Saturday, 21 February 2015


After several phone calls and having looked at the weather forecast many times, we decided to change our afternoon out from Thursday to Wednesday, and to how the weather had been on Thursday, we most certainly picked the best day by far, we had nothing but rain all day. 

Richard arrived at our house at 11.00 hrs having already seen one Little Owl on his local patch. I put my kit and lunch in his car and we set off on our normal route but taking avoidance action for the road closure which we later found to have been removed.

We passed Little Owl Site No 2 where we had seen a bird last week but unfortunately no bird was visible this week, but we kept moving albeit slowly so as not to cause any disturbance. Next site was No 4 but still no bird so we carried on and at Little Owl Site 17, I saw a bird up towards the top of the tree in a small hole, by the time we had gone farther down the track, opened the gate and Richard had gone farther down the road to turn around, luckily he has got four wheel drive as by the time he came back into view, he had even got clods of mud on his roof! So proceeding back up the road the little owl had moved, probably into the lower nest hole so we carried on our way.

We drove onto to Site 9 where we had the first part of our lunch, we saw both adults sitting out in the nest tree but after a while they decided to go back into the hole. We then moved onto Site 12 where we had the second part of our lunch and decided to carry onto to Rutland Water and see what we could see.

We as usual went straight into the Egleton Centre and booked in, we were initially greeted by the lady whom we normally take over from whilst on Osprey duty. Then a gent walked in and said a Great White Egret has just landed in Wet Meadow in front of Snipe Hide. That was enough for us so off we went straight to Snipe Hide, {the opposite direction to our normal route.} On arrival we could see the G.W.E. on the far side of the pool so we immediately attempted to get some images. Not that easy with bright sun and a white bird, are we ever happy with the light????.

We then carried on to Fieldfare Hide, this is on the main part of the South Arm of the reservoir, we saw Goldeneye, Buzzard and the G.W.E. from this hide and got some more images before turning round and visiting Harrier, Tern, Snipe and Mallard Hides on our journey back.

We then set off on our journey home visiting Little Owl Sites. We saw a single bird at at Site 15 making us both up to a total of four Little Owls. 

We had a wonderful afternoon at Rutland Water, it was interesting to take another route than normal with the bonus of seeing some Little Owls on the way out and on our return.

Great White Egret, Wet Meadow, Snipe Hide.
We arrived at Snipe Hide and found the G.W.E. in attendance some 160 metres away, the closest we have ever managed to get so we immediately tried to get some images, are we ever happy with the light, with it being so bright the white in the bird tended to burn out and you finished with a white haze around the bird.
Image taken at ISO 2000, 1/5000 s.

It went slightly down into the ditch before coming back out and striding away. 

The bird set off at a fast pace and disappeared into an area of reeds and was joined by a Little Egret but we were unable to get a clear shot due to the reeds. It would have been nice to show the difference in size.

It then took flight and set off to our right and eventually disappeared behind some trees but managed a few flight shots.
Image taken at ISO 2000, 1/8000 s.

Image taken at ISO 2000, 1/6400 s.

Great White Egret Flying to the Front of Burley House.

This is my last shot of the bird before it vanished behind some trees, but we followed it after a few minutes.

Little Egret, Wet Meadow, Snipe Hide.

 This was the bird that landed close to the G.W.E. and took flight just after it and landed on the pool adjacent to the hide.

Pintail Duck, Wet Meadow, Snipe Hide.

This is a duck I really like, they are such a striking bird .

Canada Goose, Rutland Water South Arm, Fieldfare Hide.

A common goose but very distinctive.

We arrived at Fieldfare Hide Looking for the G.W.E. and it was tucked behind some trees and bushes on the far side of the pool, we never really got a clear view of it.  

Here taken to the water with three other. 

Goldeneye Duck, Fieldfare Hide.

A very pretty duck but a silly distance away. 

Pair of Buzzard, Fieldfare Hide.

This pair were about a few times and eventually they came a little closer so managed a quick image. 

A greatly cropped image to show the underside of the body. 

Wigeon Ducks, Wet Meadow, Snipe Hide.

These birds had arrived whilst we were away and the image taken on our return journey back to the car.

They had also taken up position out of the water prior to flying away.

Curlew, Lagoon 1, Mallard Hide.

Super bird, when we first arrived at the hide we could see two or three well away to our right, then Richard spotted birds in front of us, and they kept suddenly appearing from behind tufts of grass.

The female Curlew has a longer bill by up to a third than the male, a female bill is approximately 150 mm long and a male 100 mm long. 

Little Owl Site No. 9.

We stopped for lunch and both birds sat out taking in the sun, it is very satisfying to see the pair just relaxing, then after about 10 minutes they went back in the nest hole. 

One of the birds has this wide white stripe to its front.

Thank you for your visit, please visit again. 

