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Sunday, 23 May 2010

Patchwork, with Paul Riddle - on 22nd May, 2010

I have had a few very interesting days with Leicestershire Little Owl specialist, Paul Riddle, over in his neck off the woods. Paul had left a note in response to my posting of my Fox cub images on this blog, so I invited Paul over to see them, and also (if time) to see some of the LO sites that I've found this year.

It was intended to meet up at around 08:30, but this was not to be - that's another story!! I was awoken at 04:30 by the baby Starlings in the garden (we have six!), so set off around 06:15. I first called at a farm near Sibson to check out a LO site where I have not seen the birds for a few months (neither has the farmer). There was, however, a Kestrel on the nest tree. I had a while here before heading off to a farm near Shenton. Not much was seen, but there were some decent sized fish in the brook (each would have made a good breakfast). I do not know what they were (now been informed that they were Chub - thank you, Paul). The images have had to be very heavily processed, as the light on the water resulted in images that looked virtually white all over. I was also pleased to get a photo of a Bumblebee on Bluebells.


Red-tailed Bumblebee

I had arranged to meet Paul at Upton, because it was the nearest place to me that he knew how to get to. In the event, he got lost and I eventually found him several miles away in Congerstone. The main objective was for me to show Paul the Fox cubs which I found earlier in the week (see my posting below)
at what is rapidly becoming my 'local patch', near Packington. Having parked near one of my Little Owl sites, we set off on foot, spotting the owl almost immediately. I showed Paul the Fox location from a field away, stopped off near another of my LO sites and set up my hide in the hope of photoing the male emerging from the nest. He was probably already out (unseen by both of us), as he didn't emerge whilst I sat there for an hour and a half. The only bird I photoed was a Crow, which was totally unfazed by my hide.


Having got back to the car, I heard the LO calling briefly. I dropped off my hide and went up to the farmyard to have another look round and a chat to the farmer. On the way I snapped a Yellowhammer. I reckon that a session of about three hours locally is currently raising about 10 to 20 of these birds, but in these parts they are very skittish and difficult to photograph - unlike they are on Cannock Chase! Paul then texted me to say that he'd got some Fox cub images that he was not too happy with, but the cubs had not come out again and he was giving up. You can see Paul's Fox cub images on his blog

Yellowhammer (male)

After spending a couple of hours near Packington, we headed out to a farm near Snarestone where I have a couple of Little Owl sites. Owls were seen at both sites, making a total of 3 Owls seen at 5 sites - not too bad for this time of year, as LOs in trees are often difficult to spot amongst the leaves! I look forward to welcoming Paul back at some time in the not-too-distant future.

Little Owl (male)


  1. Hi Richard, the fish in question are Chub, and pretty big ones too. Cheers Paul.

  2. Hi
    I edit a free magazine called Nature Matters. Usually, I source all photography from my own or my brothers stock. However, on this occasion we have drawn a blank. I am trying to source a couple of good natural (Ie wild birds) shots of a Little Owl to accompany a research article by Emily Joachim.

    I cannot offer money as the magazine is 100% free but I can offer a credit and a thank you!


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  4. Hi Mike. Thank you for your interest. You are welcome to use any of my pictures. I will send you an e-mail to discuss the best way for you to choose, and for me to get them to you at high resolution and without copyright markings.

    You've probably already contacted Paul Riddle, as he is already in contact with Emily, and has done some work with her. He would be your best source of Little Owl pictures.


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