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. 

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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