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, 13 June 2015

Local Owls and Scotland.....

Hi all.

Of late my only real trips out have been spent doing some "general birding" plenty of good species seen but they don't seem to quite hit the spot for me like an owl does! So my appetite had been whetted to see an owl or two, I wasn't bothered what species just as long as it was an owl. 

I'd recently re-discovered the Little Owls at my site No 105, although I'd been visiting the area fairly regular of late I always seem to get distracted by the local Kingfishers. So on this more recent visit I ignored the area near the river and went and parked up near the nest tree that the Little owls used last year. I spent an hour here and in all that time I only saw the male bird. I suspect that the hen bird must still be sitting tight incubating her eggs, hence no sightings?

After initially satisfying my "owl fix" with the single Little Owl at site No 105 I then wanted to see a different species so I headed over to one of my known and active Tawny Owl sites. Here two birds were seen although it did take a while for them to show out in the open for a photo or two.

I then set of to another location with the very ambitious task of seeing my third different owl species in as many hours, a Barn Owl. There is a new pair I know of that have taken up in residence in a natural site (Ash Tree) and so far my viewing/photo opportunities have been limited.

I hung around waiting for the a Barnie to show, no luck there but I did have a very brief frame filling view of one of the Little Owls at my nearby site No 230.

In the end I came to the conclusion that these new Barn Owls weren't going to show, so reluctantly I gave up on them and moved on. It proved to be a good decision as the at the second location where I hoped to see a Barn Owl came up trumps.

I parked the car around 100 yards from an old building where I have a nest box sited. Initially there was nothing to see or hear but as soon as the sun had slumped down over the horizon the action commenced. A pair of Barn Owls showed really well at one of the old windows, they were very vocal and flighty (inside the building). I am hoping that these birds prove to be a breeding pair but that won't be confirmed for another few weeks yet when Col and I do our next round of box checking.

Quite a short post this one folks and there won't be another one for around another week because I am off to Scotland! My exact destination is North Uist which is up in the western isles, see arrow on below image. It is going to be a good drive too, 536 miles from Leicester to the ferry which should take around ten hours to drive, and that is if we don't stop!

During my trip I will be in the good company of Adey, one of my birding/photography buddies. We both visited Scotland together a couple of years ago where we visited the isle of Mull in pursuit of Short Eared Owls, sadly we didn't even see a single bird! Again this year our main species target is the Short Eared Owl, surely this time we'll see a bird or two? 

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


  1. Great images as usual buddy, have a great time on Uist and will look forward to your next blog post.Can't wait to check boxes again!!

  2. The Tawnies and Little Owl was well worth the wait Paul. Cracking images all of them. Great to see both of the Barnies too. Good luck on your Scotland trip.

  3. Hello Paul,
    I look over and over again like on your blog the great photos. here look at us and do not hear you ... an owl
    greetings Frank

  4. Superb images, Paul.

    I hope that the SEOs are performing well for you in Scotland - looking forward to seeing the reults.

    Best wishes - - - - - Richard

  5. Hi Paul, hope you have a great trip up to Uist, look forward to seeing your pics. My LO's are driving me mad, they are being really cagey and staying well hid...frustrating... searching now for new pairs

    1. Keep at it Gary, the rewards will be well worth it, good luck too on finding some more sites.....

  6. what wonderful pictures. Really beautiful..