Friday, 25 December 2015


Firstly may I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year. Thank you all who have visited my blog and for all of you that photograph birds, may it be this year you get that perfect shot you have been seeking. 

Richard and myself decided as we had missed going out for a week or two to get out together on Thursday the 17th of December. We decided even though the forecast was not good to head out on our normal route for the Little Owls, have some lunch at one of the sites and then head back towards Cossington Meadows to have some time with the Short Eared Owls. As Richard put it, they may not be about for long so whilst we have some, make the best of them.

Richard arrived at 11.30 hrs and we got on our way with a slight amount of drizzle but the forecasters said it should dry up but stay dull. We arrived at our first Little Owl Site, Site No 2, this being a site we have not seen a bird at since the 29th of June and sat on the side of the tree was a Little Owl, shows it pays to keep visiting the sites, these little birds never fail to surprise you. We carried on round our normal route and saw another bird at Site No. 18, this again a site where we are seeing the bird more regular. We stopped at Site No 9 for lunch and then headed for Cossington Meadows. By the time we arrived it was raining heavily, so we sat in the car for a while, and when it eventually steadied we packed our cameras in waterproof bags and walked down the site to where I have been seeing the birds. Just like us, other fools were in attendance awaiting the birds coming out but it again started to rain heavy so we did a runner {well a fast walk} back to the car and headed for home.

My second visit was on Friday the 18th to Cossington Meadows and again the forecast was for the clouds to clear and we should have some sun and cloud. I left home at about 13.00 hrs arriving at 13.20 and going straight down the site. Several people were already in place but nobody had seen any owls. They eventually showed at 14.20 hrs for about 20 minutes and then disappeared, they could have gone to have a look at the lakes but we saw no more of them, as for the sun and cloud, we only had cloud and very poor light but at last I had a Shortie come a bit closer and sit on a post some 130 metres away, still a long shot but getting better.

My third visit out was on Wednesday 23rd but Richard was going out early and wanted to head for home after lunch. I got away from home at 11.30 hrs and set our normal route in sunny conditions. I only saw a single Little Owl at Site No. 18 and eventually met up with Richard at Site No. 9 where we sat and had lunch together. Richard then headed for home and I headed for Cossington Meadows with the sun still shining. I arrived  at about 14.00 hrs and walked down the site and again no one had seen any owls. I eventually got lower down the site and was greeted by one of our bird club members who was visiting the site for the first time. At about 15.10 the first bird appeared and we had them with us till we walked back to the car and we even saw the birds in the fields near the cars. In future when the birds disappear it might pay to walk around a bit more to see if I can find them instead of waiting to see if they return. 


Little Owl Site No. 2.

This is a bird we have not seen for a long time so a wonderful surprise to see it. The large hole to the side may be the nest hole but when the farmer had put us onto the site, he had seen the birds in a hole of the far side of the tree.

Little Owl Site No.18.

By this time it had started to rain a little and this bird had taken shelter in the hole. Again another site we were put onto by the farmer 


Short Eared Owl, Cossington Meadows.

Yes at last a Shortie a little closer. Checked the distance on Google Earth and this bird was just over 130 metres away, getting better, could try harder and get closer though. 

This particular bird sat on the fence post for a good ten minutes. 

With the bird sitting on the post for so long we only got about ten minutes of it flying {at a very long distance away} before it disappeared not to be seen again.


Little Owl Site No. 18.
Prior to me passing the site, Richard had also seen this particular bird in the same spot. Obviously out of any wind with the sun on it as well.


On arriving no one had seen any owls and we had to wait about an hour before they eventually showed, initially they were on the other side of the track but then they were both showing to both sides, it became a case of chase the owls.

 This bird had obviously got something spotted but did not go down, why do they always do this at such great distances, just come a hundred metres closer and it would be wonderful.

Having taken this image I changed to the other side of the track with Martin only to be told that after I left the Owl flew within about twenty metres following the fence, luck of the draw!!

 Upon changing sides the birds did the normal and were unfortunately a good distance away.

This still a long distance shot.

This bird was virtually on the far side of Swan Meadow.

My Normal Robin Visitor.

