Sunday, 27 September 2015


Having visited Drakelow Reserve last week, I decided to have a quick visit to Rutland Water on Sunday the 20th  so as to get some images for the week for my bird talk at our local bird club, it was a quick but very rewarding visit. On arrival I was advised that plenty of Dragonflies were about by the lady on duty at the Egleton Centre so I went straight to the Dipping Pond and other than a couple of Darters saw nothing of any Hawkers. 

I decided to head for the area of Lagoon 3 so got on my way and on the way down saw several dragonflies and also called in at Redstart, Grebe and Osprey hides. On going through the gate near Osprey Hide I was met with a mass of Dragonflies, I'm not sure as to why so many Dragonflies were in the area but it was a sight not to be forgotten, it was just like walking through midges and extended over a very large area, from the trees near Plover Hide through to the hedge near Shoveler Hide, this being a length of some 240 metres and they extended up from the trees at the end of the walk up and over Sandpiper Hide, what an experience. The other thing were the Hobbies that were obviously making the best of this concentration of Dragonflies, the first Hobby I saw was not at first seen, I actually heard the bird as it flew by with a real whoosh, I tried to get images of the Dragonflies and Hobbies but what a task, I even went part way up the ramp to Sandpiper Hide, but I was then looking down on them and they were still very close and travelling very fast. The Dragonflies were either against the sky or the grass, what settings for the camera?? the EV was up and down, an elderly Gent and his wife came out of Sandpiper Hide and stood with me for a good ten minutes watching the display by both birds and dragonflies, he finished up saying he had been to the Dipping Pond earlier and had seen an Emperor Dragonfly so I said I would visit again later on my return. 

After this frustrating but entertaining episode I decided to visit Shoveler Hide to see what was happening, on entering the hide, the gent I had been talking with was at in the corner with his wife and said, plenty of Hawkers  and not that far away, you might get some pictures here, so after about 20 minutes in the hide and some images of Hawkers at a distance of about 20 metres, they all appeared to be feeding on small flies over the water, and some bird images I set on my way back to the centre and the Dipping Pond.

On arriving at the Pond I met another lovely gent who was taking pictures of the wild flowers and told me he had seen several Hawker Dragonflies around the pond. He went out of the area and sat on a seat about 20 metres away waiting for his friends to return and I concentrated of the Dragonflies, the results are below, but as I walked out to return to the car park, the gent asked if I had manged any images, I quickly showed him a couple and he said " my you nailed them", at least he was pleased.

I then returned home and called by a couple of Little Owl sites on my way and saw birds at Sites 6 & 5 and was home by 17.00 hrs ready to get tea.

Richard and I then had another trip to Rutland on Thursday and got on our way by 13.15 hrs and this time we visited all the Little Owl Sites on our journey but only saw an Owl at Site 15. We arrives at Egleton at approximately 15.15 hrs and having seen on the board that a Marsh Harrier was being seen on Lagoon 1 we went upstairs for a while to try our luck, the bird for us was absent so we went to Dipping Pond to see if we could find any Dragonflies, another failure, so we got on our way towards the Hides on Lagoons 2, 3 and 4.

Having visited Lagoons 2 and 4 we finished up at Shoveler Hide on Lagoon 3 but only saw a couple of Green Sandpipers and a solitary Snipe. and eventually after about half an hour slowly made our way back through the hides but nothing of interest was seen and finally a second visit to the Dipping Pond but again we got a blank so back to the car park and hope for some Little Owls on our return.

We then made our way through our Little Owl Sites and again saw a bird at Site 15 and eventually stopped for our tea at Site 9. Having been stopped for about ten minutes I saw a pair of Buzzards flying towards us, these are normally very nervous birds and even whilst you are in the car will avoid flying close or sitting for you, I slowly opened the drivers door and managed some shots as a single bird flew by us, the other bird turned around and went in the opposite direction.

We then slowly went through our normal route but saw no more Little Owls so we finished up with a poor single bird for the day, in general one of our worst days out for any species.   



Common Darter {Male} on Gate near Redstart Hide.

Several Darters sat on top of the gate taking the warmth of the sun. 

Another male on top of the gate. 

Greater Spotted Woodpecker Near Redstart Hide.

Bird flew across the field and landed in the top of a dead tree not far from me and sat  and waited for me to set up the camera and get a shot and then flew away, I do get some luck!!  

