutes of action and photo opportunities before the sun set and the birds disappeared back into the tree. 

So on reflection it has been a very rewarding and productive couple of late evenings out with the new lens, it is certainly proving (in my humble opinion) to producing some nice results, hopefully it is a sign of things to come?

That's all for now, only a short post and thanks for stopping by.

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

8 comments:

  1. Great set of images Paul. It appears that you're getting to grips with the lens.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Over the moon with its performance so far......

      Delete
  2. Great images mate, seems it didn't take you long to get used to the new bit of kit!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Still learning mate, still learning!

      Delete
  3. By the way love the new header, that can stay for a while.................

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Paul
    Which lens did you eventually get, Richard said you were thinking of changing.
    As to your comment on my blog ref the Barn Owl pellets, I had spotted pellets but only after you had pointed out they were from a Barn Owl did I think yes they are a bit large for a Little Owl. If we put the box up in the barn with the little owls will this disturb the little owls or would we be best to put in in another barn.

    John

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Paul
    Which lens did you eventually get, Richard said you were thinking of changing.
    As to your comment on my blog ref the Barn Owl pellets, I had spotted pellets but only after you had pointed out they were from a Barn Owl did I think yes they are a bit large for a Little Owl. If we put the box up in the barn with the little owls will this disturb the little owls or would we be best to put in in another barn.

    John

    ReplyDelete