Wednesday, 6 February 2019


I decided after last weeks encounter that we had with the three Short-eared Owls to have another visit to Eyebrook Reservoir to hopefully get some more images of these birds, so arriving at Eyebrook at 12.40 hrs. I had a quick look about for the Smew and after eventually finding seven with the help of a gents scope as they were very distant, he had also seen two Goosander , these were on the very far side of the reservoir and were impossible to see without a scope and not that easy then. I then moved farther down towards the dam and eventually found a Smew somewhat closer and as usual just had to get an image.

I then thought I would go and see if any Shorties were about and after interruptions from Red Kites on the journey around I arrived at the gateway where they were previously seen and after about fifteen minutes and with no signs I decided to move on as I had Red Kites flying about everywhere. By the end of the afternoon I had seen nearly forty  Kites, mind as to whether any of those were double sightings.

So again after about half an hour I returned to the gateway for another look for the Shorties and spent a very cold half an hour watching for any signs but again no sightings. Another gent then turned up and he reported he had seen all three birds at 09.30 hrs that morning so we still had the birds, just not showing at the moment where I was watching.

I had another quick drive around the reservoir before returning to the gateway for the Shorties where I spent the rest of the afternoon but without any sightings, but they have such a large area to hunt over, I will return again for another try.

Sparrow Hawk, Our Garden.

Not such good light as previous but again spotted by my wife, it did not stay long, I just managed this image and as I was checking to see if my setting were correct it flew.

Long-tailed Tit, Eddie and Margaret's garden.

I had visited my farmer friends and whilst enjoying a cup of tea and a few biscuits we noticed some Long-tailed Tits at the feeders in the garden. These are a bird I have never managed a decent image from {and still haven't} as they never appear to keep still for any length of time at all, so it was up with the camera and open the back door slowly and have a try before they departed.


The following images were taken whilst travelling to and whilst at the Reservoir. This proved to a windy and cool visit but reasonably eventful with the Buzzards and Red Kites but unfortunately not the Shorties.

Buzzard, Near Little Owl Site No. 4.

I rounded a corner and saw this bird sat on top of this pole and managed to stop about 60 metres away and pull slightly onto the verge {without getting stuck} to give me an angle to get the bird from the car window, the second I finished and started the engine, the bird flew away, they really are such nervous birds.

Buzzard on the Road into Eyebrook.

Another pale bird this time I did not get as close, they are such a proud looking bird.
Also good to see the buds on the tree looking full.

Just to show how cluttered with branches the bird was, if I had tried to get closer more branches would have covered the bird, I also doubt if the bird would have remained.

Buzzard Near Horninghold Village.

This bird was even more buried in branches. Very similar markings to the previous bird.

Buzzard Near The Shortie Gateway.

 This bird sat on the same pole as the SEO image was taken on last week, 250 metres away. This being a very pale bird.

Red Kite, Near Stockerstone Village.

I always think the top of the wing is worth an image, beautiful markings.

This bird was one of four that were circling together towards the top of the hill between Stockerstone and Horninghold Villages.

Another of the same group, slightly different wing feathering.

Third bird of the group.

Fourth bird, this has a totally different wing colouration, after this they suddenly were away.

This bird certainly appears to have me spotted, but still just lazily circled across the road and adjacent fields.

They are such wonderful birds to watch in flight with the use of the tail feathers as a rudder.

Another bird that appears to have me spotted,this one was at the Shortie gateway.

Same bird as above, mind would have still rather seen a Shortie or two.

Smew Drake, Near the Island.

This shows the problem when they are that much farther away, this bird was about 150 metres away. When they get to be in excess of 300 metres and in amongst the gulls they are so difficult to pick out without a scope.

Thank you for your visit, I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I did in the getting of the images, mind I would have enjoyed it more if the Shorties has turned up.