Great Crested Grebe {Juvenile} Lagoon 2, Osprey Hide.

A pair of juveniles were being fed by the adult, seem very late in the season for such small young. 

Common Darter {Male} Fence Outside Osprey Hide.

Sat again taking the wonderful sun on Sunday afternoon. 

Hoverfly Near Osprey Hide. {Not sure of the species.}

Saw this whilst watching the Hawker Dragonflies.

Snipe, Shoveler Hide.

Bird hiding on the far side of the channel, not spotted by me but by a gent in the hide who kindly pointed it out with his scope.

Gadwall Drake in Eclipse. Shoveler Hide.

This bird swam into the bay in front of the hide whilst I was trying to get some images of Dragonflies, still a very pretty duck. 

Migrant Hawker, Shoveler Hide.

These Dragonflies were flying about 20 metres out over the water, managed to get these shots but not sure how the camera managed to focus on them. Must have been at least a couple of dozen all flying together. 

Not the best of images but shown purely for my amazement at getting them. 

Migrant Hawker, Between Shoveler and Osprey Hides.

Much easier to get image than trying to get them in flight, such spectacular creatures. 

Green Bottle Fly, Lucilla Illustris. 

This fly sat about half a metre from the dragonfly and the sheen attracted me to take an image. 

Common Darter Dragonfly {Female}, on the gate near Osprey Hide.

As I left the area where all the Hawkers were, this sat on the gate keeping out the way of the Hobbies.

Southern Hawker {Female}. Dipping Pond.

This was my last port of call before heading for home and as the gent had told me, several Hawkers were flying around the area.

Just cannot resist taking images of them and really enjoy getting them in flight.

This Dragonfly was about half a metre from my leg  

Again you can see the wire mesh on the platform at the dipping pond.



Juvenile Ringed Plover, {I think} Sandpiper Hide, Lagoon 4.

Shot over a reasonable distance, if anyone thinks any different for the bird, please leave a comment. 


Buzzard Near Little Owl Site No. 9.

Having stopped at our normal spot for tea, this is a very quiet spot, I suddenly saw a pair of Buzzard flying towards us, one of which turned and flew towards another bird but this one carried on and flew over the car, I just opened the door carefully and shot away. 

They are normally very nervous birds even when you are in the car. 

Images are reasonably cropped but pleased with the outcome. 

Lovely birds but not the best of neighbours for Little Owls.



Little Owl Site No. 6. {Sunday}.

Past the site on my way home and looked for the bird in the normal place we see it, then saw it in the guttering on the far side of the barn. 

Little Owl Site No. 5. Sunday.

As I got out the car to open the gate, this bird sat in the hawthorn bush near the road, managed a quick shot and then it moved. 

Same bird but moved around the bush. 

Little Owl Site No. 15. Thursday.

Bird sitting in what appears to be its favourite spot. Had a field full of cows to the front of it so had to shoot between them.

Thank you again for your visit, this has been an entertaining blog to prepare and luckily I had the extra Sunday visit to get the numbers of images.

Sunday, 20 September 2015


We had our normal Thursday afternoon visit out and Richard arrived at our house at the normal 13.30 hrs only to realise he had left his sandwiches at home so we had to return back to his house to collect said sandwiches before we could get on our way. He suggested that being we had to return to his house we forgot our normal route and tried an exploratory visit to Drakelow reserve as it was nearer and we were running late. So it was decided and we got on our way.

The reserve is accessed down a very long access track which was part of the old EON Drakelow Power Station access road to the cooling water pumping station and just past the pump house is a small grass area car park adjacent to the River Trent. 

As we drove down the track we met up with three members of our bird club who were just leaving, must have heard we were arriving??, they put us onto the areas to visit and were then away home.

We visited the first hide and sat for a while hoping for a visit from a Kingfisher and also a Water Rail that had been seen in the reeds earlier in the day but neither were kind to us, so we got on our way and had a leisurely walk around the reserve, only getting lost once, but this apart we never went into any areas we should not be in, we think, and eventually found all the hides and vantage points.

We saw reasonable numbers of Dragonflies and also a few Damselflies, butterflies were in reasonable numbers, at one time we saw a Hobby but at a silly distance and I managed a very poor image, I had the ISO too low, EV was good this time, so colours good but not sharp enough.

