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!!!

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Little Owl's Return......

One of my monitored Little Owl sites (No 47) has proven over the years to be a very reliable location for viewing the owls as they go about their daily business. This is especially the case during the breeding season where I've spent many an hour watching all the antics of pre-breeding through to when the chicks fledge the nest.

So last year you can imagine my disappointment when it was discovered that the owls had been evicted from the natural tree cavity by a family of squirrels. A nest box was soon made and erected hoping that the owls would find it to their liking and use it as an alternative breeding site. Sadly after many re-visits the owls were not seen again during 2014, the local landowner (let's call him Clive) was also disappointed and he set about the task of "evicting" the Squirrels.

Last week I received an email from Clive, it was brief and straight to the point, "there're back". A quick phone call was needed to clarify exactly what this very short and slightly cryptic message meant? Since the discovery of the unwelcome squatters Clive had been true to his word and spent the next 10 months slowly picking them off one by one, I'll not go any deeper into explaining exactly what "picking them off" means but I'll leave it to you to decipher that?

Over a dozen squirrels have been cleared from the area and it now proves that it was all worth it as the Little Owls are now back!!!!  Who knows where they went and what they have been up to, but I'll not dwell on that as all that matters now is they've come home, yeeesssss.

As you can imagine I didn't need much encouragement to make a site visit as soon as it was possible to do so. I was there parked up and watching a Little Owl within 30 seconds of arriving! It was sat there on a bare branch right next to the old nest entrance, I looked around for a second bird and that too was soon spotted sitting in the vee of two vertical branches. Both locations where the birds sat where used by the previous owls so I have come to the conclusion that they ARE the returning pair.

It turned out to be a great session too, plenty of action as the birds moved about re-investigating their old territory. The male owl was very vocal too as he called out loudly from various different perches.

The light levels were excellent for photography, below are just a few of the images I captured during this long awaited session.

Capturing a Little Owl in flight image was hard enough with my 300mm lens, this has proved to be an even tougher challenge with the 500mm when one is too close.

Some of these images may give the impression that I was very close to the owls, but this is what's now achievable with the new 500mm lens in conjunction with the x 1.4 converter.

A very enjoyable visit was had, great to see these owls back, I too shall be returning to see them again very soon.......

Catch up again soon folks, thanks for stopping by.


  1. I'm glad there back for you Paul,again superb images......

  2. Stunning images Paul. I like the two together with one of them calling, and the flight shots are brilliant. Glad you're getting to grips with Bertha.

    1. Calling the lens Bertha is very apt Doug, still getting to grips with it's size though! Cheers mate.....

  3. I can fully understand your excitement at a site being re-occupied Paul. It's always thrilling when it happens.

    Your images are fabulous! I particularly like both the ones of the pair together, and the last flight image.

    Best wishes - - - - Richard

  4. You probably know better than most about when a site is re-occupied Richard, thanks for your comment buddy.