As usual the robin visited and enjoyed a Hobnob biscuit, its appears most people are taking images of this bird. Wonder if we could tempt the Shorties to come closer with some biscuits or mice??

As usual, thank you for your visit. If the weather would improve, better images would be possible but the weather is something we have to suffer but luckily something we cannot change.

Please also tolerate the fact of the Short Eared Owls again, they could be gone next week so I'm making the best of them whilst I can. Hope to get a trip into Rutland Water soon.

Monday, 14 December 2015


Richard and his wife were out for lunch with his brother and wife so I decided to have a trip out anyway. The forecast for the morning was rain, but supposedly clearing around lunch time. I managed to get away from home at about 11.45 hrs and headed for our normal route and the Little Owls. As I left home the rain had become a very light drizzle, but as I headed across country it got a lot heavier. I visited our normal Sites and only saw a single bird at Little Owl Site No 18. Even at Little Owl Site No. 9, Mr Nosy never appeared in the time I stayed eating my lunch which is really unusual for the bird. Having visited the farthest out site No. 12, I did the return journey and headed for Cossington Meadows. I took a slightly different route on the return missing out a field gate and the getting wet it would have entailed, as by this time it was raining heavily. On the new route it took me across some other fields where I saw a white pheasant, we had seen some last year but it still seems unusual. Being a white pheasant on a shooting estate cannot be good news, at least in natural colours they do blend into the background. On arriving at Cossington Meadows it was raining heavily so I set course for home and a cup of tea.

Friday was very much improved weather wise, so after lunch I headed to Cossington Meadows to hopefully see the Short Eared Owls. I arrived at about 14.00 hrs with at last some sunshine, decent light at last. I quickly walked down the site and on arriving several other people were already in attendance and telling me the birds had been out and about for about thirty minutes. So taking up position at a gate into the field, I got myself sorted and ready for the birds to appear, this they did and flew around for most of the time up to 16.00 hrs when we walked back to the cars. The light was much improved, but the birds came no closer whilst I was at the gate. I left the gate for a while to try for the birds on the other side of the track and during this time one bird returned to the original area. I looked around to see the bird fly and land on a post within 3 metres of the gate, the gents who were still at the gate were both using 600 mm and 800 mm lenses and of course managed no images as the bird was so close, you can't be in the right place all the time, if ever??. During this visit I started with an ISO of 1000, this went up to 1600 but only towards the end of the visit did I wind it up to 3200. Last week I was working at 10100 at the end, what a difference a bit of sun makes, just got to find what will bring closer than two to three hundred metres, but I'm working on it. 

On the return up to the parking area, a Bentley drove by on the main road with the sun roof open and an enormous Christmas tree sticking about 4 metres above the roof, caused amusement amongst the birders I was with.

Little Owl Route.

Little Owl Site No. 18.

First time for a few weeks this bird has been seen. Stopped at the bottom of the hill and got a quick image above the hedge only to look in the rear view mirror to see a Range Rover bearing down on me, so quickly up and away. 

White Pheasant near Little Owl Site No. 3.

As this is a shooting estate, makes you think its not the best colour to be.

11th December 2015.

Short Eared Owls.

At last an afternoon with some decent light, it didn't get the owls to come any closer but it certainly helped with the images. This bird still about 200 metres away. 

This bird appears to be trailing a piece of grass from the tail feathers. 

Same bird. 

Second bird on the other side of the track. 

Both birds, but a long distance image. 

This caption should read "its behind you", next visit when the birds swap sides of the track, I intend to walk down the track and walk across this footpath and hopefully get closer to the birds. This bird doesn't appear bothered by the gent on the footpath and is flying only a few metres behind him..

This bird had obviously got something spotted above it. A Sparrow Hawk was around some of the time so this could be the culprit.

The Usual Robin paid a Visit.

Most of the time I was on site, this little one was about, but this week I forgot the crumbled biscuit.

Promise I will bring the biscuits next time.

Thank you for your visit, I hope you have found the visit enjoyable. I most certainly had a wonderful afternoon with the Short Eared Owls. Just wish they would come closer. Please feel free to leave a comment.   


