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Jim Macd

Latest posts by Jim Macd

Large bird of prey

Posted: 04/02/2014 at 17:42

Hi Dove,

No, I didn't I'll do that too. We don't get Kestrels in the garden but do get a male and female sparrow hawk in very regularly, there's always a pile of feathers somewhere. The bird feeder has more than one meaning here. 

I'm glad my dogs are big Jack Russles though.

Large bird of prey

Posted: 04/02/2014 at 14:14

Thanks for that Dove, I tried regiestering the sighting yesterday but couldn't find the link. I was so excited I phoned my partner at work and rabbited on for five minutes about it then got an nervous laugh, 'Jim, I've got the auditors with me.' They were very understanding.

Large bird of prey

Posted: 03/02/2014 at 18:48
B Karen wrote (see)

Could be a Buzzard?  Was it flying high across open land?

No, no more than 10' over my garden, looking for food no doubt. It just moved so slowly and effortlessly, not a flap, not a ruffle of a feather, just looked about as it swooped past, then behind a tree and away. I was completely mesmerised.  I've looked through page after page of photos and the closes thing to what it looked like is this.


 I know that sounds ludicrous that a Golden Eagle flew over my garden in Durham but nothing else really fits the bill plumage-wise and my first thought was it was like watching a western on TV. the colour of this is spot on. The size makes me doubt it was actually and Eagle though, but it was side on to me and it had its wings swept back, not in a dive but something between a dive and glide. 

Thanks for your suggestions everyone. Just looked at the site I got the first photo from again. I think the female Hen Harrier is the most likely suggestion. 

Large bird of prey

Posted: 03/02/2014 at 15:41

I was just taking a break after planting a load of shrubs when across the middle of my garden flew the biggest bird other than a seagull I've ever seed close up. It was so surreal. It took me a second to comprehend that I was NOT watching it on TV! Oh my gariboldis I've just seen an eagle! I thought. It really did look like an eagle, big, but not meters across, chocolate brown with a white patch on the base of it's tale. I was so stunned I didn't even jump out of my chair to see it fly away behind the trees. I think this is probably what I saw, but the head was very much like an eagle and the colouring seemed much more sold brown and white more prominent. But I was in shock!

Hen Harrier





Guelder Rose

Posted: 03/02/2014 at 11:29

Good question, if it isn't labeled of course you don't know, but if you buy in winter, the ones with the leaves are probably the ones you want if you want evergreen. Any native shrub is going to be good, some are better but if it's native and produces berries, you can be sure something will eat it otherwise there's no point in the plant putting resources into making berries. You really don't need to look up Callicarpa to know they aren't native. Personally I think they look like tacky Christmas decorations but if you like them it's your garden. There's loads of good websites listing the best plants for wildlife. You can't go wrong with Hawthorn and Ivy growing through it, mix in some blackberries and raspberries and you've got a great wildlife hedge. Everything else is your choice and taste. 

Guelder Rose

Posted: 02/02/2014 at 19:33

Yeah, you don't want to buy the Japanese stuff, this is the kind you'll see in every other garden in the country and of very little wildlife benefit. 

By the way, my Wild Privet are still completely green with the mild winter we've had. They come very easily from hardwood cuttings too if you want to be frugal, or stool them, plant your plants a couple of inches deeper than the nurser, then dig them up next year and divide them up.

Guelder Rose

Posted: 01/02/2014 at 19:27

Yeah, just think of all those purple pavements in autumn after the birds have been at the Elderberries. They are native don't forget. 

Funny, the car park at my favourite garden centre is always packed, yet you go into the garden centre and it's empty, just the staff. Where's all the people with the cars? In the cafe!

look at what I found

Posted: 01/02/2014 at 17:58


look at what I found

Posted: 01/02/2014 at 17:05

Thanks for sharing that I didn't know anything about that and a good friend of mine was the deputy head entomologist at London zoo (I always think that should be the name for a tree specialist )

Guelder Rose

Posted: 01/02/2014 at 16:50

Yeah, you could get some pretty cheap stakes put some wire between and grow the Clematis on that if you want to go Clematis way. But I'm sure your neighbour wouldn't mind if you put some brass screws into the posts and put wire between for supporting your climber. 

I meant to add to my last statement above about the Rambling Rector that it grew 3 meters in the first year. It's been in just two now and has almost filled or at least softened the large gap I bought it for. It would probably be too big for your space but it would certainly grow faster than anything else I could name. Did I also mention that it has beautiful scent and rage clusters of smei-double flowers. The bees still get a good helping of pollen and nectar. It isn't native though. 

Another native with berries and is evergreen is Ligustrum vulgare. Now, the British origin ones are not fully evergreen but the Italian origin ones are. If you go for that one be very careful not to get confused with Ligustrum ovalifolium, the common privet, L. vulgare has berries since it flowers much earlier in its life that the common privet, which is from Japan. L.v. has the same kind of white flowers, smells very nice and attracts bees and butterflies. The berries are poisonous to us but the birds eat them. 

If you don' have Viburnum opulus though, I do recommend it. It's so lovely. A bit unruly if you want something formal but I doubt you do if you want a wildlife plant. 

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