Friday, 26 December 2014


I hope everybody had a wonderful Christmas day and Santa brought everything they wanted.

We normally have our weekly visit out on a Thursday, but Richard phoned and said the forecast for Friday the 19th of December looked better than the 18th, so we opted for the 19th. It was at times very windy but sunny a lot of the time so we made the best of a bad thing and went searching for Little Owls.

Having left our house at 11.00 hrs it was not until 12.05 we managed to see our first owl, this being at Site No. 9 where we stopped for an early lunch, its a very peaceful spot and ideal to stop and not be disturbed, a solitary bird showed itself after only a few minutes, Little Owls are very nosy little birds and cannot resist the urge to see who has stopped. The wind was passing the front of the nest hole so the bird sat in the sun and out of the wind. 

Having finished lunch we set off on our way and saw a second bird at Site No. 15. This bird again sat in the hole out of the wind keeping an eye on us snapping away. We carried on past several sites to no avail and even tried a new area but the wind was really strong so we started on our way back home trying sites again on our return. We saw a bird at Site No. 17 sitting in a hole high up in the tree so that made us up to three birds seen but only images of two. Richard managed an extra bird on his way home, as it was still light when we got to our house.

Last year I had a visit out on Boxing Day, but the forecast for today was not good and as I sit writing up this post it is snowing heavily and we are looking as if it is going to snow overnight. However my wife suggested I go out Christmas Day afternoon so having fed the dogs and got my wife some lunch I set off for Rutland Water, a straight through run not stopping owling on the way.

On arrival at Rutland I was surprised as to how many cars were in the car park and setting off towards Lagoon Three how many people I passed all greeting me with Merry Christmas. I arrived at the hide and entered to be greeted by a couple I had met a few weeks ago who arrive early and have breakfast, lunch and tea at the site. This lady arrives with enough food to feed an army, so I asked as to what they were having on Christmas Day, we always have turkey and stuffing sandwiches she replied with a wry smile. A lovely and very knowledgeable couple who pointed out several species of duck out on the Lagoon but too far away to even consider taking an image. They also told me they had seen one Great White Egret at Fishponds on the North Arm and one from Mallard Hide on Lagoon one. After a very enjoyable about three quarters of an hour I left the couple and set off towards Lagoon two where in the last hide saw a Great White Egret fly past the hide whilst looking through the space above the window prior to opening, it appeared to fly to Lagoon one so after having a look about I set off towards Mallard Hide the Egleton Centre being closed. No G.W.E. was seen so I set off on my return journey, but the light was going. 

I saw three Little Owls on my return, two at Site No. 12 and one at Site No. 17, again sitting in the same hole as last week. A wonderful end to a super afternoon.

So I have cooked a Turkey meal today, it does'nt say anywhere it has to be on Christmas Day!!

Little Owl Site No. 9.

This bird sat out of the wind and enjoying the sun, it stayed roughly in the same position all the while we had our lunch.

Little Owl Site No. 15.

Again this site produced a bird sitting tucked well inside the hole in the tree just peeping round the corner at us, awful shot to take as the position it was in the camera tends to focus on the tree.

Little Owl Site No. 13.

Had a visit to my farmer friend and his wife and had a quick walk around the farm yard, we saw two little owls in the barn, the other bird ran down the end concrete roof beam and appeared outside. I took the above image and by the time I got outside it flew away. Will try again another day to get them both in one shot again.

Buzzard Near Little Owl Site No.3.

We think this is the same bird we saw a week ago as it sat on the same Barn Roof before flying across to this tree stump .

Lagoon Three, Rutland Water, Christmas Day.

This Mute Swan was preening itself about fifty metres from the hide, I could not resist the shot with the breeze ruffling its plumage.  

Red Shank Lagoon Three.

This bird was about ten metres to the left of the Mute Swan and closer to the bank and feeding.

Teal Lagoon Two.

These birds were in a small channel off the main lagoon and not far from the hide, all feeding away merrily and not at all bothered by me.

Wren on a Bulrush Lagoon two.

Having taken my images of the Teal this little fellow appeared and landed on a Bulrush about 20 metres in front of me and I couldn't resist the shots.