After we had been around the reserve, its very small in comparison to Rutland Water, we visited a couple more sites, one to have our tea and one to look for Little Owls, at both sites we drew a blank.

Last Sunday the 13th September we had the end of season Osprey meeting where we get updated on total numbers of birds, a wonderful fish and chip supper,we then had a quiz on Ospreys and we were doing reasonably well on this and finished up in a tie break with another table for a last question, this we or shall I say "I" messed up, the questions was 'how many miles did volunteers walk going to the hide and back through the season and where on the Osprey migration route would this put the birds, A. Morocco, B. Western Sahara, C. Mauritania.' 
I worked on 2 miles per per day per volunteer therefore 16 miles per day and eventually came up with 2000 miles and Morocco so we answered A, the answer was C, Mauritania at 2540 miles, hang your head in shame John. The aggravating thing is we are very familiar with that area of Africa, Mauritania is a nice area and that is where I would want to end up out of the three choices. We then had a video compiled by Kayleigh and if you go onto the Rutland Osprey site to the right and click onto "Let Her Go" you can watch the amusing video.

On the way to the meeting we managed a quick visit past some of our Little Owl Sites, saw birds at Sites 2 and 5 but only managed an image at site 2 so next Thursday a visit to Rutland is required, one to finish my talk for our bird club 'A Year at Rutland Water, October 2014 to October 2015' and also to see our Little Owls.

Drakelow Reserve.

Cormorant Island.

This island is to the front of the first hide we visited, unfortunately not much to see from here as neither water rail or kingfisher obliged with a visit. 

This taken from the bank opposite the hide.

Cormorant with reflection drying its wings. 

Common Darter, Male.

Taken on the fence to the side of a ramp going down to the next pool. 

Hover fly Syrphus Ribesi.

Saw this fly whilst walking down to the lake on the far side from the hide. 

Common Wasp, Vespula Vulgaris.

We seem to have a lot more wasps around this year, its only when you crop an image you realise how hairy the body is.  

Comma Butterfly.

We saw a reasonable number of Comma Butterflies, this one had the best wings and was not showing the battering that time had taken.

Common Darter Dragonfly, Female.

Sat sunning itself on a bramble. 


We saw this bird when we got lost looking for a hide, we were in fact on the wrong lake but it was our first visit, the down side is that the reserve is not very big, but lots of trees so you can't see very much as to where you are going, that's our excuse and that's what were sticking to.

A second bird was flying with the one above but no reasonable images were forthcoming. 


Needed to up the ISO to 2000 to freeze the speed of the bird, sorry for the poor quality..

Common Blue Damsel Fly.

Still about in reasonable number and this one looking in prime condition. 

Common Darter Dragonfly. Female.

Migrant Hawker Dragonfly.

This sat enjoying the sun, largish piece missing on left lower wing. 


We were seeing a lot of heron, many seemed to be chasing and arguing all around the reserve. 

As Richard calls it a BUM shot!! but it shows the wings in action wonderfully.

Little Owl.

Little Owl Site No. 2.

This image taken on the way to the Osprey meeting, only image got for this weeks blog, saw another bird at Site No. 5 but it was hidden in a Hawthorn bush.

Buzzard Near Little Owl Site No. 10.

Buzzard sits in the top of the nest tree at Site No. 10 keeping an eye on a corvid flying by. 

Front view of Buzzard, these two are both very long shots.

Thank you for your visit, sorry for not posting many bird shots but if they are not at the site!!!Will have a post from Rutland Water next week so hopefully better.
Please leave a comment, I will answer them all.


Monday, 14 September 2015


We had our normal afternoon out with it being Richards turn to drive we got under way at 13.30 hrs and headed for our Little Owl route to Rutland Water. At our second site to visit we found eventually a bird in residence but well tucked away in the tree. We carried along our normal route and saw birds at Little Owl Site Nos. 2, 5, 6, 9 and 15 so a five owl afternoon

We arrives at the Egleton Centre at 15.20 hrs and visited the upstairs hide as on the board it said "Hobby Lagoon 1", so upstairs we went and spent about 20 minutes looking for the elusive Hobby but to no avail. The upstairs hide at the centre is very useful being that much higher, it give a a good view of Lagoon 1, we did however see a Great White Egret but a long distance away from us, in fact the only way it could have got much farther away was for it to go to another Lagoon.

