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Friday, 21 July 2017

A VISIT TO HEATHER LAKE AND OUR BARN OWLS.

This week I decided to have a change in venue and this meant a change in lenses, so I was back to the Sigma 50 - 500 mm to try for some Dragonflies at the lake at Heather  that I was recommended to visit some two years ago. After several visits then and also last year I decided it was time to visit this year and feeling much better headed for a visit on Monday the 17th of July. Arriving after a short walk down the site the first thing I saw was an Emperor Dragonfly not far out into the lake so I had a try for an image, after trying this for about thirty minutes on numerous Emperors, I had forgot how difficult it was to get everything just perfect for a decent image and I had also forgot how fast to focus my new lens is and how slow in comparison the old lens is. I had a wonderful if not warm afternoon and managed several female Emperor Dragonflies oviposting and the highlight was seeing a Marbled White Butterfly, something I had most certainly not expected to see in our area, we normally have to travel up to 50 miles to areas with limestone to see this butterfly . 

So after a wonderful afternoon I returned home deciding than on my next visit I will go with the 600 mm lens and hope for getting some Emperors flying, its just so heavy so it will have to be with a tripod or monopod.







Speckled Wood Butterfly.

I saw this butterfly on my walk down the track to the lake and as usual just had to take an image.   



Highlight of the afternoon, Marbled White {male} Butterfly.

This came as a real surprise, when I first saw the butterfly it was a reasonable distance away and I thought initially it was a moth, but on getting closer it was this stunning butterfly. I will have to have another visit, who can tell what will turn up. ??????





Common Blue Damselfly.

Everywhere you looked I had  Common Blues flying about. 



 Blue-tailed Damselfly. {Male}

Only saw a few of these, not so common at this lake.



Ruddy Darter Dragonfly {Male}

Not the best of images, the light was playing awful tricks all afternoon. 




Four spotted Chaser Dragonfly. {Male}.

Saw numerous of these but they always were interacting with the Emperors and not resting very much at all.



Emperor Dragonfly, {Female}

We seemed to have Oviposting females all over the lake, really extraordinary.












OUR BARN OWLS.


They are really coming on at a rate and have become far more confident in coming out onto the front of the box for a look around. I have still be getting up early whilst still dark and all three have been having a good look around and waiting for the adults to arrive to feed them.

Not until Tuesday the 18th when I was out in the hide when the female turned up did we have any attempt to fledge. She sat herself on the front of the large box and with all the young out on the front of the small box she kept calling them, very quietly but on a regular basis , this seemed to get the young wanting to join her, then the Male arrived and he flew around for a while and then settled himself in a tree to watch proceedings. eventually one of the young plucked up courage and flew onto the roof of the small box and then flew across onto the roof of the large box, Then a second Owlet decided to join its sibling this was so magical to watch. It was as if the adults had discussed it was time for them to be flying. The third Owlet {that could be up to 6 days younger} just flapped its wings but I'm sure this will be flying soon.

Watch for the next post for images, mind it was very dark when all this happened and I was having problems finding the birds with the camera.


  


Owlet {Male I think}

A very happy Owlet having a snooze in the entrance to the box. 



A little more adventurous and may be caught the noise of the camera in the hide spotted. 




Out on the front with a second bird in the doorway. 



I was shooting at ISO 12800 at 1/30 s so unable to freeze the wing flapping. 



How the lovely silver shiny ring has discoloured already. The other two in the door. 









Last image as it was difficult to actually find the bird it was so dark, this image at ISO 20,000 plus.


Keep an eye out for my next post with the Owlets fledging, not sure as to what the quality of the images will be due to it being so dark and the high ISO number .




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

Thursday, 13 July 2017

BACK IN THE OLD ROUTINE WITH AN OSPREY DUTY.


At last feeling much better I had my first Osprey duty on Thursday the 6th of July. I had my normal trip out to Rutland visiting our Little Owl sites but saw nothing until I got to the last site, No 12, This is a site we have not seen a bird at since last September so a very welcome site, we just must have been unlucky in our visiting times or a new bird has taken up residence.


