Saturday, 25 March 2017


Richard and myself had a visit out on Thursday the 16th of March and being my turn to drive, Richard arrived at 11.30 hrs and we got on our way heading for our Little Owl sites, not with much expectations of seeing much as it was very dull with a very cold wind. But how birds can surprise you. We saw our first Little Owl at  Site 8 and after that we saw two birds at Site 9 whilst having our lunch. After this we travelled through the remaining sites but saw no more birds. We then headed for the Lyndon Centre at Rutland Water for a look around the Hides and a check to see if we had any Osprey arrivals, of which we had none, but they will soon be with us 30/05 left her Senegal Winter beach resort on the 11th March so is well on the way. We had a steady walk down to Waderscrape Hide calling in at both Deep Water and Tufted Duck Hides but nothing of consequence was visible. The computer and television were up and running in Waderscrape and two Volunteer ladies were on duty and told us that they had decided the first Osprey would arrive at the nest at 16.00 hrs {WRONG}. We sat for a while hoping to see some Water Vole but non showed so we headed for Shallow Water hide. It is usually at this time of the year very good for getting Shoveler Ducks reasonably close to the Hide but really nothing was that close, in fact we saw very little at all so after a short time headed back up to the centre and the car park to start our return trip.

Our Ospreys are at last returning in reasonable numbers so I am looking froward to an extra Osprey duty I have been asked to carry out on Thursday the 23rd. Lets hope our birds have returned by then.  


Little Owl Site No. 8.

Bird spotted by Richard and difficult to get a decent image without moving the car to try to get a clear shot through the branches. We both commented that it would be great to see two birds at this site. 

Only when getting home and uploading the images did I find this, yes the elusive second bird, so a quick call to Richard with the news. 

Little Owl Site No. 9.

We sat to have our lunch by this site, its a really beautiful and peaceful spot, and this bird sat and watched and was joined by its mate at one point.

16th March.

Mute Swan, Female, Shallow Water Hide.

Always a delight to see and get an image. Reasonably long distance shot.  

Manton Bay Osprey Nest. Shallow Water Hide.

It seems so sad to see the empty but already prepared  nest but hopefully it will not be long before these birds return.

Juvenile Mute Swan, Shallow Water Hide.

23rd March.  

I was asked to carry out an additional duty at Waderscrape and jumped at the chance of being on duty when our birds may return. This being 33/11, the male and the Scottish female, as you can see below the little beggars beat me to it and came back a day early, but at least I will have birds to watch during my visit. Last year Maya arrived on the 21st March and 33/11 on the 27th, so this year they split the difference and virtually arrived together.

I managed to get away from home for 12.15 hrs and headed straight for the Lyndon Centre arriving at 13.10hrs and after booking in, walked swiftly down to Waderscrape Hide to get my first glimpse of the returned Ospreys. It had become very windy by this time and with the wind coming from the reservoir, it was feeling extremely cold. On arriving at the Hide I was greeted by my fellow conspirator, Sheila who told me the female was on the nest and 33/11 was away fishing. He eventually arrived back but with no fish, the reservoir was covered with white horses which must make fishing very difficult. He remained with the female for a while and then had to see off an intruder Osprey and then after a while went away fishing again, my duty finished at 17.00 hrs and he was still absent so hopefully they both finished up with a fish after I left.

Male Osprey 33/2011 . Note he has the Blue ring.

Here having just arrived at the nest, {10.04 hrs} some serious nest building will take place in the next few days. You can see the black cable ties used to hold the nest together by the brave guys that go out in a very small boat and put a ladder up to the nest an rebuild it.

Female Osprey {Maya} left. Non Ringed.

Just arrived at 13.38 hrs so very little time or distance between them. And so the season begins.


Female Osprey on the nest.

This is the site that greeted me on arrival at the Hide. The male had left to go fishing about 10 minutes before I arrived. Please remember the bird is 320 metres away and I was shooting virtually into the sun. 

 She kept getting lower in the nest as the wind increased all afternoon.

Unknown Raptor.

I haven't got any idea as to what this bird is, one lady in the Hide said it was a Buzzard, but the bird is white under the tail and has a quiet distinct black end to the tail. Unfortunately the bird was going on for 420 metres away in the hedge.

Anybody any ideas??????

Just had a call to say this bird is a Female Rough Legged Buzzard. the male has a smaller black tip to the tale with a second thin band above it. Thanks Derek.

The Male,33/11 returns from Fishing

He had just returned and her on the nest was looking at him

Because we had an intruder Osprey approaching the nest, 33/11 responded and returned to the nest. 

They both mantled at the intruder, which could have been a bird that was bred on the nest, we had a young male land on the nest last year who was tolerated by both birds, not for long but was a bird that had fledged from the nest. 

The intruder retires gracefully.

Cormorant in Dead Tree, Adjacent to the Hide.