Saturday, 14 February 2015


It was my turn to drive so Richard got to our house at 11.00 hrs and we set off on our normal route, it was very dull and cold but reasonably still wind wise. We arrived at our first Little Owl Site after about 50 minutes as part of our route had got a road closure in place, surely they could not have forgot in was a Thursday and we passed through this route??. However we headed for Little Owl Site No. 2, we had not seen a bird at this site since late August 2014, but as with all the other sites, we still monitor the site every visit out and at last today it proved we were correct in doing so as we saw a bird, hopefully not one just passing through but one of the original residents returning. We took some very quick record shots and left the bird in peace. Hopefully we will see it again over the next few weeks but again we will leave the bird to settle in. 

We carried on through the remainder of our Little Owl Sites having part of our lunch at Site 9 and the remainder at Site 12. Our end count of Little Owls being four. This proving they are less bothered  by the cold than the wind. Our count being made up as follows, 1 at Site 2, 1 at Site 5, 1 at Site 9 and 1 at Site 10. We then discussed as to where to go next and as the weather was not that good opted to go to Rutland Water rather than going on a new Little Owl Site search.

We arrived at Rutland Water at about 14.00 hrs and booked in at the Egleton Centre and met up with Tim Mackrill, one of the leading lights on the Osprey Project. Having had a quick chat regarding the return of these wonderful birds we set off towards Lagoon 3.

On arrival at Lagoon 3 we were stunned as to the water level and how it had risen, areas where we would only a few weeks ago seen waders was probably under about 600 mm of water, this could not have been through rain or snow so the Water Authority must have been pumping from the River Nene and River Welland.

Lagoon 3 was relatively low in bird numbers to other weeks and having both had a really good look over the far side of the lagoon from Shoveler Hide for both Smew and Bittern to no avail, we decided to have a look at Lagoon 2 from an adjacent hide. We visited Smew Hide and nothing much was evident so we set off to Plover Hide on Lagoon 4.

Again we saw relatively small amounts of birds but the end of the lagoon was still covered in ice, it was much cooler at Rutland Water than at home.

We then moved onto Sandpiper Hide on Lagoon 4 where we saw some Pintails and large numbers of Lapwings on the islands. 

We then headed towards Lagoon 2 and Osprey Hide. Here we saw some Goldeneye and having taken a few images a gent arrived in the hide and said a Smew just landed on the Lagoon and should be heading this way. We kept a look out with him for a while then he said it had landed near Lapwing Hide and looked as if it had gone to sleep?, so we set off towards Lapwing hide and sure enough all be it a long way out in the Lagoon slept the Smew. We managed some images but what with the distance and the poor light, we were not that successful in the results, I thought it would be worth going back to Smew Hide at the bird seemed to be drifting in that direction so we set off and it was marginally nearer but the light was getting considerably worse.

We then decided to head back to the Car Park and set off to see if we could see any more Little Owls, we retraced our steps and saw no more but had to carry out a diversion due to the Road Closure and to our delight on passing by Site No 2 saw a Barn Owl some 200 metres further down the road, what an end to a wonderful day.

Having checked on Google Earth by the time we had finished walking around and back and forwards to the hides, we had covered in excess of 3 miles.

Little Owl Site No.2.

As we still monitor the sites where we have not seen any birds for a while, we drove up to and past this site and to our delight we had a bird sat in the usual spot watching the world go by. A quick couple of shots were taken and we left the bird in peace. 

A little farther past the tree and a clearer shot of the bird. 

Little Owl Site No. 9.

Even though it was a dull and cold day the bird sat outside the nest hole, proves the point its not the cold but the wind that drives them for cover. 

Cormorant Lagoon 3, Shoveler Hide.

More of a test shot, the light was very poor and the shot was taken at ISO 2000. The distance was 275 metres.

Tufted Duck Lagoon 4, Plover Hide.

The grey appearance of the white flank has disappeared so bird getting ready for mating.

Shelduck Lagoon 4, Plover Hide,

Pair of Shelducks with a Wagtail on the ice. It was a lot colder at Rutland than at home and later on from Lapwing Hide we saw trees with hoar frost still on them.

Pintail Ducks, Lagoon 4, Sandpiper Hide.

A shot at a fair distance but with awful light, wish we could get an outing with some sun.

Mute Swans Lagoon 4, Sandpiper Hide.

Pen followed by a Cob, note all the Lapwings on the island behind them. 

Mute Swan Pen, Lagoon 4, Sandpiper Hide.

Mute Swan Cob, Lagoon 4, Sandpiper Hide.

Common Swan but very elegant with the wing feathers fluffed up. 

Coot, Lagoon 3, Bittern Hide.

This bird definitely believes Spring is around the corner, busy building its nest.

Goldeneye Duck, Lagoon 2, Osprey Hide.

Drake courtship display throwing back the head and kicking water in the air behind it with its feet.

Awful image but the best I had got, sorry.

Teal, Lagoon 3, Osprey Hide.

Pretty bird, you can see the ice on the water between the reeds.