Jay Bird Our Garden.
We are still on a daily basis getting a pair of Jays on our nut feeder, when taking this image as I was leaving for Rutland Water, initially the two birds were together but the second flew up onto the feeder so I got on my way after taking this.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014


We decided even though the weather was doubtful and the wind was very gusty to try an afternoon out and if the wind eased and the sun came out to look for some new Little Owl sites. Neither of these options happened, but we still had a reasonable afternoon out, seeing several Red Kites, two Little Owls, some Redwings and Fieldfare and a very relaxed Buzzard. With the Buzzard I unfortunately left the ISO setting on my camera at 320 and should really have shot at 640 and therefore only got speeds of 1/50s. The buzzard landed near our Little Owl Site No. 3 and slowly but surely got closer, as a rule the get farther away so disappointing to have got the camera settings wrong. 

This apart we had an enjoyable afternoon out together and decided to have an early finish as the light was going.

Red Kite Between Little Owls Sites 4 and 5.

These birds were having a wonderful time using the wind to just hover and then soar away, just look at the angle of its tail feathers using it as a rudder. At one point we had three birds all flying together but too far apart to get in one shot. 

Little Owl Site No. 5.

Bird on the far side of the field away from the nest tree but well shielded from the cool wind, having a crafty sleep and enjoying a brief spell of sunshine. 

Red Kite Near Little Owl Site No. 5.

This bird again was using the wind to help it cover ground and hover then suddenly gain height, wonderful to watch. 

Little Owl Site No. 15.

Again seeing a bird at this site, very difficult to be sure it is not a bird from site 10. This tree in the Summer is a mass of leaves and impossible to see if a bird is roosting. 

Redwing Not Far From Site No. 15.

We were returning from Little Owl Site No. 12 when we spotted these birds in a field. A mixture of Redwing and Fieldfare, they were unfortunately not that close, that was not until we moved away and some birds flew up from about 10 metres from the side of Richards car, again a case of don't miss the obvious.


These winter visitors are starting to show, not in large numbers but they are about, both the above are pretty birds.

Buzzard Near Little Owl Site No. 3.

This bird started by sitting on the barn roof in roughly the area where the Little Owl used to sit. It then flew down onto the floor and sat with its wings out slightly, moved a few steps and did the same wing actions again, then flew onto the hedge, and then after a few short flights got to the point on the hedge for the image below.

Managed to get this image and then the bird flew away to the far side of the field and made its way up the hedge line and the occasional tree.

May I take this opportunity to wish you all a Very Happy Christmas and all the best for 2015. 

Monday, 8 December 2014


On Monday the 24th of November the sun was shining and it was really mild, so after lunch I gave Richard a call to see if he wanted another visit to Jubilee Wood. By the time I called he was already out looking for his Little Owls on his local patch. He however decided to come and join me and we went on the specific reason of looking for the Short Eared Owls. These were seen on both Saturday and Sunday, but were not about for us. So after a few hours and as it was getting dark we gave it best and both went our separate way home.

We again had a visit out owling on the 27th of November {our usual Thursday out} but the weather was not that good and we have decided it is time to get out and about and find some new sites, but this was not the weather for doing this. We did however see six Little Owls at our normal monitoring sites but not many images were of use due to the dull weather.The Owls seen were at Sites Nos. 4, 5, 9, 12, 15 & 10. Not bad for such a dull day but mind it was mild at 9.0 degrees.

I then on Sunday the 30th of November  having had an early lunch decided to have a quick visit to Rutland Water as the weather was sunny and mild. I arrived at about 14.00 hrs and checked in at the Egleton Centre but the Great White Egrets were still somewhere on the North Arm and I was on the South Arm of the reservoir so I set off to look out from some of the hides. I had a most enjoyable afternoon meeting up with some lovely chatty people, in particular an elderly lady and gentleman who had been at the reservoir since first thing having brought breakfast lunch and tea with them. They proceeded to eat lunch with me at Lagoon 3, and it became apparent they were extremely knowledgeable birders and put me onto some Pintail ducks and several other species as well as being a jolly good laugh. I again as normal visited some owl sites on my return but the light was fading and it had also become cloudy. I saw four Little Owls at Site Nos. 12, 7 {which we have not seen a bird at for several months} 17 and 4.

We again ventured out on last Thursday the 4th of December and again the light was not good and it started to mizzle with rain and was in general a cool and miserable afternoon but we finished up with six Little Owls at Site Nos. 5 {2 birds}, 9, 10 & 15. Not bad for an awful day. We also visited a new area and met up with the farmer who was moving sheep down the road, it was wonderful to watch him and his sheep dog get the sheep through a gate and into a new pasture. After he had finished we asked him if he ever saw any Owls, we see lots of Little Owls, in fact we have got some in the barn up at the farm. Hear Tawnies late at night and the odd Barn Owl the other side of the hill so the next sunny day we get we will be over to this area and see what we can find.

