Sunday, 27 July 2014


Header: Night Heron. West Africa.

Richard and myself did our usual shift at Rutland Water, on duty with the Osprey project. We even had three visitors from Australia in the hide, over the moon in seeing the Manton Bay pair of birds. They had been to other sites over the country without seeing a single bird so at least they went away happy { to say the least, ecstatic is more the word }. We did our usual route taking in as many little owl sites as possible and even though it was so hot a few birds were seen, I'm sure Richard will agree but it was really hot, 29 degrees in places. We had a trip down to Shallow Water hide on arrival after our compulsory ice cream and arrived at Waderscrape hide extremely warm and sweaty, luckily we had a lovely breeze which made things more comfortable. We had another visit from the Little Egret and male Osprey 33/11 gave us a fly past at a better than usual distance, so with a reasonable amount of cropping I have got so better than usual images, we are as a rule shooting at a distance of 300 to 350 metres.

When arriving to go on duty we were informed that this year we have had 5 nest sites at the reservoir and 11 fledged Ospreys. If Manton Bay had not been a disaster it would have been the most nest sites ever. Mind it looks good for next year with several other birds looking as if they will pair up.

Little Owl Site No 3.
We are still only seeing one bird and feel that we have more than likely lost one of the pair.

Little Owl Site No 9.
Adult out and about siting on fence post just away from the nest site.

Little Owl Site No 9.
Juvenile sound asleep in the nest hole. He didn't realise we had been to see him.

On our return from Rutland Water and getting late, we again passed by site 9 to find a juvenile sitting on a fence post farther down the field.

Little Owl Site No 13.
Had a visit to my farmer friend to see his sows farrowing, saw some beautiful piglets, very small and surprisingly noisy. He told me he had seen a little owl in one of the large barns but as we walked round to have a look I spotted him in a smaller barn and got a quick image.

Male Osprey 33/11 on a closer than usual fly by.

You can just make out his blue ring but not the number at this size.

Little Egret with fish.

With fish and splash.

Fish just about to disappear .

Trying for another.

Thursday, 24 July 2014


These are the remainder of the images from our visits to Rutland Water. One on duty and the second for Damsel and Dragon flies. The second was very warm so we were owling on the way out, stopped at the Egleton Centre, had a superb ice cream to cool us down, then had a very steady walk around and owling again likewise on our return. We finished up at Site 9 having a very late but well earned tea!

Little Owl Site No 9.
Juveniles sitting out enjoying the sun and posing nicely for the camera.

Little Egrets at Rutland Water, we had two return on a regular basis feeding on small fish in the pool in front of Waderscrape Hide. I managed a few images of them feeding but the water dropping from the beak was in focus but the bird was blurred, shows the speed they feed at. As a rule when we have seen them previously, it has been at a distance and they always seemed unwilling to get very close, a very nervous bird. For some of these shots I have had to close down from 500mm to 300mm on the lens.

Immature Common Blue Damsel Fly, Male, Rutland Water.

Blue Tailed Damsel Fly C-type, immature female, Rutland Water.

Four Spotted Chaser Dragon Fly, Rutland Water.

Ruddy Darter Dragon Fly, Rutland Water.

Southern Hawker Dargon Fly, Rutland Water.

Southern Hawker with passenger wing walking, Rutland Water.

Common Blue Damsel Fly with Micro Moth, Rutland Water.

Wooly Aphid, {Fairy Fly} in a friends Garden
Added this one in. Its so small and flies with its abdomen vertical.
When we first saw it we thought it was some fluff  floating on the breeze.

Monday, 21 July 2014


Richard and myself had two evenings out trying to make the best of the juvenile Little Owls being out and about and to have, all be it, a long distance look at a Barn Owl site where an adult is returning with food on a regular basis, obviously feeding young. We also had two visits to Rutland Water, one on Osprey duties where the evening highlight were Little Egrets in the pool in front of Waderscrape Hide {These will be in Part 2.} and the other visit to try to get some images of Damsel and Dragon flies. These images cover the period of the 7th to the 17th July 2014.

Little Owl Site No 1.

We still have problems getting images at this site. I got this one out of the window of Richards car. He got out but at the different angle could not locate the bird until it moved.