This tree always has Cormorants roosting, you can only just make out the green eye, the tree is 130 metres from the Hide. One of the previous Manton Bay Males 5R, would take great pleasure in flying around the bay and he would then plough through the tree and dislodge a few from perching.

Immature Great Black-backed Gull.

I was told that this was what this bird was by a visitor to the hide. Not very good with gulls.
John  Wright, the field officer tells me that numerous immature birds stay at the reservoir all year until mature, and several mature adults overwinter on site.  

Not sure as to what the bird is carrying.

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

Sunday, 12 March 2017


This week I was unavailable to have the weekly visit out with Richard being involved with Discover Dogs at Crufts on both Wednesday and the first day of the show Thursday. Both days were extremely busy and must admit to being grateful on both days in getting home and putting my feet up.  We have over 200 breeds of dog on display for the public to see and ask questions of the owners about the breed.

We still own Golden Retrievers ourselves and this breed is a delight to live with.

We have shown Golden Retrievers for many years and for anyone who shows dogs the pinnacle is to get your dogs to Crufts, the step above that is to get your dog into the "big ring". This we managed in 2010 show in the final for the Pets as Therapy , PAT dog of the year for 2009.
My wife visited Rainbows Childrens Hospice for 9 years with Jody visiting the children, a job I must admit I would have found very difficult seeing these poorly children, some weeks visiting twice if she was called in by the co-ordinator. It was then a real honour when Rainbows agreed to support Jody and my wifes entry for the PAT dog of the year competition which they did. My wife had to submit photographs of Jody working with the children and numerous nomination forms had to be filled in from different departments and parents at the Hospice. A selection committee considered all the many entries and eventually finished up with the final six of which Jody was one, and this is how we made it into the big ring and coming second in the competition. I have nothing but admiration for my wife and Jody for what they achieved in helping these children through such terrible times, the love shown by them both is indescribable. 

When it came to being at Crufts, we had to visit on Friday evening to have a practise for the Saturday competition so we didn't get home until 23.30 hrs. Then we had to be back at he N.E.C. for 09.00 hrs on the Saturday where Jody and my wife were on display to the public until when she went into the ring after lunch. During this time I could sit and have a rest but my poor wife was on her feet and answering questions all day. After being in the ring they did some time on the PAT dog stand for photo's and then some time on Discover Dogs for the Kennel Club, Jody never tired of being stroked and giving love to everyone. We eventually got away from the show for 16.30 hrs to go home. Only to be up early the following day {Sunday} as it was Gundog day and Jody was being shown in Veteran bitch being 11 years old which meant she was in the show ring for 08.30 hrs so we had to be in the show for 08.00. We were all shattered and after showing I think she slept the rest of the day in her bench, except when she had visitors  and being a Golden Retriever you have to play to the crowd.

We sadly lost Jody when she was 13, she a was a real delight  to have had in our lives and with my wife did so much good for the poorly children. We still miss her.

The header image is our Golden Retriever bitch,  Jody having her photo taken on the winners rostrum at Crufts . 

My Wife and Jody in the middle of the Ring in the spotlight. 

Having received her award from Roy Barraclough, Jody then got a really good fuss from him. Jody qualified for Crufts every year from being young until when she was four she got her stud book number that meant she qualified for Crufts for life. But she always managed to be out of coat for the show bless her.

Jody at work at the Hospice, she was such a gentle dog. She also had a full coat,so not anywhere near the time for Crufts.

Jody's daughter Maddy {left} and grandson Bruce, Maddies son. Bruce having just won 5th place in Limit dog. Crufts 2011. 

2nd March
Part 2.

Shelduck Drake, Shoveler Hide. Lagoon 3.

Beautiful colorful bird feeding reasonably close to the hide, read recently that the female nests in a disused rabbit warren.  

Shoveler Drake, Shoveler Hide, Lagoon 3.

This bird stood in the shallows having a preen then all of a sudden. 

All hell broke loose 

The bird then performed a perfect somersault splashing water all over the place. 

This turned into a double somersault. 

And then peace returned 

Only to start all over again and give me the opportunity change some settings so as to freeze the water droplets.

We then did a barrel roll, it was showing off by this time!! 

And this was the end of the Shoveler bath and the bird flew.  

Smew Drake, Plover Hide, Lagoon 4.

I decided to visit this hide for the Smew as seven had been reported and sure enough they were still in attendance. Unfortunately this is the position the bird was in for most of the time we were watching, 150 metres away and sleeping. 

Smew Duck, Red Head, Lagoon 4.

We had six Red Heads and one drake, wonderful to observe, but the Drake still slept on??

By this time the wind had drifted him somewhat closer. He made no effort to move himself, I'm sure if he had been much closer we would have heard him snoring!!

And then a female approached and he awoke. 

He then gave a bit of a chase, but soon thought better of it.

And then the sun came out. it was by this time getting very low in the sky with a red tinge but it helped show the beauty of this duck. 

Heron Near one of the Islands, Lagoon 4.

This Heron stood for a while with the Black Headed gulls in attendance. 

