Sunday, 27 March 2016


I had two trips to Cossington Meadows on Monday and Tuesday and even though the light was awful, had a reasonably successful visit. The images below are from the Monday visit when I finished up on the site mostly on my own and even though the birds were sitting on posts, one eventually flew around and came that bit closer and sat on a post in the normal spot. This bird eventually had a bit of a fly around and then flew a lot farther down the field and landed on a post. Almost immediately one of the darker birds flew in from the left and flew up the field and appeared to fly over the track to the field on the other side. Checking up the track no bird crossed, and so I slowly walked up the track and eventually after what seemed an eternity I { being very conscious not to disturb the bird }  managed to get within 20 metres of the bird, most of the images are at a greater distance, the flying images are over 100 metres away so I'm not unhappy with the results, just the light I had to deal with. 

I am holding my second visit in reserve in case I am short of images for a post needless to say I was unfortunately not on my own, in fact people were everywhere up the track trying to get the last images before the birds decide to go North.

Then on the Wednesday I had a visit to my farmer friends who are seeing both Little Owls on a regular basis, sometimes on the branches sat side by side and occasionally one will be sitting in a hole in the trunk, so really at the moment we are not sure as to whether they use the nest box or one of the holes in the tree, but time will tell. I saw one bird on my way home but by then the light was not good. 

The next outing was for Osprey Duty at Rutland Water, Richard was away mid morning so as allow him to visit the Little Owl sites and arrive well in time to get to the hide for 13.00 hrs. I am unable to leave much before 12.00 hrs but when underway I drive straight through to the reservoir and arrived at the car park just after 13.00 hrs. I booked in with Kayleigh, returned to the car and put my coat on, picked up my camera kit but in its bag as for most of the trip over it had been raining, so with brolly in hand, back into the centre and a quick chat with Paul and away down the track to Waderscrape Hide to see our female Osprey and hopefully for the Male to return whilst we are on duty, this happened to us three years ago as the male 5R returned whilst we were on watch. Unfortunately this didn't happen but we still had an eventful and very enjoyable shift.

When I arrived at the hide I was greeted by Richard and told he hadn't seen an Osprey. The female didn't arrive back at the nest until 15.37 hrs and only returned as she was chasing another Osprey, 5N/04  another female from site N, some images are below. This did not last long and the female for a short time settled on the nest and the camera post and then went away for a short time and returned with a nice rainbow trout, this she devoured on the camera post and the adjacent T post. When the next volunteers came on duty I then headed back to the centre and met up with John Wright the Field Officer who said that the intruder bird was 5N/04 due to the green ring and the wing pattern. 

On my return trip to home, I diverted around our Little Owl sites but only saw one bird sat in the nest hole at Site No. 5, mind by this time it was raining again and also getting dark, will try again next week after we have changed the clocks.

21st March 2016.

Short Eared Owl.

I was looking at the images with John Wright at Rutland Water after our Osprey duty and he is of the opinion that the pale bird is a Male and the two darker birds are females. This is where the bird sat when I first arrived. It then flew a further fourty metres down the fence and sat without moving for nearly an hour and virtually out of site. 

Just a little shuffle around on top of the post 

Always something to look up at.

This is after the bird had sat farther down the fence and eventually decided to fly back up the site and closer to me. Why after a break in taking images are you never ready for when the bird moves?  

This is after my stalking of the bird up the track. 

When you get a lot closer to the bird you appreciate what a beautiful creature it is. 

You can only see one talon but I don't think I will be trying to encourage it to land in my hand to feed as I did with the Robin. 

24th March 2016.

Mallard Drake, Waderscrape Hide.

Very common bird but also very pretty.

These three had a quick meeting to the front of the hide. This is in the pool that the channels feed away from. We had Mallards landing in the channels for most of the afternoon, kept us amused. 

Greylag Goose, Waderscrape Hide.

This bird swam down the channel and up to the Hide and got out onto the bank.  

 Newly refurbished nest  all ready for the season. The cameras are on the post on the left. The distance from Waderscrape Hide to the nest is 320 metres.

