Sunday, 31 January 2016


My first venture out was on Sunday the 17th January when I made my way over to our Little Owl Sites to try for some Little Owl Images in the snow that had fallen over night, promising my wife I would not venture into any area of bad snow. We had about 50 mm overnight and it was sticking on the roads so it made sense. By the time I got into the area of the Owls the snow had virtually cleared, so I headed for Rutland Water and the Egleton Centre. By the time I arrived the light was awful but having made the effort you have got to have a look round. I went into the Centre and booked in and asked what was about. The lady mentioned Black Throated Divers and Red Necked Grebes at Whitwell Creek but this meant going to the other side of the Reservoir so I went on my normal walk around the Lagoons, wrong decision!!. On arriving at Lagoon 4 to see if the Peregrine was in attendance, I saw the error in my decision, the lagoon was frozen over and virtually devoid of birds, Having visited both Sandpiper and Plover hides, I made my way to Lagoon 3, firstly to Bittern Hide and then Shoveler hide only to find this frozen over other than a small area to the front of Shoveler hide. So I made my way back towards the car park calling in at Lagoon 2 at Osprey, Grebe and Redshank hides, again frozen over and very little to see, so I should have travelled around to Whitwell on the main reservoir that appeared to be clear of ice and all the birds. So arriving at the car I headed for home calling by all the Little Owl sites but all I saw was a female Sparrow Hawk near Site No. 15 so home for a cup of tea.

My next visit out was with Richard on the following Thursday the 21st of January where we again set out on our normal route for the Little Owls and anything else we could see. Richard arrived at 11.30 hrs and we got under way, the weather looked uncertain even though the forecast was not bad. We arrived at the first site and the light was awful and it had become misty, no bird was seen, so we carried on through the sites, at Site No. 6, we saw some Redwings and Fieldfare in reasonable numbers but they don't let you get very close and are away before you can blink. Then onto Site 9 where we had our lunch but still no little Owls. after this we visited Sites Nos 10 & 11 and again no birds but eventually at Site No. 12 we saw two birds which was wonderful, they were however tucked around the back of the barn on the roof and virtually out of view, it was only due to stopping farther away from the site on a busy road that we saw these birds but neither of us managed any images but it was good to see we still had a pair of birds, so at this point we turned around and started our return trip home before it started raining and for a cup of tea.

My next trip out was to Cossington Meadows on Monday 25th January to hopefully see the Shorties, I arrived at about 14.00 hrs and found it was windy so after a quick walk down the site I met up with some of the usual crowd who had seen nothing, they had been on both the previous Saturday and Sunday and had seen birds but by 16.00 hrs the only thing I had an image of was two Herons.

The next trip was a visit to my farmer friends on Wednesday 27th January and here I manged some images of the Little Owls on the drive down to the farm. This was followed by a couple of cups of tea and some biscuits, I'm always made welcome and have an interesting afternoon.

The next visit out was with Richard on Thursday 28th January, he arrived a little early but we were on our way by 11.30 hrs and again set on our normal owling route but this time { the first for a long time } we drew a blank, not a single owl was seen, but it was reasonably breezy, this however does not always seem to stop the birds from showing. We again saw Fieldfare and Redwing near Site No. 6 and we eventually after two visits to each site plus a visit to a new site we have been put on to, made our return journey to pass Cossington Meadows and the parking area had plenty of cars, some of which were people who I new would be on site for the Shorties but as it was still windy and time was getting on we headed for home.

I then had a quick visit to Cossington Meadows on Friday afternoon the 29th of January. even though it was still a bit breezy. I arrived at about 14.45 hrs and had a quick walk down the site and met up with some of the usual gents. No birds had been seen on arrival and we all stood waiting as. The first visitor was the usual Robin, so hand in pocket and out came some Hobnob biscuit.  I just put my hand out towards the post it sat on, and within a second or two, my little pal came and stood on my hand and helped itself to a few crumbs and then picked up a larger crumb and flew back to the post. Everybody was amazed, so I was asked to do it again and sure enough it flew onto my hand again and did a repeat performance, everybody else got images but not me even though the bird did this four times before I'm sure its tummy was full. Again the Shorties did not show, but we all walked out together and saw the Warden driving into the site, he has been told they have moved to the other end of the reserve, between Mountsorrel and Quorn, which apparently they also did before Christmas, so its either hunt them down or wait for them to return, I think I will have a go out hunting them down, watch this space.

