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!!!

Friday, 4 December 2015


This morning just as I was getting into my car to head out for work I heard the very distinctive "cronk cronk cronk" call of a Raven. Not a call you hear in Leicestershire that often but to have heard one within hearing distance from my home was very rare indeed! I glanced down the road to where the calls seemed to be coming from just as a pair of Ravens spiraled down out of the sky and seemingly into the nearby sheep field. I couldn't be sure that they had landed as a huge pile of manure obscured my view? 

I needed no further incentive, my work documents and briefcase were thrown into the car and I rushed back into the house to grab my camera. The walk to the end of my road took me all of 30 seconds, there I stood at the t-junction watching over the field for a few minutes. No Ravens could be seen, however there was an unusual amount of activity from the local Magpies and a solitary Buzzard that dropped down behind the large manure pile. I walked along the road for a hundred yards or so. thus enabling a better view behind the manure pile, what I saw next was amazing!!! All on the ground tucked in behind the manure heap was three buzzards, at least 20 Magpies and 2 Ravens!!! It was too far away for an image so I quickly crossed the road and went through the kissing gate and into the field, I was then presented with a dilemma, a muddy quagmire was in between me and where I needed to get to!!!  Now normally this wouldn't present a problem but because I was in my suit and dress shoes I knew they were going to get pretty messed up, I hesitated for a few seconds and then just went for it. A few seconds later I was up against the far end of the manure pile which ran a hundred yards or so away from me. Because I was crouched down the birds couldn't see me, my black shoes were now brown and to compound matters there were muddy splashes all over my trousers dooohhhhh!!!

Gingerly I glanced around the pile which spooked the Buzzards, then the Magpies all at once took flight but the two Ravens remained. The camera was raised and a few shots of them were rattled off, one second later they too were spooked and took flight!

Considering the distance and the lack of preparation I am very pleased with the results, albeit the murky brown blob (manure pile) in the front left corner of the first image does spoil it somewhat?

It wasn't until I studied the images later that I realised the attraction to all this activity was a carcass laying in the field, I can only presume it was that of a poor sheep? 

These are absolutely my best ever images of a Raven, even if they are a bit gory. Definitely worth the dry cleaning bill!!!

Thanks for stopping by, catch up soon.........