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!!!

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

New Little Owl Site

During the week I had a couple of late in the day sorties out to check on a couple of potential Barn Owl locations. Sadly neither location produced any Barnie sightings but I did stumble upon a new Little Owl territory. 

Initially I was crawling along at low speed down an off road lane that belongs to one of my farmer friends, all the car windows were wide open which enables better listening for any nearby owls that maybe calling. I have found that this time of year (pre-breeding season) it is really good for locating new owl territories as they can become very vocal at dusk, and this is what happened on this occasion. Unlike of late this particular evening the wind had dropped and it was quite still, therefore any calls tended to reverberate around the nearby vicinity. 

When the call(s) were first heard there was absolutely no doubt it was that of a Little owls. I inched nearer to where the calls were coming from and to my delight there right in front of me were a pair of Little Owls perched on an old fence. The hen bird didn't tolerate my close proximity but luckily the male stayed around long enough for me to capture this one usable image, below. 

The conditions for photography were abysmal, it was 6:50pm and in almost complete darkness but the obliging owl remained still enough for me to manually focus on him (with the aid of a full moon) and with the settings at ISO 3200 I did manage to achieve a shutter speed of 1/20 second! Obviously the image was then in need of some post processing but considering the challenging conditions I am very pleased with the final outcome.

I will be returning back to this same location as soon as possible to hopefully get some better viewing and attain a few improved images.

Only a short post but rest assured I will be back again soon.

Bye for now................

PS I forgot to mention that I now have a twitter account, for anyone interested it is @PMRiddle


  1. Hi Paul. You did well to capture your image at all at the time you were taking it. Did you tell the bird to STAY.

  2. You can't grumble at the image considering how low the light levels must've been at least the days are starting to get longer again

    1. Yes I was very pleased with the results considering Doug, all in the lens!

  3. That image is an amazing result, considering the conditions, Paul. I look forward to hearing how you get on with this new site.

    Am now following your Twitter a/c. Thanks for the heads-up.

    Best wishes - - - Richard

    1. Not often that I get a "usable" image in those conditions Richard so I was best pleased. Thanks for following me on twitter, although you must be doing so anonymously as you are not showing up on my feed????