17th January 2016.

Lapwing, Lagoon 3, Shoveler Hide.

Pretty bird in the small area of clear water near to the Hide.

 Mallard Duck, Lagoon 2, Grebe Hide.

Solitary bird swimming through a clear channel between the ice.

Male Bulfinch, Near the Egleton Centre.

Bird sat High in tree feeding, light was awful but managed this one reasonable image.

Female Sparrow Hawk, Near Little Owl Site No. 15.

Whilst returning home I visited all our normal sites, no Little Owls seen anywhere but this bird was sitting on the fence not far from  the Little Owls. 

21st January 2016.

Redwing, Near Little Owl Site No. 6.

Again awful light but the field had large numbers of Redwing and Fieldfare flying about. 

Kestrel Near Little Owl Site No. 18.
Image taken by Richard on my camera as on his side of the car.

Same bird having moved along the cable and landed on the steel work on top of a post. 

Redwing near Little Owl Site No. 6.

25th January.

Pair of Heron Where We Normally See Shorties.

Only image of the afternoon.


27th January.  

Little Owl Site No. 19.

Eventually spotted the bird between the branches, difficult shot to get in focus.

Same bird but showing the box it raised young in last year. 

28th January.

Fieldfare Near Little Owl Site No. 6.

These images all taken in the area around the Little Owl Site, it was a case of drive as close as you could, then they would fly away and eventually you would either get close or they would fly back. 

A very colourful bird, but very flighty when you try to get close.

Thank you for your visit, sorry the post is late but its not been for the trying, its been a mixture of rain wind and snow and my inability to find the birds.

Please feel free to leave a comment. 

Sunday, 17 January 2016


My first visit out was on Friday the 8th of January when I had a singleton visit as Richard went out early so as to be home for mid afternoon. I left home at 11.45 hrs and set out for our normal route. We met briefly at Little Owl Site No. 5 where he told me he had seen 3 Little Owls. I visited all our normal sites and had my lunch at Site 9 but saw not a single bird, but as it was sunny but windy I made my way to Cossington Meadows and the Short Eared Owls arriving at 13.45 hrs. I had a quick walk down the site and was surprised to see floodwater in the field to the left of the track. On arrival at Swan Meadow, the gents already on site had seen nothing of the Shorties, one of the gents had been earlier in the day and seen the birds at 07.45 hrs through to 08.30 and they had not been seen since. We had this lovely sunny but cooler afternoon and no birds.

The first bird appeared at about 15.00 hrs and sat itself for a short time in a hedge about 200 metres away, a second bird when it arrived flew in over the hedge into the field, the third bird arrived at about 15.30 hrs so this bird really left it a bit late but must have had a full stomach from the mornings feeding. When I eventually left the site, it had become cloudy and the light had gone and I arrived back at the car for 16.00 hrs and got on my way home and a warm cup of tea.

My second visit out had to be on Friday the 15th of January as my wife had a visit to the doctor on the Thursday afternoon. It had to be a late start due to having a telephone and broadband check by our provider and this was booked for between 09.00 hrs and 12.00 hrs. Richard and myself kept in touch throughout the wait and in the end Richard opted to go to Caulke Park and around his local patch. The engineer eventually arrived at about 11.30 hrs, so after walking the dogs and sorting out a very quick lunch, I eventually got on my way  from home at 13.15 hrs and headed straight to Cossington Meadows, as it was somewhat late to start tracking around the Little Owl Sites. I arrived at 13.40 hrs and set off straight down the site. On arriving at Swan Meadow, no birds had been seen so I had missed nothing, and after about 30 minutes the first bird arrived and for most of the time I was on site, birds were out and about, eventually with one sitting on top of a tree up towards the entrance. For the first time we had almost continuous sun and only the odd cloudy session, it was certainly cold as the spot where I was standing was very muddy on arrival but after a short time it started to go solid with frost. I took my last image at 16.02 hrs and set away to home having had a super afternoon with the birds, to get warm as did everybody else on site.

Even though this week I have taken no images of the Robin, my little friend visited me on several occasions and had his fill of Hobnob biscuit.   

8 th January 2016.

Short Eared Owl.

First bird to appear and sat for a short time in this section of hedge, unfortunately a long distance away. 

 As you can see the sun was out but the birds would not co operate and come closer, this image was taken over approximately 150 metres. 

A little closer. 

And closer still. 

Then farther away with two of the birds interacting. 