Site No 1.
Bird sat out in full view, what a shock!!!.

Little Owl Site No 2.
"Little man you've had a busy day." This was taken in the evening and the next in the next shots he was sound asleep. Must be feeding little beaks.

Little Owl Site No 5.
The first image shows an adult coming out of  the nest hole having returned with food. The second was when a juvenile appeared out of the hole seconds after the adult departed no doubt hoping for seconds. The above was after the first juvenile left and the next juvenile came to the hole.

Site No 5.
Hows that for balance.

Adult bird at Site No 5.

Young "fluffy" at Site No.5.

Little Owl Site No 12.
Adult asleep on barn door.

Little Owl Site No 9.
Adult on fence post whilst Richard  walked down the field to try a closer shot.

Adult on post with vole.

After Richard got his close up shots the birds moved up the field, the juvenile started the move but disappeared.

Mystle Thrush juvenile near Little Owl Site No 14. We counted six juveniles all together, appearing to have a rare old time.

Tawny Owl.
After we left the previous site and set towards home we suddenly saw what appeared to be an owl suddenly appear from the right of us but reasonably high up in a tree. Richard carried on down the road and turned round in the gateway to a very large and imposing property. I'm sure all the security lights and cameras came into play so we headed back to our siting area before the police arrived , stopped and listened. It was almost dark but we could hear loud squeaking  above us and eventually made out a pair of juvenile Tawny owls up high in the tree. I managed this image but I'm really not sure as to how I got it. I used ISO 4000 and hoped for the best.

Friday, 18 July 2014


Barn Owls over the Years:

We moved to our present house in 1999 and after being here for a few months I asked for permission to erect a Barn Owl box adjacent to the property. It was erected in 2001 to a drawing I managed to get from a friend who works for the Forestry. In 2002 we had a family of Kestrels raise young in the box and I must admit it was only then I realised or should I say it began to dawn on me as to how rare Barn Owls were. The following Spring I was talking to a farmer friend on the phone as he was due to arrive the following day to remove some old hedging to the front of the property with his J.C.B. I was stood in our kitchen looking out and talking to George when a white face appeared in the entrance to the box, I said I think we've got a white cat in the owl box. George said how did a cat up into your box as he said this a Barn Owl jumped out. George covered the 2 miles from his farm to our house in next to no time as he had not seen a Barn Owl for years, and we've had Barn Owls in the boxes ever since. The early years pictures were all taken {very poorly} on film. and it was not until 2007 we updated our camera to the Nikon D80 with a 70 - 210mm lens. Unfortunately at this time we had not got the quality of equipment being used today so please be understanding as to the quality of the images, its the birds that matter. Between the three boxes we have used, a total over over thirty Barn Owls have been fledged. During the last Winter it was suggested by the Barn Owl Trust that we supplement feed the adults and so a feeding table was erected and 250 frozen chicks put in the freezer and the birds during the worst of the weather were fed every night, some times with one chick each but when it was raining heavy we put out two each. 

All images of young out of the box were taken whilst the birds were being ringed.

This will be the first of several Barn Owl Posts.

First box, the starter from which all the others have been built. They are larger today but still to the same design just scaled up.The image shows a juvenile in the entrance 2007.

Pair of adults, original box 2007. 


                                                                     Three young 2011.


                                                           Five young on original box.


                                                Two young 2010 from the large box.


                                                    Five young 2011 first clutch.


                                                               Bad hair day? first clutch 2008.

New Larger box under construction, television cameras being fitted prior to the roof being fitted. We were told it could take up to 12 months for the birds to go into the box. Once the roof was fitted they were in the next evening.

Roof being fitted in one operation, due to the size it had to have joists which kept the roof in place but when putting the cameras on it was unusual to see any birds unless they had eggs or young. When Richard had his first visit to look for the Little Owls we put the camera on but no Barn Owls visible. They would be sitting on the joists.

Box Number three, replaced the original as it was falling to bits, my pal Derek helped me with the erection of this in early Spring 2012. The birds soon moved in and had the first clutch of birds in the new box.

Two adults 2012, the young were in the smaller box.

                     Adult on front of box in the Winter of 2012.

                                 Second Clutch 2009, in original box.As you can see it is past its sell by date and starting to fall to bits.

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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