Sand Martin, Waderscrape Hide
We saw lots of these flying about the bay, very long distance image. 

First Ladybird of the year, this just outside the door into the hide.  

5N with Manton Bay female giving chase. 

5N making good her escape but she after this flew a little closer to us. 

Resident female returns to nest to reclaim it. 

5N  flying high above Manton Bay, John Wright recognised the wing pattern and also the fact she has a green ring, this you cannot see at this size. 

 After this she left the bay and we did not see her again.

The resident female then was away for a while and returned with a very nice Rainbow Trout for her tea.

Thank you for your visit, I hope you have enjoyed your visit as much as I have in putting this all together, please feel free to leave a comment.

Sunday, 20 March 2016


I had a visit to Cossington Meadows on Monday the 14th of March for hopefully another session with the Short Eared owls but they did not appear as usual in Swan Meadow and we did not see the birds till we were leaving and were then flying around the field next to the road where we park the cars. 

My next visit out was to my farmer friends and here I saw one Little Owl at Site No. 19 on my homeward journey. I then had to visit Rutland Water on the Wednesday evening for the pre-season Osprey meeting so all the volunteers are up to speed . We were told all the new requirements for this season and where on the migration satellite tracked birds were, 30/2005 was in Western Sahara on the Tuesday evening so I would think she should be in Northern Morocco or Southern Spain by the time this blog is published. An update has just come through and the first Osprey 25/2010 has returned to Rutland Water today [18.03.2016] so we are underway. On my trip out I saw two Little Owls at Site No. 12 and also one Barn Owl just along the road from the site and on my return I saw a Barn Owls near site No. 9, so two Little Owls and two Barn Owls, not bad for just driving through.

My next visit out was on the usual Thursday trip and as Richard was unavailable, I opted to have a visit to Rutland Water having been told the previous evening that the Lagoon Four Peregrine Falcon had taken up residence on the rebuilt Osprey Nest. I left home at the usual time and headed for the normal route calling in at all the Little Owl Sites. On the outward journey I saw a bird at Little Owl Site No. 1, next onto Site 2 and the farmer was working on the fence next to the nest tree so I carried on my way. I saw a bird at Site 5 and then through to Site No. 9 for lunch. After lunch I passed Sites 10 & 12 but no birds were visible so I headed to the Egleton Centre at Rutland Water arriving at 13.30 hrs. After booking in I made my way to Lagoon 4 and Dunlin Hide, this being the closest to the Osprey Nest. On arriving I peeked through the gap above the timber shutter and sure enough sat on the nest was the Peregrine, {this is a bird that fledged from Derby Cathedral site last year} As I watched and got ready to open the shutter the bird flew away putting up gulls and lapwings all over the lagoon, so after waiting for three quarters of  an hour and no Peregrine, I gave it best and headed for Shoveler Hide to see if the Dowitcher was still in residence. After this I headed back towards the car park calling in at other hides to see what was about.

 I then got on my way to check the Little Owl Sites on my return journey seeing birds at Sites Nos.5  and 2 so I finished with only three Little Owls and it appeared a day to see many more, little wind and reasonably warm.

I have for this blog at Rutland Water tried shooting at 14 Bit, The file size have gone up dramatically but the colouration has likewise {I think}. 

17th March 2016.

Little Owl Site No. 19.

Having visited my friends, on my way out I pass the nest tree and sat in the sun was this bird, unfortunately the shot was virtually into the sun.

17th March 2016.

Little Owl Site No. 1.

First site I pass and started positively, the bird sat high in the tree and watched me all the while I was out the car. 

Little Owl Site No. 5.

As I drove past the farm I could see this bird high in the tree, just let the car drift slowly down to get closer then out the window for this shot. 

Same bird I think but on the return journey. 

Little Owl Site No. 5.

On my outward journey, the farmer was working under the tree doing some fencing works. On my return this bird sat out but again the shot was into the sun. 

Proud Mum with her Lambs at the side of Little Owl Site No. 8.

Just could not resist this image, proves Spring is nearly with us.

17th March 2016. 

Osprey Nest Platform, Lagoon 4. Dunlin Hide.