All of these images are of the two darker birds. 

This is the area to the other side of the track to Swan Meadow. The double electric pylon is where I have previously got images of one of the owls sitting on a fence post. The fifth image on my last post of the bird landing on the fence post was in front of these pylons. This shows the flood water in the field. This is also the spot where I feed the Robin. 

Hawthorne Hedge Near Little Owl Site No. 9.

This hedge is all the same over a length of about 400 metres, so very early to be in leaf. 

Jay, Our Garden.

 Even though I have not posted any images of the Jays, they have been with us all summer but the area where they feed under my nut feeder is in the shade due to the leaves on the tree. They are at the moment raiding the nut feeder most of the day, and I am filling the feeder up twice a day.

15 th January 2016.

Short Eared Owl.

At last a sunny day and the birds a little closer, this one was about 100 metres away so a big improvement,  unfortunately this did not last.  

Still reasonably close. 

And this image over about 80 metres, best yet. 

The bird then turned and was away into the distance in the next field. 

Third bird unfortunately a long distance shot, this being the paler of the three. 

This bird is flying down the hedgerow and suddenly turned. 

Flew towards us. 

And landed on the ground, unfortunately the ground shot is not sharp. 

 And was then up and away but with nothing caught.

It then flew at a good distance from us to the other end of the field and settled in the top of a tree.

Thank you for your visit, I hope you get as much enjoyment from these images as I have had in getting them. I must admit I am really enjoying getting these images of the Shorties even though its a challenge at the distance they are away from me.

Will get some Little Owl images and hopefully a visit into Rutland Water for the next post.

Sunday, 10 January 2016


On Tuesday the 5th of January I had an hour or two to spare in the afternoon, so I made tracks for Cossington Meadows and the Shorties. I arrived just after 14.00 hrs, and as the forecast was for some sunny periods in the afternoon I was hoping for some reasonable images in the sunshine. I made my way down to Swan Meadow and met up with some people I had met before and was told the Owls had been out since 13.00 hrs, so my first images were taken at 14.18 hrs with the shorties being chased, initially by six magpies but by the time I had set up the EV on the camera, it was down to one shortie and two magpies. The bird however soon changed positions and chased off the magpies and things settled for a while. The sun however was very un co-operative and never showed its self once in fact by the time I was leaving it had started raining, so much for the forecast again??

I started shooting at an ISO of 2000 but by the time I finished I was shooting at an ISO of 6400, not the best for good images. Also needless to say the birds certainly had no desire to come very close again and the bulk of the images were taken at a distance of 150 metres plus.

Three birds were flying around and all kept visiting other areas, another gent who had been down at one of the lakes said the paler of the three birds had been putting the snipe up on the lake, whether this was for feeding on them or just for the fun is hard to say. Another couple arrived who said Shorties were also at the old American Adventure Park near Ilkeston, but whilst the birds are so close at Cossington why go farther, all we really need is some sunny weather. 

Again the Robin arrived and this time had a good feast on the remains of the Hobnob biscuit in my pocket. I took my last images at 15.55 hrs and we all then headed for home. 

I then on the Wednesday visited my farmer friends near Desford, and at last after a considerable time saw a Little Owl in the nest tree on the drive down to the farm. On arriving I took the camera in with me to show the return or should I say the seeing at last of the  bird.   

Short Eared Owl, Cossington Meadow.

Initially two birds were being harried by six magpies but by the time I had got myself sorted I just had the one bird and two magpies. 

The tables turned and the Shortie seeing off the magpies. 

After sometime one magpie returned and tried again to bother one of the bird but had no effect and soon gave up the chase. 

This bird had crossed the track and flying towards the river and lake.

Circled around and landed on one of the fence post near the electric post. 

The bird settled on this post for about fifteen minutes. 

All the above shots are of the birds on the river side of the track. 

This bird then transferred sides and was still sat on this post when I decided it was time to leave, by then it had been on the post for 25 minutes, so it must have had a full stomach.  

Same bird just looking the other way. 

Last image of the visit on the River side of the track. 

Robin also with a full stomach of Hobnob biscuit.

Little Owl Site No. 19.

First time in seeing a bird at this site for a considerable time, I think it was in August. The nest box is about 600 mm below the bird. Lets hope they stay at the site and breed again this year. 

Thank you for your visit, I have had a wonderful but at times frustrating time getting the above images, just wish we could get some decent light and the birds would come a little closer. 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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