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Jim Macd

Latest posts by Jim Macd

Hardwood cuttings from apple

Posted: 06/02/2014 at 14:43


You might be able to take a Hardwood cutting, take a two foot piece containing 2 year old wood, plunge into prepared ground now and see what happens. Though grafting is definitely the best way, I'm sure you don't want an apple on its own roots. Blackmoors are your best bet for rootstocks. You can get good advice on grafting from Youtube but I would take care with which vids you watch. Stephen Hayes is very good. You'll need to take your scion now and store it in moist tissue in a plastic bag in the fridge until March ish depending on weather. I've grafted as late as August and it took as long as the scion is stored well.

Plant ID please

Posted: 06/02/2014 at 14:32

When I was studying in York the Uni grounds were seeded with Veronica, it looked incredible and I was sold for life. That photo's not great so it looks like Epilobium to me but it is more likely to be Daisy. I'm at work and our out dated OS won't let me zoom in to the right bit.

Large bird of prey

Posted: 06/02/2014 at 11:34

yes it was.

Wow, must have been a great holiday. I'd love to go to Skye, I've been to Scotland a few times but not Skye.

Large bird of prey

Posted: 05/02/2014 at 19:01

Hiya Verdun, well, as they say, lives a journey not a destination. Dove, I joined their forum, I'll have to get stuck in. I just did a bit more googling, it helps when you get the right phrase in, but still had to load a good few pages before I found better photos like what I saw. 

This is pretty much the angle I saw it at.

But comparing the tail colour and length of these too I'm pretty convinced it was the Female Hen Harrier. Phew, my dogs are safe


Large bird of prey

Posted: 05/02/2014 at 18:27

Thanks all, I did consider buzzard, I looked at anything I could think of because 'Eagle' sounded so ridiculous, but the colour is the one thing that keeps me coming back to an Eagle and the Hen Harriers look too light, weight-wise and the colour isn't solid like the bird I saw. So hard to gauge the size, it wasn't that far away from me, about 20 ft at the most, it was slow in the air, it didn't move a wing at all except to bank around the next doors bungalow and all the time looking left to right, scanning the ground. 

If only I'd have jumped out of my seat to see it fly away and get a different view of it. The only time I saw anything but the profile was when it banked slightly as it went over the neighbours garden and behind the tree. I can't help feeling the speed of it moving gives a hint of the size. Though in moments like that time slows down doesn't it?

Verdun, did you mean with a handler? You had me excited for second.

I suppose I'll never know unless I hear of someone else seeing it. Well thanks so much everyone for your suggestions and comments I really appreciate it and I feel I've learned a bit more about birds of prey and will join the RSPB. 

Large bird of prey

Posted: 04/02/2014 at 18:08

Clueless Gardener and Fariy Gilrl, thanks. I know what you mean FG. I did only see it from the side and it had its wings pulled back. It was a big bird but because it was in profile I couldn't really gauge exactly how big, just nose to tail. I'd really not wish it to be an eagle but however I feel won't change what it was or wasn't it's really only my curiosity that I want to satisfy. But how great an achievement for Durham Wildlife Trust would it be if it really were an eagle? I'm pretty sure it wasn't a sea eagle though, they've got beaks like Dodo's.

Seing this photo though makes me feel more accepting that it was an eagle

The wings weren't in a very different position to this either. Its legs were tucked up so I didn't see them. Looking at the Hen Harriers I can't help feeling they look too small. And it doesn't have to have been a wild bird or/and it could have been swept well away from home with all the bad weather we had. 


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





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