Sunday, 29 November 2015


Having spent the weekend in and Richard having visited Cossington Meadows late last week after the Short Eared Owls. I decided as the weather was not that bad to visit myself to have a try on Monday afternoon. Normally when I go to get images of these birds it's a sure sign they have gone from the site, but on Monday virtually as I arrived, both the birds appeared, this being at 14.50 hrs. The birds however were a considerable distance away and not easy to get a focus on, the camera was favouring the trees behind them but I managed a few very long distance shots. The birds were only visible for about three minutes then appeared to go down on the ground and we all waited but nothing flew up. After about thirty minutes some people lower down the track changed sides so I had a wander down and they had caught a glimpse of an Owl on the other side amongst the reeds but it had again gone down. After about another ten to fifteen minutes a bird flew up onto a post and sat and watched the world go by for a while, this post was well tucked in between an area of reeds and very difficult  to get a clean shot through the gap. Eventually as the light was going rapidly, in fact it was getting dark, I made my way back to the car and headed home, disappointed the birds had not come closer to me but may be I can try again tomorrow??

So Tuesday afternoon I left home about 14.00 hrs and headed back to Cossington Meadows, I arrived to find many cars in the lay by, so on with the coat and boots and on my way down to the area I had seen the birds the previous day. On arriving the first gents I saw said they had not seen any birds so I decided to go farther down the site to the area where a bird had finished the day before and hopefully get a clearer view of the birds. So I carried on down the site and sure enough the site was perfect if the birds turned up. Then the heavens opened and it poured with rain, really poured. So it was a quick undo the coat and get the camera under cover, put my cap on and head back to the car. By the time I returned to the car, my legs below the coat were soaked but luckily the camera was fine. So no birds seen, and everybody else had like me done a runner and we were all getting back in the cars wet and heading for home.

On Thursday Richard was unavailable so I headed for our Little Owl Sites on my own, the idea being Little Owls and then about turn to arrive at Cossington Meadows by 14.30 hrs. I got away from home by 11.45 hrs and despite the forecast saying sun and cloud, it was raining but I still was away and by the time I got about five miles from home the roads were dry and after a while the sun did show itself a time or two. At the first two sites visited no birds were seen but then at Site No. 5, a bird was seen in the same tree as last week but farther forward within the cavity, a quick image was taken and on my way again and again no bird was seen until Site No. 9. This was the same as previous weeks, on arriving no bird is seen but after a very short time the bird appears to see who has turned up. After having my lunch keeping an eye on both Site Nos 9 & 10, I then moved on and found a bird present at Site No. 15, on the outward trip the bird was in the same cavity as last week but on my return trip in was more evident showing in the tree so I have used the second set of images. After this I visited Site No. 11 but here again no bird was seen, this site is the most unreliable of any, the birds can appear at the barn, in a tree but not very regular, but this was a site which last year raised juveniles.

I then got on my way back towards Cossington Meadows and to hopefully see the Short Eared Owls. I arrived at 14.35 hrs and after putting coat and boots on, made my way down to the area where I had seen the birds previously. I met up with a gent whom I had seen on Monday who said the birds had not shown as yet but they had been seen the previous evening. At about 15.10 hrs we suddenly saw the birds, again on the far side of the field, so trying a couple of record shots at long distance, and again after turning the ISO up as the light was not good we waited for them to approach, this unfortunately did not happen and one bird went down and the other flew over the track and vanished into the fields beyond. I then moved my position farther down the track and found another gent {Paul} I had met on Monday, he had got some reasonable images from when the bird had flown over the track, for me this was covered by a section of hedge. We stood for a time chatting and the light was going rapidly, so I then had a short walk down the track and a couple had found an owl on a fence post in the next field, so I tried for an image and it was no good at all, I eventually finished with an ISO set at 10,000 for a record shot of the other bird and to show a lady who couldn't find the bird with her bins it was getting so dark. Another gent then turned up who I had walked back to the car with on Monday who said he had been around to one of the lakes and had seen both owls and they flew within about three metres of him and panicked and put up the Snipe in the margins, not sure as whether they would take snipe or not, anybody any ideas.  

If you want to see some really good images of Short Eared Owls, go onto my pal Richards Site to the right hand side of the blog, they are brilliant.  

23rd November 2015.

Short Eared Owl.

This was the first image I managed of one of the birds, taken at a considerable distance. 

 This was the closest the bird got to me, you can see it is still close to the trees on the far side of the field.

Then turning its back on me at going away.

