Thursday, 1 January 2015


May I take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year.

I had another trip to Rutland Water on my own as Richard was on Pantomine duty with his wife, daughter and grand daughter and as the forecast was not good for Thursday I decided to go out on Wednesday. 

I managed to get away from home at about 11.30 hrs and decided to go straight through to Rutland Water and have some time owling upon my return. On the way out I had to pass Little Owl Site No 12 and two birds were siting out, one on the barn door and one on the roof {which disappeared when I stopped} so I had to stop and take a quick image, its a busy road so it was a quick stop, get the camera out of the bag, forgo putting the lens hood on and just shoot. The end result is not perfect but on my return no birds were visible and the barn door was shut, so the best thing to have done.

The farther East I travelled the deeper the snow got and in places even though the roads were mostly clear, it was evident at the sides of the road where the snow ploughs had travelled through they had had some drifts up to about 18 inches. Luckily on arrival at Rutland Water they had not had so much snow.

On arrival at Rutland Water I went straight to the Egleton Centre and booked in turned round to leave and met Tim Mackrill, {one of the leading lights on the Osprey Project} entering the centre, we had our normal greetings and he said to go up to Lagoon Three as we have got a pair of Bitterns arrived, he also followed on with its only ten weeks until we should have Ospreys back?? how time rushes by.

So I set off post haste towards Lagoon Three. The light was wonderful and on arrival two other gents were already in the hide, so we said our hello's and I then asked if they had seen the Bitterns. They are over the far side of the Lagoon and were out on the ice earlier one said. Look for the tree with dead leaves on and they are in front of that. I could see five trees with dead leaves on, so he said here have a look through my scope and then I had them spotted. I could only see one bird but what a distance away.

I stopped in the hide for about two hours before working my way back to the centre and setting off owling but I visited every hide on my return but Lagoon Two was completely frozen over and part of Lagoon One likewise.

On leaving I returned past Site 12 but no birds and not until Little Owl Site No. 9 did I see a bird but the light was going so having visited all the other sites to no avail I set off home for a warm cup of tea.

On a very sad note.
One of Richards friends Paul Riddle who has a Blog "Owls About That Then" has reported on his blog that a farmer friend of his who eventually after decades without Barn Owls on his farm, had a pair return and the farmer was delighted at this and was taking great pleasure in watching them. However he had a phone call from the farmer who said he had found a dead Barn Owl by the box. Paul immediately visited the farm and found the Owl. The farmer took the body to his farm vet who found the Owl had been shot and pellets were in the Owls chest. If idiots are allowed to have guns this awful occurrence will happen elsewhere, I hope not to our Barn Owls. The idiot who shot this bird and caused it such pain should be shot himself and allowed to suffer in the same way. A positive note is that the R.S.P.B. crime unit have contacted Paul and are taking up the case. Good luck to them.

Path from the Egleton Centre towards Lagoon Three. 

Duck and Drake Goosander, Lagoon Three.

Beautiful birds diving on a regular basis with the tuft of feathers to the rear of the head visible on the female. The lagoon was frozen for about 40 metres out and then cat ice was floating about.

Pintail Duck, Lagoon Three.

Pintail in its normal position with its tail pointing downwards for balance.

You can see the cat ice just to the front of the bird. You can see the tail is pointing upwards whilst swimming.

Pochard Duck, Lagoon Three.

Another very pretty duck, this being a drake, a lot farther out into the lagoon.

Bittern Lagoon Three.

Spot the Bittern, this shows the tree the gent was talking about with the dead leaves, this shot was taken over 680 metres. I checked the distance on Google Earth.

With the help of a 500 mm lens, a heavily cropped version of the first image, though not good it show the bird. The second bird is somewhere farther in the reeds and to the right. Within a matter of minutes the gent in the hide said Bittern flying from right to left, a quick change of camera setting and as I was about to take a shot it disappeared into the reeds?. Looked at other ducks etc and the gent again said Bittern flying from right to left, I had the same result as previous sorry to say. 

Shoveler Ducks, Lagoon Three.

Saw several groups of these lovely ducks, I think the large amount of Ducks on the Lagoon was due to the cold weather and the amount of ice on the other Lagoons. I was told a lot of ducks were also at the top of the North Arm of the reservoir.

Little Owl Site No. 12.
As I said earlier this image was taken in a rush, being on my own and driving it was very difficult to stop and concentrate on the Owl due to traffic. Mind he looks at peace with the world taking in the sun.

Little Owl Site No. 9.
I stopped here on my return journey for a quick sandwich and a cup of tea and at first did not see the bird looking through the windscreen with my binoculars but after getting out it was immediately evident, so the above image taken. He has fluffed his feathers up to keep out the cold wind that was starting to appear.

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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