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, 17 January 2016

"Snowy Owls".

Hi all!!

This is my first post of 2016 and not surprisingly it features Little Owls. On the morning of January 17th Leicestershire awoke to a blanket of snow, this was encouragement enough to get me out there in search of some "snowy owls". 

The conditions made it tricky driving as I negotiated the slippery country lanes, but I had no option as to see an owl at one of my "known sites" getting deep into the countryside and off the beat and track was a necessity. Initially no owls were seen which was a disappointment, however my persistence was eventually rewarded when a single Little Owl was espied perched up in one of its favoured trees. The views were really close but its not exactly the "snowy" image I was after, I suppose beggars can't be choosers? 

Little Owl - Site No 87
Later on in the morning another Little Owl was located perched up on top of an old farm building, this bird was a lot further away than the first owl I located but this did allow for a bit more snow and nearer the wintry image I was after.

Little Owl - Site No 53
This morning was also the first time I have tried out the new Nissan 4 x 4 in "trying" conditions, it performed very well indeed and I didn't get stuck! 

Sorry it's only a short post, much more to come in 2016 hopefully!

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

Monday, 4 January 2016


This is my first image of 2016, and a complete fluke! It was taken at 3:30pm today (only 20 minutes ago as I write this post). I was busy working away at home when this handsome chap landed on the fence right outside my office window. 

Initially I just watch and admired knowing that as soon as I moved he would fly off, but after staying perched for a minute or so I went for it. I gingerly moved away from the window, grabbed the camera and returned to my seat, he was still there! 

I called my son (Joe) in to my office to slowly open the blinds, remarkably as he did the Sparrowhawk still stayed put. I couldn't get the whole of him in the frame (too close) so I just rattled off a few shots of its head and shoulders. Shooting through the double glazed window has obviously effective the quality/sharpness as has the high ISO and slow shutter speed but the results are not too bad considering. The pinkish backdrop is the brick wall of my next door neighbors house.

This was the closest I have ever been to a Sparrowhawk and to get some images too (albeit through glass) was a real bonus. I hope this bit of luck is a sign of what is to come my way in 2016?

See ya all soon!!!!!