Looking again after Richards comment, the bird is actually flying towards me with its head down. 

Then another quick turn and then away again. 

After this the bird went down and this was this last I saw of this particular owl. 

Short Eared Owl Spotted by another Group.

This bird was spotted by some others on the far side of the track, again the light was going rapidly and shot through a track in the reeds at an ISO of 3200.  

Robin That Decided to Visit.

Prior to taking the above image, this robin came in to visit reasonably close.


26th November 2015.

Little Owl Site No. 5.

Bird in the same tree as last week but this time sitting in the open, not tucked in the cavity. 

Little Owl Site No. 9.

On arrival no sign of the bird, but within a very short time it appeared to see who had arrived. It was in and out having a look all the time I was stopped for my lunch. 

Little Owl Site No. 15.

On my outbound journey, the bird was sat in the same hole as last week, but on my return in had moved out into the tree. 


26th November 2015.

Short Eared Owl.

At a greater distance than earlier in the week and only put on the blog as a record shot. I should have wound the ISO up higher, this taken at 1000. Images taken later were at an ISO of 10,000. please lets have some decent light and the birds a bit closer, you can but ask, doesn't mean anybody is listening? 

Thank you for your visit, I hope you have found the blog of interest, I have had a wonderful time getting the images and putting it together, even the getting soaked bit. 

Sunday, 22 November 2015


At last after four visits out, I have managed to put together a post. We, due to the time of year, have started leaving home earlier so Richard was to arrive at our house at 11.30 hrs but was slightly late due to meeting with one of his farmer friends on his local patch. We were only a few minutes late and got on our way with me driving. The weather on this first trip {5th November} visit was dire, but we visited our normal route passing our Little Owl Sites and only saw a bird at Site 2. Having had our lunch at Little Owl Site No. 9, we deviated from our normal route and headed for Launde Abbey hoping for something to show, anything would have done but all to no avail. So we decided, as it was raining heavy to head for home and get some browny points in the bag for returning early with only two average images in the camera. 

The second visit out was on the 12th November, we again left home at about 11.30 hrs with Richard driving,  again went our normal route visiting all our Little Owl Sites and seeing birds at Sites 8, 9 & 18. The bird at Site 8 was the first time we have seen a bird for a considerable time, where its been who can say  but we are starting to scan the adjoining trees a lot more.  We then headed for Rutland Water and the new Volunteers Centre as I had been e-mailed by Sarah to say my Osprey shirt had arrived so we collected this and were then invited by Becky for a tour of the building. It is really super and even has a couple of bunk rooms for people doing night shifts to get a sleep after finishing, but also for the people doing the first shift and having to travel a long way can come the night before and sleep over and then be fresh for the shift. After this we entered the reserve from the Centre cutting the walk down a considerable amount, we had a little sun but very little bird life was seen, the Winter migrants have still to arrive but we thought we saw the Peregrine Falcon on Lagoon 4 but this flew off the island I had spotted it on but the Lapwings staid stationary so it was decided it was probably a crow?? some mistake by me. It started spitting with rain on our walk back to the car so we got out just in time and again had a steady run home passing the Little Owl Sites but no extra birds were seen.

The third visit was quick afternoon visit on 16th November to Swithland Reservoir {a close spot to home} to see if any Winter visitors had arrived, I saw a few ducks but at a long distance and some Goldeneye a little closer so after about an hour I again headed for home. Some other visitors have since seen some Mandarin ducks but not visible for me.

Visit four was on the 19th November when Richard and I got away at 11.30 hrs and with me driving headed for Rutland. The forecast was for sun and a little cloud but as we left our house it started raining and carried on for part of the trip. We visited all our usual Little Owl Sites seeing birds at Sites Nos. 5, 9, 15 & 18 so Little Owl numbers were better than previous weeks. We arrived at Rutland Water at about 14.00 hrs and by this time the rain had stopped and a bit of sun was becoming evident. We visited the Egleton Centre and had a quick chat with the lady on duty. She had been up to Lagoons 3 and 4 and told us that a Short Eared Owl was near Shoveler Hide on Lagoon 3 and the Peregrine was on duty at Lagoon 4. We told her we had visited last week and thought we had seen a Peregrine but when it flew the Lapwings didn't appear to bother, they don't she said so we had seen the bird the week before. We decided as it was becoming considerably brighter to have a quick walk and went straight to Lagoon 4 and could see the Peregrine, {a long distance shot} sat on one of the Island Number boards. Golden Plover were also present and many Lapwings so after a quick visit we headed for Shoveler Hide but no Short Eared Owl was evident so we headed back towards the car park and the return journey, again owling but no extra birds were seen.