  1. Hello John, these are again some stunning photos. Most impressing for me are the Red Kites. Wow.

  2. Hi Roos,
    I had a wonderful afternoon with the Red Kites, I think with it being so cold they were out in force looking for food.
    Thanks for the visit.
    All the best, John

  3. What a beautiful pheasant! So colourful! Love the buzzard on the post and fabulous shots of Red Kites in flight.
    The long tailed Tit image has turned out well and they have been feeding again today. M

  4. Hi Margaret,
    Pheasants are such a beautiful bird, as you say so colourful.
    I see some that are more silver to the back and looked out for one yesterday, as the shooting has finished they appear to be more confident at showing themselves but not yesterday.
    Saw far fewer Red Kites yesterday but got a super image of a very pale Buzzard, have sent it to Rhys incase its a Honey Buzzard.
    I will have another go at the Long tailed Tits, such a busy little bird.
    Well done with the comment.
    All the best, John

  5. Outstanding shots John, you share the most magnificent birds and especially love the ones in flight but those on the trees are impressive also. The long tailed Tit is such a sweet bird. Also the pheasant in your header is very striking in his colors. Thank you for sharing your bird sightings John, always a great pleasure to see.

  6. Hi Denise,
    And thank you, I get great enjoyment in the taking of flight image, and the Red Kites are such a subject to capture, not always that easy to follow especially on a windy day.
    My farmer friends wife tells me she is seeing the Long-tailed Tits on a regular basis so I'm sure I will get another chance with them.
    Cock Pheasants are such a beautifully coloured bird and these are safe as the shooting has finished, it seems such a shame to shoot something so beautiful.
    All the best, John

  7. Hi John,
    I read that you saw field owls again but that they were a little too far away to photograph. You would also see red kites there.
    The Sparrow Hawk in your own garden is great! You might not quite like the leichthicht but I would jump into the air if a sparrow yard would land in my garden !!

    The little tail tit is so cute and the buzzard is super nice and sharp! You make me very jealous with the fantastic pictures of the red kite !!! Really beautiful images of the red kite in flight ohhhhh ........ really great!

    You laate to the picture of the smew and the seagull next to each other is very nice hihi ......
    I have enjoyed your John again.

    Think about yourself and have a very nice new week.

    Kind regards, Helma

  8. Hi Dear Helma,
    My friends came again to visit this week but did not get stuck, he has got a 4 wheel drive so as to avoid the mut splattering.

    The Shorties were not helpful this time but they will be with us for some time more so I'm hopeful for some more successful visits.

    The Red Kites I really enjoy seeing, they are wonderful to watch in flight with the tail being used as a rudder, the Kites in flight images I enjoy taking.

    The Buzzards were a bonus but unfortunately were partially hidden behind some branches, I managed a better image on Thursday of a much paler bird.

    I posted the image of the Smew with the Gull to show how at a distance its so difficult to recognise as to which bird is which.

    As for the Sparrow Hawk I was glad to see it go, its the last bird I want about our land with having the Barn Owls, luckily it does not visit very often.

    You look after yourself and have a good week.

    All the best, John

    1. Hello my friend John,
      happy but that your friends are not stuck this time (I read it in your comment in your previous blog)
      It is nice that the Shorties stay for a while. I will also try again to see them :-)
      On the flying Red Kite I am really jealous yes !!! That is so beautiful!
      It is also often difficult to see from a distance which birds are in front of your lens and especially if they have the same color the same size ;-)

      I also wish you a very nice new week.

  9. Hi Helma,
    I am hoping the Shorties will stay for another month but can tell nature what to do.
    I'm surprised you don't see Red Kites.
    All the best, John

  10. The sheer number of Red Kites is staggering, John. I remember visiting Britain not so many years ago when even seeing one was an event to be celebrated. Buzzards too seem to have increased in recent years. Great coverage of raptors in this post.

  11. Hi David,
    The Red Kites appear to be doing if anything over well, we have so many but they are spreading so hopefully they will even out. Eyebrook is close to one of the sites where they were translocated to. I must admit I am very fond of the Kites, magical to watch in flight.
    I am not seeing so many Buzzards as in previous years so maybe they are levelling out in numbers.
    Just wish I could have seen more of the Shorties.
    All the best, John

    1. Buzzards around the Little Owl sites must be a bit of a concern. I imagine that a Litle Owl might be a fairly easy target for a hungry Buzzard. A Sparrowhawk would be even more of a threat I am sure.

    2. Hi David,
      I'm sure that Buzzards have been a major problem at some sites, my farmer friends that had several Little Owls about the farm have lost them all and only since they have had Buzzards appear.
      The bigger worry is that we have had a Buzzard starting to visit the back and I saw it day or two ago sitting on the roof of the small Barn Owl box, the adults at the moment are in the large box. As soon as I see it I go out and move the bird on, lets hope it gets the message.
      Look for image in my next post.
      All the best to you both, 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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