I arrived at Rutland Water with plenty of time to spare and upon visiting the centre was told the female juvenile 2AN had fledged that morning and had flown to a T post farther along Manton Bay and had been sitting and thinking about returning ever since. The temperature was 29 degrees so I had a very leisurely walk down to Waderscrape Hide calling in at both Deepwater and Tufted Duck hides on my way down with no particular rush so I arrived in the hide reasonably cool. The gent I was on duty with {Phil} arrived wet through as he had rushed down, so we got all the birds sorted as to what was going and the previous volunteers departed.

We had several visitors throughout the first hour when we were invaded by a bus load of Brownies, they arrived with both the Education Officers for the Project and were an absolute delight. All had a pair of Binoculars and showed great interest in the birds when they eventually found the nest, we lowered both the scopes and with the extra power they were fascinated at what they saw. They were with us until 19.30 hrs and we missed a considerable amount of logging in the book, just an entry saying "Brownies visited, nothing logged". We were bombarded with questions most of the time and these were mainly regarding the birds returning to Africa, this really fascinated them and they were showed the map on the Hide wall showing the route they take and the distance they travel.

After this we had our teas, packed up all the equipment in the Hide and made our way towards the Car Park. After about 200 metres the path widens to some open pastures and we immediately saw a female Barn Owl who flew  ahead of us landing on numerous posts all the way back to the Centre.

Our Barn Owls are coming on well and the third bird has done a considerable amount of catching up and is looking like a Barnie.  







Little Owl Site No. 12.

Not the best of images but as we had not seen a bird since last September. wonderful. After taking this image from a gateway, I moved along the road to get closer but so did the bird and disappeared .




RUTLAND WATER. 

LYNDON CENTRE.






Great Crested Grebe, Deep Water Hide.

Upon entering the hide I could see this pair about 60 metres out from the hide  and could not resist this image of the young having a lift.




Southern Hawker Dragonfly, Tufted Duck Hide.

Have since been informed this is a Male Emperor Dragonfly.
Sorry for the mistake.

On arriving in the hide I could see several dragonflies but all a long distance away. This one then landed on a reed about 20 metres away so really pleased with the outcome even with its tatty wing.




Comorant, Tufted Duck Hide.

By the time you have reached this hide you only have 480 metres to go to Waderscrape Hide, so I had a rest and cool down, even the Cormorant was hot. 




Young Moorhen, Waderscrape Hide.

An adult and two young were about in the channels to the front of the hide all afternoon. 




Female Barn Owl on the way back to the Centre.

As we walked back to the Car Park, this bird flew along to the front of us and perched on numerous posts but always partially obscured with grass.






MANTON BAY OSPREYS.

It was wonderful to be back on duty and my how things have changed, on my last visit the adults were sitting on eggs, on the morning of my duty the young female 2 AN fledged, that some growth rate, it was a wonderful afternoon with several visitors including a bus full of Brownies.

Please remember the nest is 320 metres from the hide.   



2 An {Female} on the camera post with 2 AM {Male} on the right of the nest with Mum in the middle. 



Adult female on the left , then 2 AN and 2 AM on the right. 



2 AM having a flap prior to helicoptering. He actually fledged the following day He is actually six days younger than his sister 






2 AN showing her brother how its done. 



A quick fly past the nest. 




And guess who's coming to join 33/11. 



Luckily both Dad and female got away with it and she regained her composure. Her landings have improved greatly since then.



2 AM helicoptering again. 



End of the shift and 33/11 had returned with a fish so both Juveniles got stuck into a feast.




OUR BARN OWLS.

The Owlets have had another successful week and all three are growing at a pace. I can tell at the moment we have at least on male but it just a case of watching them as they develop. They are not showing very early so the images are taken at ISO 10000 and 12800. I got up early {04.00 hrs} last Friday and all three Owlets were on the front of the box but my camera was down stairs. So since then I have got up every morning at 04.00 hrs with the camera with me in the bedroom and the little beggars have just sat in the doorway, sods law??? 