On arriving at the hide,a Peregrine Falcon was sitting on the nest. This nest had been rebuilt the previous day as we have hopes that it will be in use this year. Two Birds spent most of last Summer at the site and will hopefully mate this year.  

Egyptian Geese, Lagoon 4.

 These are the only visitors I had onto the nest. Lets hope for the Ospreys next time.

Great Crested Grebe, Dunlin Hide, Lagoon 4.

A very colourful bird but no signs of them pairing together as yet.

Shoveler Drake, Lagoon 2, Grebe Hide.

Super ducks with wonderful colouration, not bad in the reflection. 

Long Billed Dowitcher, Lagoon 3, Shoveler Hide.

After leaving Dunlin Hide I headed straight to Lagoon 3 to see if I could get any better images of the Dowitcher. The bird appeared in the same place as previous and with it being only a small wading bird and being just over 90 metres away, the images are reasonable.

Again a shot where you can see all the bill. 

Wild Primrose, Near Grebe Hide.

Another sign that Spring is on its way.


One of the darker birds, again the birds would not come close and all the following images are very long shots. 

 Another of one of the darker birds, on this visit they flew higher than on previous occasions. 

This time the pale bird flying high. 

Bird should be watching the ground , that's where the food is.

Bird really looking upwards, personally could see nothing above it .

Thank you for your visit, I hope you have enjoyed the images as much as I did in getting them. Thank you for all the previous comments, they are very much appreciated.

Sunday, 13 March 2016


After a busy few days with involvement at Crufts with Discover Dogs, this unfortunately meaning that the weekly trip out with Richard and visit to my farmer friends was not possible, I eventually managed to get away from home for some birding on Friday 11th of March. As I was not over flush with time I had a quick visit to Cossington Meadows as four Short Eared Owls had been seen on Thursday afternoon so I set off full of anticipation which usually means a fall and disappointment. On arrival down the site, { which by the way had been badly flooded on the other side of the track to Swan Meadow the previous day and in one place some of the track had been eroded away by the water } I met up with several of my normal companions and was told no birds had been seen, but at 15.50 hrs the first bird was seen followed a second bird. After about another twenty minutes a third bird arrived so were we going for a fourth, not really sure as the three were all over the place, one would go out of site towards the top of Swan Meadow and a few seconds later a bird would appear from the bottom of Swan Meadow, had it just turned at the top and flew down the field behind us and then appeared form the bottom of the field, not really sure so I will say we saw three but they certainly gave us a good show.

I appreciate that last week I apologised for adding more Shortie Images but I enjoy watching these birds, they are very graceful in flight and I am sure will soon be flying North. It has been four years since Short Eared Owls have been at Cossington Meadows so I am allowed to spoil myself a little until they go, they have certainly helped the Winter go by.

Dartmoor Ponies.

These have been at Cossington Meadows for a couple of years and appear to have settled in well. They help to keep the grass down on the Swan Meadow side of the track and have free range over all the fields on that side of the track. This area appears to be above flood level. 

The Shorties fly about the ponies and neither appear bothered. 

Palest of the three birds.

One of the Darker birds at the bottom of Swan Meadow, long distance shot. 

 The second Darker bird.

Second dark bird 

One of the darker birds flying between the ponies. 

Darker bird a little closer. 

 Pale bird landed on a post about sixty metres away and was having a good shake when I took this shot, hence the feathers fluffed out.

Pale bird farther across the Meadow. 

Again the pale bird, this did show the most of the three.

This bird flying reasonably low and you can see the blurred grass in front of the bird, luckily the camera focused on the bird, not the grass. 

If only we could read the birds mind, "which one shall I land on and scare the living daylights out of". 

At last I managed an image showing the two little tufts of feathers above the eyes. {short ears}. This appears to be one of the darker birds.
Still not sure as to us seeing three or four birds. 

Thank you for your visit.

I hope you have enjoyed these images as much as I did in the getting. If you leave a comment I will reply to them all. Unfortunately last week I had a problem with the programme which ended up with people sending comments, these appearing as emails but not appearing as comments on the Blog, I apologise to these people.   

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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