Monday, 31 August 2015


30th August 2015.

Yes at last, the juvenile Ospreys have started their migration, yesterday morning {Saturday} S1 & S2 {both males} disappeared and have not so far returned, so I decided as the forecast for the Sunday afternoon was better than for the morning to have a visit myself today to see S3 before she departed these shores and likewise the adults.

I arrived at the Lyndon Centre at 13.20 hrs and after a quick chat with the staff {whom at that time thought we had one juvenile and two adults at Manton Bay}. So I got on my way down to Shallow Water Hide and as I left the centre it started to rain, not heavy but rain. By the time I was half way to the hide it had become heavy and the last few hundred metres were covered as quick as I could, luckily the camera was in a case and I had a waterproof coat on plus a golfing brolly so things were not that bad.

On arrival I was greeted by several people in the hide, all saying I had brought the rain!!, well it then got heavier still and I attempted to get some images of the Ospreys. I could see the male 33/11 on the leaning T post, and the female on the T post adjacent to the nest. Nowhere could I see S3, so I asked in the hide and was told that S3 had left earlier and also not returned so it appears she is also on her way South, even if she set off in an Easterly direction. I managed a few images, but the rain was getting very heavy, so after about half an hour headed for Waderscrape Hide to see if it was any drier. It wasn't and was bursting with people so I got on my way back to the centre, brolly up and camera in case.

Back at the centre I met up with Paul and after a quick chat was introduced to J.J. the Gambian gent who helps with the Osprey Project in West Africa. My wife and I have been to Gambia on numerous occasions since 1984, sometimes several times a year, so J.J. and I had a chat for a good while on people we knew, places visited etc. I then returned home at about 16.45 hrs and by then it had stopped raining but as I'm putting the blog together it has started again.

Update 31-08-2015  20.45 hrs. 

Have just been on the Osprey Web site and S 3 has returned back to Manton Bay and has been well fed by the adults all day, she will no doubt leave soon, perhaps??. 

27th August 2015.

Richard had phoned earlier in the week to say he was available for a trip out on the Thursday and so after a considerable break, we had a trip out Owling and visiting the Egleton Centre for Dragonflies. 

Richards picked me up at 13.30 hrs and we got on our way following the normal route so as to visit our normal Little Owl Sites. On our Outbound journey we saw birds at Little Owl Site No. 2. On our return we saw birds at Site Nos. 12 & 6. Only a three bird day, I'm sure Richards Canadian friends have taken some of our birds back with them after having a ten bird day, so please David and Miriam could we have our birds back.

We had a wonderful afternoon with the Dragonflies, the Darters were in places as plentiful as midges, you will see that later in the images. We still are not seeing large numbers of Hawkers and this could be a bad year for them, I'm really not sure.

We left Egleton at about 17.15 hrs and got on our way towards home and on passing Little Owl Site No. 12 an adult sat behind the wall just showing its head, a quick image was taken and then we got on our way towards Site No 9 where we stopped to have some tea and then on our way again and another bird was seen at Site No. 6.

I had visited my farmer friends on the Wednesday and saw a Little Owl at Site No. 13, did not see a bird at site 19 but Margaret hasn't seen a bird for a few days, I'm sure they won't have gone far so I will keep looking.


Manton Bay Nest from Shallow Water Hide.

This is the site that greeted me on arrival at Shallow Water Hide, the first time in a long while to have seen the nest empty. As sad as it is when the birds leave, you can look forward to next years clutch and also hopefully the return of some of this years birds in two years time.
Good luck on your migration flight S1, S2 & S3. 3000 miles plus and you will have a lot warmer winter than we will.

Female Osprey {Maya} sitting on the T post adjacent to the nest. 

Male Osprey 33/11 on leaning T post.

I would think he will be the last to leave, most likely the female will leave first and he will then hang around for a few days in case a juvenile return. 
Looked on the web site this morning and both adult bird sat on the T post with a fish each and also a fish ready on the nest in case a juvenile returns.  

Little Egret, Shallow Water Hide.

This bird sat to the front of the hide, it was pouring with rain and the bird never stopped preening itself.


Common Darter Dragonfly near Mallard Hide.

Darter dragonflies were everywhere, they were as numerous as midges in places.

Migrant Hawker Dragonfly, Dipping Pond.

The dipping pond is a favourite of Richard and myself, we saw several Hawker Dragonflies and tried to get some images of them flying not very successfully though I'm afraid. Some super shots of the water however. 

Red Admiral Butterfly, Dipping Pond.

Side view.

Head on view. 

Hover Fly, {Syrphus Ribesii}. Dipping Pond.

Have decided the next challenge is to try and get an image of one flying and freezing the wings, will require a very high ISO.

Another image of the same species but near to Mallard Hide.

White Lipped Snail, Near Mallard Hide.

I think this is a White Lipped snail, not over sure but if anyone can say different, please leave a comment.

Common Darter Dragonfly.

As I said earlier, in places we were surrounded by them, just like midges. Guess where this one landed. 