Smew Drake, Lagoon 2, Lapwing Hide.

This is the bird we chased from Osprey Hide back to Lapwing hide. It was only when the gent told us it was asleep that we decided to move hides as the wind was blowing it away from us in Osprey Hide.

Smew Drake a bit more sideways on. 

Taken at an ISO of 2500.

Smew Lagoon 2, Smew Hide.

We moved hides as it appeared to be getting closer to this hide but by the time we got to take an image it had gone back to sleep.

This image taken at an ISO of 3200.

Unfortunately with the light it has been very difficult to get good quality images, if one of you could get us some sun we promise to try harder.

Thank you for your visit.

Monday, 9 February 2015


Since my last post I have ventured out three times, the first visit being on the 29th of January, a visit out on my own as Richard was busy with selecting tiles and other D.I.Y. jobs. Having got as far as Little Owl Site No. 10 my phone rang with my wife saying I think it would be advisable to head for home as its a full blown blizzard here, I was bathing in wall to wall sunshine, but very cold. I had seen two Little Owls, one at Site 9 and one at Site 10, I however turned around and headed for home. It was not long before the clouds appeared over the horizon and before I got halfway home a full blown storm commenced. Within minutes the roads were covered and driving conditions were dire, but with care and missing some of the idiots driving in the opposite direction I managed to get home without any mishaps. 

Fieldfare Near Little Owls Site No. 6.

Numerous Fieldfare and Red  Wing were in the field adjacent to road. This one had mud all over its beak.

Little Owl Site No. 10.

Sat in the tree enjoying the sun before the snow commenced. 

 Great Spotted Woodpecker, Our Garden.

Sat in the tree waiting patiently for the Jays to vacate the feeder before having its turn.


After the previous disaster of a visit, I decided to try again and ventured forth on the 2nd of February, I short cut our normal route so as to get to a new area and look for some new Little Owl sites. However the farther I got towards Rutland the wind got much stronger and no Little Owls were seen at all. I however saw several Buzzards, these are really on the increase and are bad news for Little Owls particularly when they are close by the sites.  

Buzzard Between Little Owl Sites 1 and 2.

Had set the camera up and focused on the bird when it opened its wings and flew, managed one shot and got the above image. Not the best of shots as partially obscured by the tree but does show the colour  difference between birds. Last year at Rutland Water we had a Buzzard that was very white under the wings and people were getting it confused with an Osprey.

 Fieldfare Near Little Owl Site No. 6.

Field was covered with Fieldfare and Redwings but as I drove along the field Road they moved with me so I never got that close to them.

 Buzzard at Little Owl Site No. 3.

This bird has taken up residence at the Little Owl Site. We have not seen a bird here since Boxing Day 2013 but we still look out. Until the Buzzard moves on we are not likely to get a new resident Owl. This shot was taken at an ISO of 3200, I should have gone up to at least 4000 if not higher to increase the speed as the light was failing.
Not the best of images but put on the blog to show I am learning with the new camera.


5th February 2015.

This time Richard and myself managed a trip out together, we set out a bit doubtful as to whether we would see any Owls as the sky was grey and it was sleeting which at times the further East we went turned to snow. We however carried on as we both needed an afternoon out and to our surprise saw six little owls. These were seen as follows, one at Little Owl Site No. 5, one at Site 17, one at Site 9, two at Site 10 and one at Site 12. These we were delighted with as the weather was so poor and Richard managed an extra bird on his way home on his local patch.

The birds in our garden were taken on the Wednesday when the sun was shining but on the trip with Richard it was mostly only record shots we took.

Great Spotted Woodpecker, Our Garden.

Again sat well up in the tree waiting for the Jays to depart. 

Jay Our Garden.

I had put some bread out for the birds and the Jays were onto it very quickly trying to fly away with whole rounds. This is one of the birds distinguished by the damaged feather.

Second bird without the damaged feather. 

 Not a good image but away with the bread.

Bread broke so one piece in its beak as the other falls to the floor.

These above shots were taken at an ISO of 3200 and should have been higher to freeze the motion of the bird.

Little Owl Site No. 13.

Very dark in the Barn so wound the ISO up to 6400 and managed to get the bird sat on the beam. The other bird was in another barn in the hay bales.

Little Owl Site No, 5.

Even though the weather was awful this bird had tucked itself round the back of the tree keeping itself out of the wind and sleet.

Great Spotted Woodpecker, Our Garden.

Not the best of images with the bird on a feeder but put on the blog to show the resolution the camera can achieve.

Jay with damaged feather. 

Second bird flying through tree. I nearly got this image correct but slightly out on the tail and near wing. Must remember to turn up the ISO and open up to f10.

I am still trying to get topside of the new camera so please remember that I intend to show both my mishaps as well as my lucky shots that come out well. I think at at the moment the good shots are lucky and not by correct settings but lucky settings.!!

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.
Free counters!