Then on the Friday evening Richard was giving an illustrated talk at our local bird club on "Little Owls of Leicestershire" which I must admit was brilliant and really went down well. So congratulation to you Richard and well done.

27th November 2014.

Little Owl Site No. 17.

We are still not sure this is a stand alone site or may be the birds from Site 10. 

Little Owl Site No. 10.

Richards turn at this site to walk across the field and get a closer shot. This shot at about 160 metres and the next shot was after Richard had got his images and was walking back towards me and the bird flew to another tree.

Little Owl Site No. 4.

We are still only seeing the one bird at this site.

Rutland Water 30th November 2014.

Lagoon 3.

Teal male, a very pretty bird with a wonderful almost vertical take off. Unfortunately a long way out in the lagoon.

Second bird with water splash about head.

Lagoon 2.
Pintail Duck male, again a reasonable distance from the hide. Was told about these birds by a couple who visited lagoon 3. 

Little Owl Site No. 17.
Drove down the farm track towards the site and could see no site of the bird. Stopped and scoured the site and adjacent trees with the bins. As the light was going fast decided to go past and turn round by reversing onto the grass as the field is getting very wet. Having turned round drove back up the hill and as passing the tree the nosy little owl was out so quickly took the above image and got on my way.

4th December 2014.

Little Owl Site No. 5.

We drove down the road to the site and looked at all the usual areas in the hedge to the other side of the field, checked the trees the birds had spent most of last Winter in, but nothing was to be seen. We drove a little farther down the site and I spotted a bird up high in the nest tree. I drove a little closer to the tree and managed to get some images before Richard who was going to get out of the car on the far side away from the bird to get his images. I then spotted a second bird slightly to the left and below the first so I got some images and Richard got his. These birds were totally relaxed and just sat and watched us.

Second bird well back in dead ivy. 

Both birds, you can see how the second bird is buried in the ivy. 

Little Owl Site No. 9.

We don't see these birds away from the hole very often especially in the Winter and the weather was starting with mizzly rain but take the chance when you can and get an image.

Jay, Our Garden.

We have had  a pair of Jays in our garden for a considerable time, visiting occasionally and picking up the bits and pieces from under the peanut feeder. My American visitors will recognise the bird feeder as an American "Squirrel Buster". I have to deter the squirrels due to having the Barn Owls and this feeder certainly works. The weight of the squirrel closes up the feeding area so away goes the squirrel. As you can see on this image the weight of the Jay has virtually closed up the feeding area.

We then drop onto the floor and hoover up all the bits and pieces. 

But by later in the day they had sorted out to land with one claw on the feeder mesh and the second below, thus stopping the spring letting the outer case drop and being able to get at all the nuts, a clever bird!

Thank you for visiting my blog, I am sorry it has been a while since I posted a blog, but with poor light and looking for new sites it has not been easy to get good images. Richard and myself will through the next few months be actively seeking out new sites but I will post as and when possible.

Hopefully will Blog again soon.

Sunday, 23 November 2014


The weather being beautiful on Tuesday, so I decided to have a quick visit out to The Queen Elizabeth Jubilee Wood in the afternoon. As it is not far from our home I gave Richard a call to see if he would like to join me. He had to wait a while for his wife to return, as he had a camera being returned after a service and was due to be delivered that afternoon.

I arrived, this being my first visit to the woods, and consulted the map and was surprised at the size of the area the woods covered. However I set off in the direction of the lake and about half way down the hill met another birder coming back. Having a quick chat with him he told me he had seen a pair of Little Grebes on the Lake. He also told me he had seen some Stonechat, Linnet and Meadow Pipit on a track and again very helpfully told me where to go.

By this time Richard had arrived but unfortunately the sun had gone in but we had a look at the lake and saw the Little Grebe, Widgeon, Teal etc. We then made tracks to the area where I had been told the Stonechat had been seen and we first saw a Meadow Pipit, this was followed by a Stonechat and we managed some images, the Stonechat, being the most difficult as it was a good distance away and we both had the same problem in getting the camera to focus on the bird, and not the fence farther away. We had thought we might see some Short Eared Owls but this was not to be, they apparently were reported as being present on the Wednesday and Thursday!!. We left just before dark having had a wonderful few hours and most certainly we will visit again looking for the Short Eared Owls.

Then on Thursday we had our usual afternoon out Owling and set off from home at 11.30 taking lunch with us.

