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.

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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