Little Owl Site No. 2. 5th November 2015.

The only Little Owl we saw on the day, well tucked away and very difficult to get a decent image of with the branches to the front of the bird. 

Little Owl Site No. 9. 12th November 2015.

The bird appeared as we stopped for our lunch, this is the bird we call Mr 'T' due to the  pale bar down the breast.

Little Owl Site No. 9. 19th November 2015.

Bird was visible when we arrived even though we still had some rain about, sat in the same position whilst we had our lunch. 

Little Owl Site No. 8. 12th November 2015.

Really just a record shot due to the bird being almost surrounded by branches and very difficult to get the camera to focus. This is the first time we have seen a bird at this site for a considerable time.  

Little Owl Site No. 5. 19th November 2015.

We expected when driving up to this site to see the nest tree down after the winds we had during the week, but it is still standing. We eventually saw this bird on the far side of the field tucked out of the wind in this tree. 

Little Owl Site No. 15. 19th November 2015.

Bird sat in the hole to the side of the tree keeping out of the wind.

Grey Wagtail near Little Owl Site No. 4. 5th November 2015.

Bird spotted by Richard so got the car sideways across the road for Richard to get an image and then the other way for myself. The light was so poor this had to be taken at ISO 2000. Mind the bird would not stand sideways on, always a tail shot. 

And then after about thirty images, not perfect but better. 

Kestrel Near Little Owl Site No. 11. 12th November 2015.

As we drove up the road Richard said what was that and stopped, then a Kestrel suddenly flew up onto the fence and then again dropped down, by this time Richard had switched the engine off and then the bird suddenly appeared on this fence post. Richards shots are superb, he managed to nearly touch the bird with his lens. The above was taken through the windscreen {not lens material} and still wound back from the 500mm.  

Peregrine Falcon, Lagoon 4, Sandpiper Hide. 19th November 2015.

Bird sat on the Island number board on island 1. this is a shot over 430 metres so far from being perfect. The bird never moved whilst we were in the hide.

Golden Plovers, Lagoon 4, Sandpiper Hide.

This image gives an idea of the number of birds with a few Lapwing thrown in on the outside. 

Cropped version of the above. 

Scottish Black Faced Sheep {I think} Shoveler Hide, Lagoon 3.

When we arrived in the hide these sheep were grazing in the field to the left then suddenly walked across the area of water where we normally see waders feeding onto the islands to graze.


Goldeneye Drake, from the Dam.
A reasonable number of Goldeneye were present but mostly a long way our from the Dam, this bird was about 200 metres away. 

Again in similar area about 200 metres. 

This bird suddenly appeared a lot closer, only about 100 metres away.

Thank you for your visit, sorry it has been a while since my last post, the weather has been far from good and it has not been for the fact we have not been trying, but hopefully the Winter visitors will soon arrive at Rutland Water

Sunday, 8 November 2015


Having seen the forecast for Sunday was good after the fog had cleared, I decided to have a quick visit over to Rutland Water after the rain Richard and I had been out in on the previous Thursday. So having sorted the meals out for my wife and the dogs, I got on my way for 12.15 hrs and arrived at Rutland at 13.20 hrs and went straight to the Egleton Centre and booked in having checked the notice Board at the entrance for the whereabouts of birds. Great White Egret on Lagoon 2, Bittern Lagoon 3 and Peregrine Falcon Lagoon 4.

So I got underway and visited the Dipping pond initially to look for Dragonflies. On approaching the gate to the pond I could see several Darters on the top so managed to get some images of them taking in the wonderful sun and warming themselves. On arrival the temperature was 18 degrees so I was out in just shirt sleeves and enjoying the warmth which for the 1st of November was unusual to say the least. I saw Hawkers flying at the Dipping Pond but decided to get on my way towards Lagoon 2 and the Hides.

I called in at both Redshank and Grebe Hides but saw nothing and on arrival at Osprey Hide I met a lady who had just had a Kestrel { her favourite bird} land in front of the hide and she had managed some wonderful images. On looking out the Hide I could see a Little Egret which after a few seconds had a bath and I managed some images of this happening.

I then went onto Sandpiper Hide on Lagoon 4 where I met up with a gent who said he had been in the Hide for about 15 minutes, so I asked him if he had seen the Peregrine, "ah, that's probably what has been disturbing the Lapwing", we watched for about another 15 minutes but it made no appearance for us. He said he had been to Lagoon 3 in Shoveler Hide to look for the Bittern but was told he had missed them by about five minutes, he followed up by saying his name should be 'missed by five minutes' , I said I think we would finish up with the same name.

