Thursday, 27 July 2017


How the last two weeks have flown by, and then I was back on duty with the Ospreys. This week we just had normal visitors, not a bus load of Brownies, but I must admit we both said how much we had enjoyed having them in the hide and answering all the questions fired at us. I was again on duty with Phil, who is a lovely man and is going to erect some Barn Owl Boxes on an extra section of land he has as an extension to his garden, and so good luck to him and all who nest in them.

I had left home at about 13.30 hrs as I had to collect some tablets from the vets for one of our dogs and after this I headed through a very disappointing route of Little Owl sites where non were seen, I had a chat with one of our farmer friends at site 5 who say they hear the birds most nights about midway between the original site and the farm house so we still have birds about.

I arrived at Rutland at about 15.45 hrs and after a chat with Kayleigh had a very steady walk down the site stopping at Deepwater and Tufted Duck hides. I then dropped some of my kit at Waderscrape hide and headed for Shallow Water hide as I had been told a Wood Sandpiper was about and not remembering having seen one before, I thought I would dip my bread. As a rule in these situations by the time I arrive, what ever I have gone to see has departed five minutes before I arrived. But this time was the exception and what a lovely bird it is. I saw several other birds that are shown below such as a Linnet and a Juvenile Pied Wagtail. I fact I had a most enjoyable duty and afternoon. 

We had a wonderful late afternoon and evening on duty with several visitors to see these birds before they decide to head South for warmer climes, which will come so quick, its always such a sad time when they all get under way, mind wouldn't mind joining them to get some sun and warmth. As we were leaving the hide at 20.00 hrs, a couple turned who understood we finished duty but had been told we locked the door and remained all night in the hide, they wanted to see Barn Owls, sorry we go home. 

We got underway home on time but by then it had started to rain so I had a short time just keeping an eye of the Barn Owls but from in the dry.

Walk from the Centre to Tufted Duck Hide.

Gatekeeper Butterfly {Male}

I said in my last post how I struggled with the 50 - 500 mm lens an was going to try the 600 mm lens but keeping the minimum focus distance in mind, all the next butterfly images are with the large lens and hand held with the ISO wound up to compensate for my shake and my arm sagging under the weight.

Comma Butterfly, {Male}.

Not in the best condition but for the distance away I am pleased with the end result.

Red Admiral.

Again at focus distance, perhaps should have closed down to f 14. 


Little  Egret.

This bird was skirting an island at a distance of about 50 metres.  

Male Osprey fishing out from the hide.

Can see the blue ring but just cannot read the number, I'm sure it is a 10, so this bird is either 11/10 or 25/10. 


When we took over duty from the previous volunteers the adult male was absent, and only turned up a couple of times all through our shift, once to bring some straw for nest material, and then to bring a stick, after this he went fishing and hadn't returned by the time we finished our duty at 20.00 hrs.

The Juveniles had a real chase around the area which was started by the female for a while until it started to get a little rough then she returned to the nest and kept out of the way of these young hooligans.

Female Osprey.

She sat on the T post when we first started our duty. 

Female Osprey and Juveniles.

She sat on the T post and they are on the fallen tree to her right.

Juvenile Osprey, I think its the female 2 AN  on the right. 

Female transferred to the nest. 

And then onto the camera post. 

Juvenile female then visited the nest and then the fun began. 

Adult female started the chase. 

Followed by juvenile female. 

Juvenile male dive bombing his sister. 

And she did a spectacular turn and dive. 

And after this things quietened down a little for a while and food begging to the male commenced.


I had a quick visit down to this hide as I was told a Wood Sandpiper had been seen and on arrival I thought I could see it well away to the left of the hide, I took some very distant record shots, but I was lucky that after a few minutes it flew to within about 40 metres of the hide and proved a wonderful subject and stood beautifully for me.


Male and Female Linnet.

At a reasonable distance away but with two strands of barb wire in the way. 

Male Linnet.

A little farther away but a clear shot this time. 

Juvenile Pied Wagtail.

Several of these youngsters about busily feeding.

Wood Sandpiper.

My highlight of the day, such a beautiful little bird. 

Such a lovely head with the white above the eye. 

Mute Swan.

Here attempting take off. 

Take off abandoned when it entered shallow water!! 

Moorhen Juvenile, Waderscrape Hide.

One of the young I saw two weeks ago and how its come on. 


A lot has happened since the last post, all three Owlets have fledged and the flying expertise is improving, in fact last night they were flying up into the trees at the back of our land.

The first two birds fledged on Tuesday the 18th and the third bird was on the Thursday. I was so lucky to be out in the hide on the Tuesday and the young had been out on the front of the box for a while, when at about 21.50 hrs the female adult turned up and landed on the larger of the boxes and initially went inside, This was the first time I had seen an adult for over a week, she then after a few minutes appeared back on the front of the box and started to call at the young, initially she was very quiet and and then the male turned up had a fly by and landed in the trees to watch. this carried on for a while and it was getting very dark when at last the first Owlet flew onto the roof of the small box and then onto the roof of the large box.

Our box set up.

I was asked to show our boxes. They are 3.6 metres of the ground.

Male Owlet.

First out of the box, this is unusual from our previous clutches as normally its the females that are out first. With the start of his speckles, he is going to be a stunner like his father.

 Female adult emerging from the large box.

Female Adult.

First time I had seen an adult bird for about a week. She sat on the front of the box calling and encouraging the Owlets to join her. This is something I have never experienced before in all the years we have had Barn Owls breeding in our garden.

By this time it was getting very dark, this taken at ISO 12800 at 1/10 sec. Male on the right. 

All three of the Owlets. Male on the right and first to fly. Two females to the left and the far left bird did not fledge until the Thursday evening. 

Male sat on top of the box having flown, had an awful job finding the bird in the view finder and then getting the lens to focus. This taken at ISO 28200 at 1/6 sec. 

Sorry for the quality of the images but I was really fighting the light conditions but what a wonderful evening to just sit and watch this all going on.

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

Friday, 21 July 2017


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.


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. 

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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