Little Egret, Lagoon 4.

Pair of Ringed Plover, Lagoon 4.

Just these two sat on the island to the front of us and spotted by Richard.

 Heavily cropped image of the left bird.

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

I hope you will forgive the self indulgence with my inclusion of the early images showing our dogs. Since this time my wife and I had a visit to Africa in 2010 and she  caught a Virus and has been poorly ever since, this means she can no longer carry out this work that she loved so much.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017


We decided with storm Doris that was forecast for our normal Thursday trip out to defer our trip out {luckily} to the Friday. And so after the storm had passed we ventured forth with trepidation to see if any damage had been done to any of our sites. As you can see Site 5 had a major problem, but the birds have survived the damage and Richard managed to get some images of them, I was driving and missed the opportunity. From here we travelled on through our normal route and saw a bird next at Site No. 8. and then onto Site No. 9 for lunch where we saw two birds. We then had a very quick visit to Rutland Waters Lyndon Centre and a visit to Teal Hide but nothing was very close so we decided to travel across to Eyebrook Reservoir for another try for the Kingfishers, we saw nothing but another gent had seen a Kingfisher prior to us arriving. The weather again was not so good as the afternoon progressed, so I finished with very few images that I felt I could use for the blog, it was another case of rain stopped play. 

24 th February.      

What was and hopefully will be still be Little Owls Site No. 5.

This is a site we have been watching where a crack has been developing for going on for two years. When the tree had its previous disaster, Richard and myself erected the nest box, I have only seen a bird sat on top of it once but after loosing home, lets hope they decide to take up residence. These poor birds have had three episodes of sections of the tree falling. Its a wonder they have survived  and not disappeared from the area. We first found this site when the tree had a previous disaster some years ago and the farmer was complaining the wind had taken down some of his Owl tree.,  

Little Owl Site No. 8.

This site was still intact and the bird was eventually found by Richard after getting out of the car, sitting in the car I could not find it, so out of the car and get an image and the bird was not bothered at all. Camera did well to focus on the bird. More tree than bird! 

Little Owl Site No. 9.

When we arrived just the single bird sat in the nest hole, but as we sat and enjoyed our lunch, her indoors arrived from deeper in the hole.

So we sat and finished our lunch watched by both birds. We then visited the last of our Sites and no more birds were seen, we really must not complain as we has seen five which for how the weather had been the previous day was very good.

1st March.

Kestrel Near Little Owl Site No. ???

As I drove down the access road to the farm, I spotted two Kestrels sitting together in one of the trees, I always have the camera at the ready when on the drive but after getting the car at an angle on the road where I could see the birds, one flew away, so had to make do with a singleton.

2nd March.

We decided to have a visit to Rutland Water after a considerable break in visiting, as we had our pre season Osprey Meeting in the Volunteer Centre at 19.00 hrs that evening. As we were going to be late home we didn't get under way until 13.30 hrs with it being Richards turn to drive. We headed for our Little Owls Sites and not until Site No 8 did we see a bird, so we carried on through the remaining sites before heading to the Egleton Centre but we saw no more Little Owls, we put this down to a cold wind, this being our worst numbers count for a considerable time.
We arrived at Egleton and booked in with our friend David and then made our way out into the reserve and hides.  We wandered around the hides until late and tea time so we headed back to the car park and made our way round to the Volunteer Centre after eating our teas having enjoyed a wonderful afternoon.

Little Owl Site No. 8.

We really have to hunt within the tree to find this bird, it always tucks itself well into the branches, a bit more bird and less tree this week.

Goldeneye Drake, Lagoon 2, Redshank Hide.

This bird sat well out into the lagoon but what a delight to see it in some sunshine.

It then started its courtship display, throwing its head back. 

And then kicking water into the air. 

Coot, Grebe Hide. Lagoon 2.

Nearly everywhere you look on the reservoir, you are more than likely to see some Coot, but I find you still finish up getting an image or two of these delightful birds. 

Moorhen, Lagoon 2. Grebe Hide.

This bird was eventually chased away by the above Coot. Again a common bird that is hard to resist getting an image from. 

Greylag Goose, Lagoon 2, Grebe Hide.

 Around the Lagoon in reasonable numbers, also were being very noisy

Canada Geese, Lagoon 2, Grebe Hide.

These were being extremely noisy as they bathed whilst swimming out into the Lagoon. 

Gadwall Drake, Lagoon 2, Grebe Hide.

Another common duck but really eye catching

Duck and Drake together. 

Volunteer Training Centre, Next to Lagoon 4. Sandpiper Hide.

This building was only completed and opened last year by Sir David Attenborough and this is where we were having the pre-season Osprey Meeting. The reason we visited this Hide is because Richard saw the Peregrine fly past and we found it sat on the Osprey nest, we both had problems in getting the cameras to focus on the bird, a little dark think.

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

I have kept some of the images from the visit to Rutland Water for next weeks Blog as I am involved on both Wednesday and Thursday at Crufts. 

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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