Monday, 21 November 2016


I decided on Wednesday afternoon to have a quick visit to Swithland Reservoir on another hunt for the elusive {to me} Mandarin Ducks. Having spent about half an hour searching to no avail, I suddenly heard the sound of a steam train in the distance, the Great Central Railway line crosses the reservoir on a mixture of embankment and bridges, again after a few minutes I heard the train again so back into the car and head for the noise. On arriving at the line a large engine sat by the bridge with numerous people getting out of the carriages and onto the track. It was apparently a steam special where the train stops at numerous places along the track for photo opportunities  and I was just lucky to have come across  one of these stops.

After this it was getting very cloudy and dark so I headed towards home just taking on more image at the far end of the Reservoir of a Little Egret.

My next visit out was with Richard on Thursday and as it was my turn to drive. Richard arrived at our house for 11.30 hrs and we got on our way on our normal Little Owl route. We made our way through to Site No. 9 and had our lunch. From here we passed the remainder of our sites but no birds were seen and it had become very windy with leaves flying everywhere. We then made our way through to Eyebrook Reservoir for another try for the Kingfishers at the bridge which also meant I could rest my knee for another week just standing at the bridge and not walking.

On our return trip we again passed all our Little Owl sites and this time saw birds at Site Nos. 8 &15  which was a bonus for how the weather had turned with heavy rain and very windy. In fact it was the wind that had removed the leaves at Site 8 allowing us to see the bird. We had not seen a bird at this site since the Spring.

16 th November.    

70013, Oliver Cromwell, Brittania Class, {Standard Class S7.}

This engine first came into service in May 1951 and appears to be ready for Winter with the snow plough fitted.

This is after the people had disembarked and had all got onto the embankment and bridge for a photo call of the engine.  

This for me was a real bonus to find such a beautifully preserved engine. 

Grey Heron sitting on the side of the Overflow Channel near the Dam.

By this time it was getting very dull and I had just heard the train in the distance so I took a quick image of the bird which was at a distance of 75 metres. 

Little Egret.

This taken at the far end of the Reservoir and was 30 metres away and the light was failing.

17 th November.

Red Kite.

Whilst we stood at the bridge waiting to see if the Kingfisher would turn up, we finished up with three Kites flying around, not over close but wonderful to see. 

These birds were reintroduced to an area near Corby in Northamptonshire and are doing really well and spreading. We even see the odd bird at home. They really are beautiful graceful birds and the way they move the tail to steer is stunning.  

Managed to get two of the birds together.

Little Owl Site No. 8.

On our outward journey we saw no bird here  but on our return and with the high winds we had experienced during the afternoon, most of the lower leaves had been blown away and the bird was visible between the branches. We have not seen a bird at this site since the Spring. probably has been hidden by the leaves?

Thank you for your visit, I hope you have enjoyed the visit as much as I did in the getting of the images. 


  1. Oh, beautiful is the Red Kite, fabulous. The Heron and the Egret are brilliant John.

    1. Hi Bob, Red Kites are a beautiful bird to watch as they fly, the movement of the tail is fascinating to watch. Wish the weather would improve, fed up with these grey and wet days. All the best Regards John

  2. Unas fotos magníficas como siempre, el tren es una auténtica joya. Saludos desde España.

  3. Hi German and thank you for the visit. I was pleased to be at the right place at the right time with the train, what a wonderfully preserved engine, not bad for its age. All the best to you from England. Regards John

  4. Hi John,
    I see you too managed some Red kite pics!
    I really have a very soft spot for this bird: on my property - now sold :( - we had 12 to 15 every winter. We would feed them 2 to 3 time a weeks which allowed for great photos!
    Even if the weather is dull where you live, at least you've birds!
    I have to drive 3/4 of an hour to find any and right now, as I said to Richard, they must be wintering elsewhere.
    Yes, the D500 is a killer well worth the buy...!!
    This train is gorgeous, nice to see it still is in use.
    Great and unusual post :)

    1. Hi Noushka, how lucky you were with Red Kites on the property, they are a really beautiful bird, Yes we still have birds but doubt if we would get many decent images how the light is at the moment. Glad you like the D 500 its good when you buy a camera and really get on with it. The train was a real unexpected bonus and wonderful to see and the smell of the smoke took me back to my childhood, could be a case I'm reverting to childhood as I get on. All the best. Regards John

  5. Wonderful shots of the Red Kite and nice Little Owl! Great shots of the train - right place at the right time!! M

    1. Hi Both, Thanks for the visit, glad you like the Red Kite, what a bird just gliding around the sky. As you say right place and time with the train. Little Owls are always great to photo. Hope to get some images of your Buzzards soon. See you soon. John

  6. Hi John. I was wrong about The Red Dragon - it ran from London Paddington to Carmarthen.

    That image that I took for you with your camera of the LO at your 'Site No.8' turned out very much better than my effort with my own camera. It didn't help that I'd managed to unlock my focus point from centre and drop it to the bottom of the frame! Dooohh.

    See you soon - - - Richard

    1. Hi Richard, I wonder why they used that name for the train, no exit from the Great Central line heading towards Carmarthen?? Doesn't help with the focus point in the wrong place, I had somehow managed to get mine on to 9 points recently, no hope for either of us. Great to see that Little Owl after so long however. See you tomorrow. John

  7. Hi John! Great set of RK images, they are becoming more and more popular now, seeing them on an almost daily basis when I go out owling.

  8. Hi Paul and great to hear you are still out owling, I was at Eyebrook yesterday and saw twelve RK all circling together not far from Stockerston village but the light was awful. Hope to see a post from you soon with an update on the Barnies. Ours still not returned unfortunately. All the best Regards John

  9. That is what is so great about England, that people cherish there history, like with these amzing locomotives, Industrial places and villages. Those Red Kites are amazing and last but not least the LO is adorable to see.

  10. Hi Roos, It is so good that individuals are prepared spend a considerable amount of money to keep these amazing locomotives running and in such beautiful condition, I can only take my hat of to them. As to the Red Kites they are such graceful birds and great to watch, last Thursday I was watching twelve all flying together but the light was awful so no images. The Little Owl was a real find after not seeing it for a considerable time and Richard has seen it since. All the best, Regards John

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  12. Wonderful series of images, John - so crisp and sharp. The train is almost as interesting as the birds - but not quite! Best regards to you and Veg. David

    1. Hi David and Miriam, must admit I enjoyed the afternoon visit with the train, what a wonderful piece of equipment. The birds were a test with my new lens which I have only used a couple of times heving been somewhat busy. Loved your Cuba post. Regards John

  13. Hi John,
    Since you haven't posted anything after this post, I guess you're a very busy guy! LOL!
    I hope your weather has improved and that you will be able to show us soon some great pics!
    Thanks for your comment on my blog while I was away :)
    Always a pleasure to read you :)
    Keep well and enjoy your weekend

    1. Hi Noushka, Have just started on a new post, yes I have been very busy with one thing and another, yes the weather has improved from dire to moderate. Hope you had a good visit away and hope you got some images for us to see. Thanks for the visit again. You have a good weekend. Regards John


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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