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. 


  1. Hello John, you captured some incredible beauties here and your barn owls? Absolutely stunning! All the best, Denise :)

    1. Hi Denise, sorry fro the late reply, but with a hospital visit, dentists and an Osprey duty its been a very busy week. The Barn Owls are really coming on and all three have fledged so we may not see so much of them as they discover the fields around them. Really pleased with the Marbled White butterfly. All the best. John

  2. My word, your Barnies are growing up fast, John! They're gorgeous.

    So pleased that you managed to get to the lake by Heather, John. You got a great crop of images. One thing I noticed is that the ovipositing Emperor females in your images all seem to have very blue abdomens, rather than the usual green. According to 'the book' "blue females can occur later in the summer", and "during warm weather, the upper surface of the female's abdomen may become blue" - this is something that I'd not picked up on until I saw your images. Thanks for the lesson!

    See you soon - - - Richard

    1. Hi Richard and welcome back, hope you had a successful break, yes the Barnies are growing at such a rate and all three have fledged. A bit disappointed with the Emperor images but I had noticed the difference in colour to the female we saw at the lake to the back of us. It was most certainly warm whilst I was on site, thanks for picking this up. See you soon, John

  3. Stunning shots of Dragonflies !!Your Barn Owls are,so, so beautiful! Love the shot of the two looking out to see what's happening outside. It must be wonderful watching them in your hide in your garden at night even without taking images.Glad you do though!! M

  4. Hi Both and glad you enjoyed the Dragonflies, I have decided to use my larger lens in future, will not be able to get so close initially but I think the final outcome will be better. The Barn Owls have all fledged but the weather has been rough, but I will when the weather allows take an image of my box set up so you can see how they are positioned. I am going out soon in the hide {Its waterproof} so no images tonight just watching. All the best. John

  5. Beautiful selection, especially the Barn Owls, marvellous.

    1. Hi Bob, and thank you for the visit, I will be out with the Barn Owls in a short time and hopefully get some images of them flying. All the best, John

  6. Wow, that Marbled White is a stunning butterfly, John, and it seems to me that you captured it perfectly. What can I say about these gorgeous Barn Owls? I was going to remark that you are fortunate to have them, but it goes beyond that. It is your dedication, perseverance and commitment to their welfare that ensures your success. The whole ornithological community owes you a debt of gratitude. If I were visiting right now I think I would be camped out at your place!

    1. Hi Both and hope you are both well. The Marbled White was a real find, but as you say the Barn Owls are tops. We have had a wonderful time with them and are so fortunate, all three Owlets have fledged so I will be out later to keep an eye on them. They were raised in the box you saw the female come away from. If you were visiting again, you would be out in the hide with me and enjoying all the happenings that have been numerous. All the best. John

  7. Hello John,
    I hadn't realised that the Marbled white butterfly was a rarity in your area, congratulation for this find!
    And your dragons are wonderful, always quite a bit of excitement to witness an empress laying, not to mention several!
    Your Barn owl family is really such a sight, what a success! And such cute faces! They should be leaving the nest soon but maybe coming back once in while.
    All the best and I hope you are having a better weather than what I've got here...

  8. Hi Noushka and the Marbled White is a real rarity in our area, we can find them in some disused Limestone quarries about 50 miles away but these were the nearest we could find previously. To see so many empress laying was another great find so things are looking good for in two years time {fingers crossed}. The Barn Owls have been a real delight and the young are starting to show a little earlier and having short flights, I think we will have them with us for a while yet. The weather is also very poor here with rain and wind, not the best for young Barnies. Hope you are keeping well, all the best. John

  9. Hi John! Fantastic macro and nice series of pictures of Barn owls.. Have a great week.. :-)))

  10. Hi Ana and thank you, I had a wonderful afternoon at the little lake with the dragonflies, the Barn Owls have been such a magical distraction. You have a good week, all the best, John

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  12. Hi John,
    The spotted wooden butterfly is a very beautiful but the marbled butterfly that is underneath me is really beautiful. The juffers and dragonflies could also be nice footgraphs, and the Emperor Dragonfly puts eggs in the water.

    The church owl series is really great :-)))))) The young owls are already good to see. Beautiful series I enjoyed very much.

    Sincerely, Helma...

  13. Hi Helma I was so pleased to see the Marbled White butterfly, the first I had ever seen in our area. Emperor Dragonflies are always a pleasure to see. Th young Barn Owls are wonderful to watch and are really coming on. So pleased you enjoyed the post. All the best. 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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