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.


  1. Always a great pleasure to visit your posts John, such incredible photos! I enjoy looking at each one several times before you share a new post. Thank you so much :)

  2. Hi Denise and thank you, its likewise always a pleasure to visit your posts. The Cathedral is stunning with the size of some of the carvings that fell. I must admit my favourite is the Wood Sandpiper. Thanks for the comment and all the best, John

  3. So pleased to see you got a Wood Sand within shooting distance, John. I like that first image, with the reflection.

    Keeping my fingers crossed for some reasonable weather so we can get out! See you soon - - - Richard

  4. Hi Richard, it was a real highlight for me with the Wood Sand, what a lovely bird. I think one of us has upset the gods, the weather is getting worse rather than better, I suppose we should be glad its July and not January, we would have a foot of snow. Crossing everything, see you soon, I am on duty on Thursday, going to take a life jacket. John

  5. Beautiful images John, especially the Osprey juvenile, fantastic bird.

  6. Hi Bob, the Ospreys are such wonderful birds and it will not be that long before the juveniles are away to Africa, it always seems such a short season especially for me missing some weeks. My highlight was the Wood Sandpiper, such a lovely bird and came that bit closer so I could get an image. All the best, John

  7. Hi John,
    I really enjoyed once more your footage on your Barn owls!
    Your sentence: " he is going to be a stunner like his father" made me laugh... What a human way of putting things! LOL!!!
    so they seem to be on their way... Soon you won't see them around but maybe at dusk hunting in nearby fields!
    The Ospreys are fantastic too and your Wood sandpiper a 'stunner' that I envy... I still have to see one.
    Congrats and enjoy your outings with, I hope, great weather!

    1. Hi Noushka, so pleased you enjoyed the Barn Owls, perhaps not the best way of putting the beauty of the young male???. They young are appearing earlier, but unfortunately so is the rain, we are having awful weather at the moment. I think the young will be with us for another week or two on previous clutches behavior. Richard and I has to miss last week due to the weather. The Ospreys are coming on well but the female juvenile has been missing for a couple of days, lets hope she is alright. The Wood sandpiper was such a bonus, this was a first for me, I was surprised not more people were looking. I hope you have better weather than us, I am out on duty on Thursday so I have to go, will take a brolly and life jacket. All the best, John

  8. Hi John,
    Very sorry you did not see any small owls on your round to the owls.
    The pictures of the butterflies are very beautiful and sharp and the details and drawing are beautiful to see. The little Egret is also great to see. The eagerd has been able to photograph you beautifully. The ring is not readable, you know your birds. Beautiful pictures of the osprey in flight.
    The little birds like the knee are pretty little birds.
    The pictures of the sindpiper are fantastic.
    The pictures of the church owls are amazing!

    Best regards and a nice new week,

    1. Hi Helma and it was so disappointing not to see any Little Owls, we are hoping they will appear later but with all the Buzzards we have its difficult to say. Glad you enjoyed the Butterflies, this was a test to see how I got on using the 600 mm lens at a reasonable distance. The Sandpiper was a real bonus and such a beautiful bird. The Barn Owls are really coming on but still keeping in the box and I think they will be with a little longer yet. Thanks for your visit, all the best, John

  9. Completo y extraordinario reportaje amigo mio. Las fotos de las águilas pescadora son fantásticas, me han encantado. Ya veo que las lechuzas están preparadas para emanciparse, las hemos visto crecer gracias a ti. Un abrazo desde España.

  10. Hola German,Los Ospreys realmente se han desarrollado en la ultima semano o dos , pero a principios de esta semana la hembra juvenil no regreso al nido una noche, no estamos seguros como ella va al sur temprano??. Los Barn Owls son marvillosos y he tenido muchas horas felices observandolos desde mi piel. No passara mucho tiempo antes de que nos dejen por desgracia. Todo la mejor de Inglaterra. John

  11. Delightful blog! So varied in content. Love the shots of Wood Sandpiper and the Linnets and the on going story of your Barn Owls and the Ospreys is so interesting. Now I know the set-up with the owl boxes! M

  12. Hi Margaret, so pleased you have enjoyed your visit, the Wood Sandpiper was a real bonus for me and the Linnets, usually see more of them at Eyebrook. At least you can see our Barnie box set up. Just going out for a while in the hide. Thanks for the cuppa and biscuits, hope you both have a good break. John

  13. Good morning John: An amazing series of images of a wide range of species. This all goes to prove that if you take the time to get to know your local area well there are so many secrets to be discovered. As always, I applaud your stewardship of Barn Owls and very much enjoy getting reports of their progress. Have a great weekend, John. Miriam joins me in sending you our very best wishes.

  14. Hi Both, I' sure you can remember sitting and watching the left hand box when the female Barn Owl came out and had a stretch, great memories. I had a wonderful afternoon on duty with the highlight being the Wood Sandpiper, such a lovely bird. All the Barn Owls are coming on well and are flying around the garden and into the trees at the back. No signs of them hunting for themselves as yet. Our best wishes to you both.

  15. Hi John!! Great post.. Nice varied of birds. Love Ospreys and Barn owls.. Have a great week ahead

  16. Hi Ana, we had a good duty with the highlight being the Wood Sandpiper and of course the Ospreys having a chase about. The Barn Owls are coming on well but still difficult to get some reasonable images due to the light and weather, its been awful with rain most days. You have a good week, 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.
Free counters!