Yes on Richards head. 

Common Darter Dragonfly. {Male}.

This one having landed on a section of fence and taking in the sun. 

Common Darter Dragonfly. {Female}.

Again taking the sun on a section of fence similar to the male.

Comma Butterfly. Near Wet Meadow.

Such a stunning butterfly, took an image earlier but the wings were not that special so this one has taken its place.

Wasp having a chew at the bark.

Nobody really likes wasps but up close, even a wasp is stunning.


Little Owl Site No. 2.

This week we saw no sign of any juveniles, just this adult sitting not far from the nest hole. 

Little Owl Site No. 12.

Bird spotted by Richard peeping over the top of the wall. These are the most nervous birds we encounter, even though the site has two footpaths running very close to it.

Little Owl Site No. 6.

Again the bird was spotted by Richard, normally we see the birds on the barn, either in the guttering or under the roof. 

Little Owl Site No.13.

Had a walk round the farm with my pal Eddie and sure enough in one of the barn sat this bird but as you can see it flew off immediately, just managed the one image then away.


I went out that bit earlier for these shots, set the camera up on the tripod and switched the OS off, took a trial image and then switched the AF off. This bird {Female} appeared in the doorway at 20.40 hrs but did not move any farther out until 21.05 hrs. This image at ISO 3200 f 6.3 1/3 sec. 

The bird eventually stuck its head out the front of the box at 21.05 hrs. By then I was shooting at ISO 6400, f 6.3, 1/5 sec. 

At last right out onto the front of the box at 21.08 hrs. Still at ISO 6400, f 6.3, 1/4 sec. 

Even though it was effectively dark I am amazed at the quality of the images, this more through luck than judgement. I was not really sure the bird was out by this time or whether it had flown away but just kept taking an image every 10 to 15 seconds.

Had another visit out with the owls on Saturday evening, at about 21.00 hrs both birds came to the front of the box and had a look out and then went back in?? and I didn't take an image as I thought they were coming out so waited for them, staid out for a bit longer but to dark to see if they came out or not. 

Thank you for your visit, I hope you have enjoyed this post, it was great fun getting all of it, please feel free to leave a comment. 


Monday, 24 August 2015


I had another singleton this Thursday as Richard is building a shed for his daughter and it most certainly will not be a five minute job, the size and spec will make it a major scheme, so I think I will be on my own for a few weeks.

So I set on my way at the normal time and headed towards Rutland Water calling at our Little Owl Sites on route. I saw two juvenile birds at Little Owl Site No.2 {the first time having seen two} and then carried on my way arriving at the Egleton Centre by about 15.15 hrs, the fact that Bird Fair started on the Friday having slipped from my mind, so I finished parking about two fields farther away from the centre but that did not matter. 

Just as I walked into the centre, an Osprey flew directly over me, at a good height but still you have to try for an image. Into the centre a quick chat with the staff, who said "it was busy out there" so then on my way towards the dipping pond for hopefully some dragonflies. the place was alive with people which is not conducive towards Dragonflies landing so after a very short time I decided to cut my losses and head for the Lyndon Centre and the Ospreys, they will not be disturbed by people in the hides I hoped.

On arriving at Lyndon I again at a quick chat in the centre, this time with Kayleigh who was at the time putting together the days blog so after a quick chat I got on my way towards Shallow Water Hide and the Ospreys.

On arriving at the hide I found it to be full of birders with every imaginable camera and lens combination. One gent had a Nikon Camera with an 800 mm lens, what a beast that was, you could do with a tractor & trailer to carry it about. 

I found myself a seat and sat down and asked the gent next to me, " have they been doing much", hardly moved since we have been here was the reply, so I took a few images and watched for a while, the adult female and S 1 were sitting on the T post next to the nest, S3 was on the nest food begging, S2 sat near his Dad in the fallen poplar and then the female went for a trip around the bay. Came back and landed on the T post and was then joined by S2. Then the entertainment began for about three quarters of an hour with S1 & S2 chasing each other around Manton bay. I have been a volunteer on the project for a few years but have never seen anything like this before, hence my header, I think these birds will soon be on the way South. I have included a reasonable number of the images from the afternoons happenings, some for you to see but mostly for my enjoyment as it was a magical afternoons visit, possibly never to be repeated.

Having looked at the Rutland Blog it appears that on the Friday S1 & S3 had a similar chase about with S2 food begging on the nest. Hope they are still in attendance next Thursday, we might get all three chasing around the bay.

After this I had a slow walk to Waderscrape hide, had a quick chat with the volunteer on duty who had only seen the end of the fun and its also farther away from the birds than in Shallow Water, plus you are looking into the sun. Then onto the car park and a bit of tea, then onto our normal route looking for Little Owls which even though I spent a reasonable amount of time at each site, not a single bird was seen on my return journey.

I then had a quick visit to my farmer friends this afternoon {Sat 22/08/2015} to try for some images of the Little Owls, was unsuccessful with Site 19 but saw a bird at Site 13, also had a super cup of tea watching the combine in the field outside the farm {thank you Margaret}, also had a super chocolate biscuit.