Tuesday, 8 December 2015


I decided on Tuesday afternoon to have a quick visit to Cossington Meadows to see if the Short Eared Owls were still in attendance. Arriving at about 14.50 hrs, I had a steady walk down the site and found several people with cameras, so I asked if anyone had seen the owls to be told that three had been seen a few minutes previous, so I got myself into position and awaited the action, mind the light was not good, in fact by then it was diabolical, so I wasn't that hopeful for any good images, and also you also have the added problem of the bird being a long distance away, also by this time it had become very windy. It wasn't long before two were showing and eventually I saw all three but then one made its way over the track onto the far side fields and was hunting there. The birds were flying up the field {left to right for me} and up wind on the far side of the field and then flying back down the field with the wind behind them much closer to me but at what appeared only just sub sonic speed, obviously exaggerating, but much too fast to get an image. 

I stayed in the same spot for a while and then transferred sides to try for the third bird but the by this time the light had got considerably worse so where I was shooting at ISO 3200 on the first shots, it was winding up to ISO 5400 on this side of the track. 

I decided to stay until it was virtually dark and the birds were flying around or sitting on posts all the while. I think they were up and feeding as the previous day we had a lot of rain and this was the first chance to have a good feed. By the end of the session I was shooting at ISO 10100.

Richard had decided to stay on his local patch on Thursday so I decided to go on our usual route after our Little Owls and then have another visit to Cossington Meadows for the Short Eared Owls. On my outbound trip I saw three Little Owls at Sites 8, 9 & 15 getting images of all three, not good at Site 8. Having visited the farthest away site, Site 12 I took the return trip and managed a better image at Site 8 so this is the one posted. This is one of those sites we see a bird at very occasionally, we then see it two or three times and we then have a long wait again.

I arrived at Cossington Meadows at 14.30 hrs and made my way into the site and found some others with cameras waiting for the birds to appear, again it was very windy and whether this put them off or the have moved on I'm not sure but no birds appeared even though I stayed on site until 16.00 hrs. The only image I got was of the start of a murmuration of starlings, one gent had been to the site on Sunday and said it had been spectacular with about four very large flocks all joining up. 

I will again visit Cossington Meadows and hope the gales we have had have not moved the S.E.O. on to pastures new. Hopefully I will eventually get some closer images with the birds not moving so fast.  

1st December 2015.

Short Eared Owls.

First bird I saw sat on the post about two hundred metres away, the best image I got with its head still looking away, all the rest it was totally a back view. Fly towards me was the thought, it flew away!! what do you expect.

Same bird flying up the far side of the field into the wind but still could have done with an higher ISO, this taken at 15.19 hrs at ISO 1000. 

Again could have done with an higher ISO and still a very long distance image, completely in the far left corner of the field  just starting its flight up wind.  

As you can see, I really struggled with getting any decent images, this at ISO 1600 and could have done with higher.

Not a good image at all but this taken at ISO 3200 on the far side of the track of the third Owl. 

Again getting much later and darker, this taken at ISO 10100, the Owl had certainly got me and the others spotted.

All the rest of the images are taken at ISO 10100, not at all anything like perfect but for the light and the speed these birds were travelling at with the wind behind them I am relatively pleased. 

Robin {In the Same Place as Last Week}

This little fellow turned up again, and was very appreciative of some bits of biscuit I had taken in my pocket in case it showed up.

3rd December 2015.

Little Owl Site No. 9. Mr T.

Stopped at this site for my lunch, you can observe two sites from the gateway and eat, what more can a man ask for??. On arrival no bird was visible but as previous within a matter of minutes, Mr Nosy was out having a look at who had stopped. 

Little Owl Site No. 8.

This is the second time I have observed this bird in a matter of a few weeks, we are checking the adjacent trees but this is the only tree we see it in, a pollarded ash tree.

Little Owl Site No. 15.

Again an Owl we see relatively regular, and appears to like this hole near to the ground.

3rd December 2015. 

Start of Murmuration of Starlings.

A gent I was standing with late on in the day told me he had some wonderful shots of previous and earlier murmurations with considerably more birds. This image was taken at about 16.00 hrs.  

These modern cameras working at high ISO cheat on the amount of light available, it was virtually dark when I took this image.

Thank you for your visit, please feel free to leave a comment, I will reply to them all. 

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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