So onto Shoveler Hide on Lagoon 3 where on arrival was told the Bittern had not been seen since the people in the Hide had arrived {about an hour} so I settled down with them to see what, if anything transpired, which it didn't but managed a few images from the Hide. After about half an hour I went on my way to visit Crake Hide hoping to see the Kingfisher but again a fools errand and nothing was seen but again managed a few images. Then onto Lapwing Hide, this hide covers the main reservoir on one side and Lagoon 2 on the other. On arrival the gent who I had talked with in Shoveler Hide was in with an enormous scope and asked have you ever seen a Red Necked Grebe, no I replied, have a look through this he said and sure enough a bird with a red front to its neck was in the viewer, after looking he had brought up a picture on his tablet and it certainly looked as if he had found the bird. I then tried to find the bird with my bins, again looking through his scope it suddenly dawned on me as to how far away this bird was, it was in the bay to the front of the Old Hall, just under a thousand metres away, so I didn't bother to even pick the camera up.

I then looked out the other side of the Hide into Lagoon 2 and on the far side stood the Great White Egret with a Little Egret not that far away from it and even though it was a shot into the sun I had to attempt an image.

I then slowly made my way back to the Egleton car park and make my way home having had a wonderful afternoon with Dragonflies and other things. 

I apologise for so many Dragonfly images but the Blog in some respect is my diary of my visits out and in seeing so many in November to me was outstanding.

Male Common Darter Dragonfly. Gate into Dipping Pond.

Like how the wing shadow bends around the front of the gate .

Female Common Darter Dragonfly, Gate into Dipping Pond.

Again like the bend in the wing shadow. 

Female Common Darter Dragonfly, Gate near the Badger Hide.

Near perfect wings, for so late, a super specimen. 

Female Common Darter, near Osprey Hide.

Again near perfect wings. 

A very dark female common Darter on a section of fence near Shoveler Hide.  

Male on the same section of fence, appears to have eight wings with the shadows. 

Common Darter Male near Crake Hide.

Image of head and thorax.

Southern Hawker Dragonfly, fence near Shoveler Hide.

Throughout my visit I saw numerous Hawkers but this the only one I spotted having landed and staying still whilst I got my image. Wings are most certainly past the best.

Male Common Darter near Grebe Hide. 

Little Egret, Osprey Hide, Lagoon 2.

Saw the bird and decided luckily to take an image, as the following then happened.

The bird suddenly shot under water. 

And then reappeared and had a good old bath.  

End of bath time, just lucky shots. 

Then looking grumpy after the bath. 

Lapwing, Sandpiper Hide, Lagoon 4.

I arrived at the hide and spoke with a gent and asked if he'd seen the Peregrine, I didn't realise a bird was on the Lagoon he said, perhaps this is why the Lapwings keep taking off. We sat and waited for a while but no bird appeared.  

Lapwing, Lagoon 3, Shoveler Hide.

A very common but very colourful bird, these are in great numbers particularly on Lagoon 4. 

Teal, Lagoon 3, Shoveler Hide.

The numbers of Teal are increasing on the reserve, one of my favourite ducks. 

Shoveler Duck, Lagoon 3, Shoveler Hide.

This one more into Winter plumage than last weeks image. 

Heron, Main Reservoir, Crake Hide.

I had been watching a fox stalking along the top of the bank trying to get near to about fifteen Little Egrets when this bird landed next to the outflow water from Lagoons 2, 3 & 4, just had to take the shot.

Great White Egret and Little Egret, Lagoon 2, Lapwing Hide.

A little Egret is not a small bird so this image gives an idea of the size of the G.W.E. A shot I have trying to get for some time. 

Just after I took this shot, the bird flew away and I was too slow at resetting the camera and got no shots. 

Hot Air Balloon, over Rutland Water.

When I first saw the balloon I thought I must get a shot of this when it get closer, with the wind as it was it took about half an hour to get to this position and it was still a very long way away, after this the wind seemed to changed direction a little and it appeared to go back almost from whence it came, could still be above the reservoir??  

Little Owl Site No. 5.

The only bird I saw on my return trip, this bird was very difficult to see and if the leaves had been still fully on the bush I would never have seen it, mind as you can see it had most certainly seen me. 

Thank you for your visit, again I apologise for all the Dragonfly images but I do really enjoy getting them.
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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