So I am only just starting to put the blog together but should not take too long.  

Egleton Reserve.

Osprey over the Egleton Centre.

Having parked in the field and walked down to the Centre, as I was walking up the steps to enter this bird flew over the centre with a small fish, I can see the ring but cannot make out the number. 

The bird then carried on its way towards to South Arm of the reservoir, who ever it was taking the fish for will not be impressed with the size. 

Ruddy Darter, outlet to Lagoon 6.

One of the few Dragonflies having landed I saw at the reserve, saw others but all flying and making no attempt to land. 

Common Blue Damselfly, Dipping pond.

Saw several of these around the pond and the reserve.

Manton Bay Ospreys.


Female and juvenile S1 on T post adjacent to nest. Shallow Water Hide.

This is where the birds sat for the first 15 minutes of my stay. 

Juvenile S3 sat on Nest.

She staid on the nest all the time I was in Shallow Water Hide food begging.

Female Osprey going for a flight around the bay.

She flew towards us in the hide but did not come that close. 

She then turned and headed back towards the T post.

Female Landing on the T post with S1. 

Female and juvenile S1 joined by S2.

Juvenile S2 decided to leave the fallen poplar tree and 33/11 to commence some mischief with S1.

S1 leaves the T post and starts the fun.

It appears that everyone is of the opinion that S1 is a male, not a female as originally thought. Apart from that he set his course away from the post soon followed by S2 and the game was on. 

Alighting on the far leaning T post.

By the time they had reached the T post and numerous skirmishes on route, the order had change with S2 first to land followed by S1.

S1 Leaves the post.

S1 was on his way closely followed by S2 both all the time swerving and trying to loose its sibling. 

Swapped again.

S2 gets to the front chased by S1, this went on for a while with both birds bombing each other, what a display to be watching. 

S2 again to the front. 

At this stage of the event it was a straight race to who could get to the leaning T post first. 

This time it was S1 who was the victor alighting on the post. 

S1 dived vertically away from the post to avoid a bombing by his brother who was descending at speed very steeply. 

Getting towards the end of the entertainment both birds slowing up, for such large birds the speed they had been flying at was astounding. 

 At this point the two birds separated and this is S1 going on a loner around the bay.

This was not to last and S2 was soon behind him again.This finished the session with both birds landing on the T post with mum next to the nest. The episode lasting nearly 45 minutes and as you can guess, you have only a fraction of the images taken.

Common Darter between Shallow Water and Waderscrape Hides.

Saw a reasonable number of the Dragonflies all sitting on the dead flower heads of keck. 

Little Egret, Shallow Water Hide.

It is not many years ago these birds were a rarity, today where ever you look on the reservoir you can see them, hopefully with still having the Great White Egret in attendance all Summer, hopefully they will follow suit. 

Heron sat on a normally submerged tree stump, Shallow Water Hide. 

A shot that was difficult to ignore, the bird appeared to be king of the castle and on guard duty.

Lords and Ladies berries, Lyndon Centre.

Very pretty when in flower, but very poisonous berries thereafter.

Our Garden. 

Kestrel On Side of Large Barn Owl Box.
We get on a regular basis, especially when it rains a kestrel sitting on the top of one of the support posts, I am sure its always the same bird, this time it was taking some shade from the sun. 

Brown Hawker Dragonfly, Aeshua Grandis.

I have been trying to get an image of a Brown for a while and eventually saw one in our garden, rushed inside and was trying to get an image of one flying but was not doing very well at that, eventually finished with six flying close by me and still no use, {could try harder boy} . Luckily saw this one land in the hedge so made the best of it before it went on its way.

Barn Owl.

As you can see they are coming out that much later, well that's not true, its actually getting darker earlier. About 10 minutes before getting this image the male Barn Owl flew down the garden and over the boxes and the hedge into the field behind but I had no chance of an image, I had the camera on a tripod with the focus on manual as the camera was struggling to focus and also shooting again at ISO 51200.
So this week I am going out earlier and going to try  with a time exposure on bulb.

Little Owls.

Little Owl Site No. 2.

Two advanced juveniles as seen last week, last week being a lot closer to me without all the branches and leaves getting in the way but you can only do your best.  

Again same site but just a bit farther along the road and shooting back, still leaves in the way, after this I left them in peace just grateful to have seen them. 

Little Owl Site No. 13.

Walked down to the farm with my pal Eddie and sat up in the roof, not far from the Barn Owl box was this little soul.

After taking the Little Owl shots, we sat outside and watched Paul with the new Combine cutting a field of wheat, these modern machines are really enormous. Richard and myself saw one on tracks near Rutland Water, that was really big.

Another few tonnes being discharged into the trailer, you can see the grain sitting in the hopper between to two flaps above the cab.

Thanks you for your visit, I hope I didn't bore you with so many Osprey images but it was a magical afternoon to be on site to watch these truly wonderful birds, and this blog is my diary of the events more for my own records.

Please 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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