I got up at 03.30 hrs this morning as it was just starting to get light, two birds  sat on the platform and one in the entrance but even though I had the camera it would have been a hand held image and no chance with the light. 



Owlet Male {I think}.

You can see the start of the speckle on the chest to the front of his wing.



Owlet Male.

Again you can see speckling to the front of the wing. 







This appears to be the youngest of the three.
I think this is a female but still a bit early to be sure.



Second bird showing behind.







 Adult Female.

Having deliver some food, she sat just for a short time and then was away again hunting. By this time it was virtually dark, this taken at ISO 12800. 





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

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

OUT AT LAST!!!!!


At last Richard and myself have managed an afternoon out, it was similar to being released from prison {not that I have ever encountered this}. Don't get me wrong I have been getting out in my hide in the garden and monitoring the Barn Owls and keeping an eye on the Owlets  to see how they were advancing, must admit the growth has been tremendous. I was out last night {3rd of July} and the last images are from this outing and have they grown, we are only seeing two in the entrance to the box but we are seeing the third Owlet that is still white and fluffy on the cameras in the box but time wise this bird could be twelve days behind the first to hatch.

Richard phoned and asked if I wanted to go out on the Thursday but the forecast was not good for either Thursday or Friday so we opted for Saturday. He then asked had I seen the reports of  Bee-Eaters at East Leeke {a village not that far from us and over the County border in Nottinghamshire}. So Richard arrived and we set on our way in our car to find these birds, we arrived after about half an hours driving and found the site had been very well organised by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, with a car parking area in a field to keep cars away from the main road, so we parked up, paid our money and got under way for a bit of a walk down the site. We arrived at the viewing area and being a Saturday we had a reasonable number of people around us. The birds were showing very well but were a considerable distance away. We however managed some mixed images, these are not like getting images of the Ospreys over long distances, they are not very big birds so I apologise  for the quality, even using a 600 mm lens I just could not manage any decent images, but it was wonderful to see these very rare {for us} birds locally. I should have taken my tripod.

After this we made our way through our Little Owl Sites and Richard managed to see on bird at Site 8 but other than this bird we saw no more. We then headed for Eyebrook Reservoir and stopped at Launde Abbey on our way through where we saw some Dragonflies but I had my large lens on the camera so it made it somewhat difficult due to the weight of the lens. We arrived at Eyebrook in time for tea, saw no Ospreys but managed an image of a Banded Demoiselle at the entrance bridge.

I am going to take a break and finish the post tomorrow as I am going out in the hide.





European Bee-Eater {Merops apiaster}, East Leeke.

Again sorry for the quality, only really record images but such delightful birds.












They were reasonably active and one appeared to return with a Dragonfly.







Juvenile Red Legged Partridge. Nr one of our lost Little Owls Sites.

Sat by the side of the track we drove down and seemed sure we could not see it!! 



Pied Wagtail, Launde Abbey.

We were watching Dragonflies at the time and this Wagtail decided to have a bath. 



Banded Demoiselle, Entrance Bridge, Eyebrook Reservoir.

Reasonably pleased with this image as taken hand held with a 600 mm lens.  had to move back as the lens would not focus due to me being close.







UP DATE ON OUR BARN OWLS.






Male Barn Owl, quick shake.

He is such a stunning bird, this image was taken after 22.00 hrs so very lucky to get anything. 















Owlet in box Entrance.

This was the first time of seeing one of the owlets showing in the entrance waiting to be fed by the adults. {29th of June}  



Owlet in Entrance

In a short time they have become Barn Owls, you can still see the downy feathers. {4th of July}




Two showing, and in those few days they have really come on. 








Female Barn Owl taken just after 22.30 hrs at ISO 12800, she had just given a mouse to one of the young , they are feeding themselves so its a quick turn round and she is away.



Thank you for your visit, I hope you have enjoyed the images as much as I have in getting them. I am feeling much better and thank you to you all that have been concerned.

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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