We then however visited the Dipping Pond to see what if any Dragonflies we could see. This was really disappointing and we only saw a couple of Darters and a fleeting view of a few Hawkers so we decided to walk towards the hides on Lagoons 5 to 8. 

Passing the footpath down to Mallard Hide we decided to have a quick visit just really to see what if anything was visible, we were amazed at how low the water was to the front of the hide {Mallard Hide is on Lagoon 1} to the level we are used to in the Winter months. We again spotted the G.W.Egret and then a bird went by at great speed, we both said Kestrel and then with a quick change to Hobby, we both fired off numerous shots and then the bird was gone and off course we both had totally the wrong camera settings but that's photographing birds, some you win but most and some you lose.

We then carried out on down the track towards Wet Meadow and got a few images of Darters, Snails and Spiders, a quick visit into Snipe Hide but nothing to see so we headed back towards the car park as time was passing getting a few more images on our return arriving at the car at about 17.15hrs.

We then followed our usual route on our return but saw no extra Little Owls, spent some time at site 9 having our tea and helping the adjacent lady farmer untangle on of her sheep from a fence, this amazing lady farms a considerable sized farm with numerous sheep all by herself and is in her 80's.

So after our good deed for the day we got on our way and got home at a reasonable hour.

Having the end of season Osprey meeting on Sunday so post will be a bit late, sorry. 

Little Owl Site No. 2.

We drove past the site looking on our outbound trip and could see nothing so turning round and returning the way we came to get back onto our normal route we slowed down and eventually stopped having found the bird well tucked away in the nest tree. 

Little Owl Site No. 5.

Arriving at the site and looking down the field from the top of the hill, Richard spotted the bird sat in the hawthorn bush, only bird we saw at the site. 

Nest Tree, Little Owl Site No. 5.

Since we have been logging this site, the tree and birds have suffered two traumas, the first a branch fell and landed on the other side of the tree taking away the nest hole and two years ago the section fell leaving the scar to the right of the image, this was the second nest hole the birds had destroyed. After this section fell away the birds spent the rest of that winter in a tree on the far side of the field, but again moved back to the tree in the Spring to raise young. This is where we erected an little owl box to the bottom of this scar. This image shows a crack that is developing to both sides of the tree and it appears these birds have also either seen or heard this crack growing and appear to have moved into the tractor shed on the farm.   

Little Owl Site No. 6.

Again the bird showing its a creature of habit appearing in its usual spot.

Little Owl Site No. 9.

This bird we found in a tree about 100 metres from the nest tree, also kept its back to us. 

Little Owl Site No. 15.

Tucked into hole in the side of the tree about a metre above the ground, took no notice of us at all. Again suffering with the line wire on the fence.


White lipped Snails, plus a visiting aphid.

These seen on the track near Mallard Hide, the lower snail is very colourful.

Male Common Darter with prey.

You can see the small fly in its mouth 

Male Common Darter.

Common Blue Damselfly. 

Female Common Darter.

I think the colours and wing patterns are stunning. 

Common Garden Spider.

This seen between Snipe and Mallard Hides, not sure as to what the prey its caught is.

Speckled Wood Butterfly.

Near Mallard Hide. 

Common Blue Damsel with bent body.  

Bedeguar Gall Wasp. Diplolepsis Rosae. {Robins Pincushion}.

A Bedeguar Gall is not the product of a single larva but a group of  Gall Wasp larvae each residing in individual chambers within the gall. They will overwinter in the gall and emerge in the Spring and reproduce parthenogenetically.

Hobby, Mallard Hide.
I would say the worst image of a Hobby I have ever taken, shows how bad the others I took with this one were. 


Southern Hawker Dragonfly.

Looks as if its tucking into a nice rosy apple, but it had landed on a Hawthorn Berry. 

Southern Hawker Dragonfly. 

Large Cabbage White Caterpillar, Peiris Brassicae. { I think).

Walking along the top of the fence in or garden. 

Male Common Darter. 


Common Blue Damsefly.

Went around to the lake to try for some images of Dragonflies, it was unfortunately a lot windier  than in our garden and the dragonflies were flying far to fast so took a few images and returned home.
Managed the above image, not perfect but not easy to get.

Speckled Wood Butterfly.

They are starting to look a bit worn at this time of the year.

Thank you for your visit, hope you have enjoyed the images as much as we did in taking them, sorry the post is a bit late, blame the Ospreys!!

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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