We visited our normal route and the first bird was seen at Site No. 4. and things carried on very positively from then on and in the end I saw eight Little Owls, Richard got one extra as he sneaked one in on his local patch on the way over to our house.

We also had a quick visit to Rutland Water as the Great White Egrets, yes we have two on site, were reported as being at the Fish Ponds area, but apparently they were in residence in the morning when it was very foggy but then went elsewhere when the fog cleared.

Queen Elizabeth Jubilee Wood.
Meadow Pipit in a period when the sun came out. We took a numerous amount of images as we got closer in case the bird took flight before we got close, this image was still at a reasonable distance.

Stonechat a good distance away, very busy little bird, up and down to the ground like lightening.

Little Owl Site No. 4. Bum Hole.

We are still only seeing one bird here and are both of the opinion he has got to attract a new female for next year, so in the Spring start calling for a mate.

Little Owl Site No. 5.

First time for a while we have seen an adult in the nest tree. Sitting very comfy and taking in the sun.

After this site we saw a bird and Site No 6, but when we stopped he shot up the RSJ and disappeared behind the asbestos sheets. We however saw the bird again on our return but the light was going and the image not worth posting.

Little Owl Site No.15.

Another bird enjoying the sun and watching us intently.

On our way through we saw a bird at Site No. 9 but this was in the middle of the hedge and impossible to get an image from.

Little Owl Site No. 12.

As we arrived and driving past the site we saw a bird sitting on the open barn door so a quick safety shot was taken. We then parked the car further along the road and walked back so as to get some more controlled shots. We both took a few and then both made the cardinal sin and both took our eyes off the bird for a few seconds and it had gone into the barn.

We then walked back towards the car and Richard spotted the second bird in what we think is the nest tree. As we have both said before, these birds are the most nervous we see, but Richard as it was his turn to go and he had more suitable shoes on for the long wet grass decided to have a go at getting closer to the bird.

The second Richard was through the gate the bird moved forward on the branch and looked as if it was going to fly but decided to stay. 
As a rule with this site the second you go through the gate they are gone.
Whilst this was going on I stopped on the road camera at the ready with the ISO wound up to 1250 and the f stopped down to f10.

Eventually the bird had to go and the next images show it leaving the tree.

A bit farther away from the tree.

A bit farther away with Richard having got his images. He looks closer than he actually was. We never push any of the birds to panic and leave.

If you want to see Richards results look on his blog at

After a quick burst of shots {not all shown} the bird carried on, and by the time I moved the camera away from my eye I was not sure as to where it had gone, but more than likely into the barn to join its mate.

Little Owl Site No. 17.
We had visited this site on our outbound journey and no birds were to be seen, and on our return we again saw no bird. However you have to drive past the site and very carefully reverse onto the field as its becoming very soft so as to turn round, we could still see where Richard had almost got stuck the previous week. On driving back up the hill I spotted this little fellow staring down at us and we both managed to get images despite the light.

Rutland Water, North Arm.

We had as I said previously had a very quick visit to Rutland Water as a pair of Great White Egrets had been reported at Fish Ponds. We arrived and could see no G.W.E. but parked up as many cars were about, so something must be about of interest. We walked farther down and met up with a Gent from East Yorkshire, {an area that Richard loves} so we got chatting with him and his wife. He told us that he had been chatting with a pair of birders who we had walked past on our way in,{they had scopes similar to howitzer barrels} and they had spotted Slavonian grebes in with the flock of Coot's. The Coot's all kept flying about and splashing but when not doing so the chance of seeing a Grebe and making out what it was ??????

This image is of a very small section of the flock, but if anyone can spot a Slavonian Grebe within the area please contact the prize department to get your free copy of the image.

Thank you for your visit and feel free to leave a comment.

About Me;

Titus White:
Hi I am Richard Peglers friend Titus White, and those who follow Richards posts will understand the name and reason for it. I have been birding with Richard for 3 years and a volunteer at Rutland Water on the Osprey Project for 2 years. My early images were taken on a Nikon D80 with a 70 - 200mm lens. I updated the lens to a 70 - 300mm VR lens but still was not happy with the results. Eventually when Nikon announced the D7100 I decided to change so upgraded the camera and also invested in a Sigma 50 - 500mm lens.
I first met Richard through Arthur Costello as I was having the occasional visit from Little Owls on our land. We eventually found the Little Owls through another contact about 100 metres away. Photo's will follow on future posts.
I have recently upgraded my camera to full frame, this is a challenge I am at the moment enjoying trying to get the best out of the beast.
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