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!!!

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Getting back into it.......

Well, where do I start......?

My blogger absence wasn't enforced, it was just a case of too much too often. I decided to have a short break and then get back into it after a short period. Then I just got use to not doing my updates and that's the way it has remained until now.

Action Plan

Prior to Christmas I was asked if my monitored Little Owl numbers were in decline? I had no idea as I'd not invested any time into them for at least 3-4 years. That was the catalyst I needed, so from Jan 1st 2021 I been making an effort to take my daily exercise around or near to my old Little Owl sites. So far my findings are not good, of the 60 or so sites I've visited so far birds have only been seen at approx. 16 locations (I will publish more accurate data at a later date). Of those occupied sites 4 of them are brand new, so my initial instinct's are telling me there is 'a problem'.

In conjunction with checking on the Little Owls I've also been monitoring my known Barn Owl sites where Col Green and I have put up boxes. This is a bit more complex of a task because the locations are nearly all on private land and I've had to make contact/visits (which is difficult at the moment) to reacquaint with the farmers and reaffirm that access is still allowed. So far, every landowner has been pleased to see me and 100% access permission secured.

Prior to me getting started I needed a new 'owling vehicle, so a black Jeep Cherokee was acquired. On top of the initial purchase price it has also cost me extra with new mud tyres and a cam belt replacement that set me back over a grand, but it was worth it, a superb bit of kit that suits my off roading requirements perfectly! 

Since my new journey started I have been making every effort to get our early and late 3 - 4 times a week, it will be more often now the lighter mornings & evening are with us. Along the way I have also encountered other species other than Little & Barn owls, in particular there were two different encounters that come to mind with Tawny owls, one near to the village of Kilworth and the other not far from Gilmorton.

   Tawny Owl - Kilworth Site


Tawny Owl - Gilmorton Site

The encounters at the two above sites were very memorable indeed, I'd have been more than satisfied with just viewing these birds, to see them in the daylight was very rare indeed and to attain these images was just mind blowing, you should have seen the smile on my face!

I have since revisited the Gilmorton site on other occasions, and I've filled my boots with many more daytime images, but they will be shared at a later date as time to go now.

Thanks for stopping by and hope to catch up again with you all soon....

Paul

29 comments:

  1. It's great to see you back in Bloggerland, Paul and with such great images of the Tawny Owls too. I'm also pleased to know that you were able to get the Jeep sorted after the cam belt incident.

    Please keep returning with more blog posts - you're starting to inspire me to get owling again myself!

    Take good care and stay safe - - - Richard

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    1. Not a bad thing to have an owling break Richard, flipping great to get back into it!

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  2. Hello Paul,
    Again as usual superb images of the Tawny, the last one I have seen was when one dropped in to visit our Barn Owls fortunately it did not stay.
    Stay safe,
    John

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  3. Hello Paul
    you're back, I'm already looking forward to a lot of information and of course the breathtaking pictures, really great ...
    Greetings Frank

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  4. Thanks Frank, it's good to be back!

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