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Mark Feather

Latest posts by Mark Feather

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What bird of prey would attack a skein of geese?

Posted: 28/10/2015 at 10:21

Falcons inc Peregrines, Sparrow hawks, Merlin and Hobby give chase when hunting there food in the air and rarely pounce on prey in trees or on the ground.

Buzzards, Eagles, Kites and Harriers normally quarter an area of land to sneak up and pounce on the ground when hunting and rarely take prey in the air.

There are always exceptions to the rules though.

A peregrine or a Goshawk would have no problem harassing a skein of geese on migration, both would take a goose as prey in the air.

Geese only harass other birds on the nest when breeding to keep predators away from eggs and young and wouldn't waste there time harassing another species the rest of the year. Herons, Crows and birds of prey will harass each other readily all year round.

Young, immature Kites, Buzzards and Harriers will "Try It On" with flocks of Geese and Ducks low over marshes and fens but give in very quickly and the geese and ducks don't get too excited.

Skein's of geese usually fly high, higher than an Eagle, Kite, Buzzard or Harrier would normally interest them.

I think that your bird of Prey was almost certainly a Peregrine Falcon and an immature bird too trying it on not really knowing for sure just what its capable of yet.

A Peregrine will take, kill and carry a Mallard no problem, a goose is really testing the limits of a powerful falcon but a youngster has a lot to learn and when hungry will have a go at anything.

There are other larger European Falcons that will take, kill and carry geese on the wing but these are very rare in the uk.

A skein of geese wouldn't even flinch at the sight of an Eagle, Buzzard, Kite or Harrier, Crow(s) or Herron(s) on migration and they wouldn't bother them. A Falcon or a Goshawk would very definitely upset them as these birds do pose a serious threat.

Geese, Ducks and Eagles inc Sea Eagles live together largely harmoniously not normally bothering each other outside the breeding season.

Plug Plants

Posted: 28/10/2015 at 09:41

Hoping someone can help.

I'm wanting to purchase some plug plants of:


Cuckoo Flower




Is it too late or the wrong time of year to do this now, if so what time of year would be the best time to do this?

Low Germination Rates

Posted: 05/06/2015 at 15:31

Thank you to all for your replies and input, my seeds are a mixture I have to admit.

Some are my own seeds from last years crop and some are seeds that I bought year before last.

I've always used a mixture of the two though and I've always waited until mid / late May before placing the seeds directly into the ground. Never had a problem in past years doing this.

Reading through some of the posts here and thinking about the weather, I think May was cooler than average and very much up and down. Some warm days but cold nights too but not so cold to get a frost. So perhaps this is my problem this year and i'll have to accept that I won't get much in the way of French and Runner Beans this year.

The loss of a good crop this year now means that I'm going to have to buy fresh seeds for next year, not such a bad idea though to do this every few years.

Keeping Cats off of Garden - Tried and Tested Ideas only please

Posted: 04/06/2015 at 23:47

I have the greatest admiration for the cat as a species in all its forms but nothing makes my blood boil more than seeing a domestic cat entering my garden for the birds or a dump.

Get a Border Terrier, a small dog bred as a fox and vermin hunter, Even Tempered, Alert, Obedient, Fearless, Intelligent and Affectionate. Very economical to run and look after, no health or hereditary medical problems. Lives 12 to 15yrs

Likes nothing better than chasing and catching vermin and always wins!

Although scientists and conservationists are fighting to save our Scottish Wild Cat and restore the animals genetic DNA there doomed to fail, all because of the Domestic Cat.

What my neighbour did!

Posted: 04/06/2015 at 23:02

I think Privet Hedge is a hungry plant and a thirsty one too.  I've found that soil under a Privet Hedge to be very dry even after rain.

I find that a seriously good watering for a good few hours before a liquid feed every couple of weeks works a treat even if its been raining.

The more often a Privet Hedge is cut back the faster it fights back too. A light trimming fortnightly even if you think it doesn't need trimming is better than cutting it 2 or 3 times a season and you don't get overwhelmed by the volume of clippings to get rid of or compost.

In any holes and low down nip off the growing tips between your thumb and finger, this encourages vigorous new growth / bushing out. A long boring laborious job though but those holes quickly fill up and your hedge soon looks good all the way down to the ground.

Low Germination Rates

Posted: 04/06/2015 at 22:34

Is anybody else suffering low germination rates of seeds this year especially beans?

French and Runner Bean seeds this year especially bad.

I have always waited and planted my bean seeds straight into the ground and I get a near 100% success rate.

This year only 10 to 20% of both my French & Runner beans have germinated. I planted what I have left in pots in the green house and I've suffered the same loss.

Other seeds sown into the ground, Parsnips, Carrots and Chard not doing very well either this year, low germination rate and not moving on very well.

And yet the Radish are the best ever, the Onions are doing well, in fact everything else is doing very well, oh except the Croquettes, still looking a little yellow but quite normal for now.

Oh the Sweet Corn seeds are an almost total disaster, 30 seeds and I only have 2 plants!  All the seeds were full of worms even though they were supposed to be coated with a special coating to give 100% success!

The Broad Beans have all germinated but the plants are half there normal size but laden heavily with flowers.

attaracting birds to my garden

Posted: 02/04/2015 at 22:06

Interesting that nobody has asked Josh where the garden is!

Town, City, Coastal, Moors. How far south, north, east or west.

Is the garden already sheltered or exposed, wet or dry.

How big is it?

What wildlife, birds, mammals and butterflies are nearby already.  

Moving an Old Berberis Darwinii

Posted: 10/02/2015 at 14:42

Decided that its died, aw well I tried, never mind.

Going to buy a new one now and get it in asap.

Orange Flowered Climbers

Posted: 25/06/2014 at 12:23

From the roadside and to someone passing by it looks seriously impressive indeed. I realised it was plastic as soon as I was stood by the side of it at the front door, bear in mind I assumed it was the real thing and I was very disappointed. I didn't bother to knock on the door and left.

Knowing it was plastic from the roadside it looked false and far too good to be true.

I didn't hang around, I didn't look at it in any detail but I assume that it was mounted on the wall in several repeated sections, each section not joined onto but touching the next which gave the impression from a distance of one larger continuous  plant.

Stood by the side of it, it was clearly plastic and you can get some seriously good plastic plants today now even close up you have look real close to tell.

Orange Flowered Climbers

Posted: 25/06/2014 at 12:02

Thank you everybody for your replies, been back for another look.

It looked just as impressive as it was a few weeks back, this time I went over to visit friends in my own vehicle and stopped to have a good look.

Decided to walk up the garden path and have a look / knock on the owners door when I quickly realised the plant was Plastic!!!!!!!!!! 

It is a "Black Eyed Susan Vine" but a plastic one!


Sorry to have troubled everybody.

1 to 10 of 34

Discussions started by Mark Feather

Plug Plants

When to buy & plant 
Replies: 1    Views: 226
Last Post: 28/10/2015 at 10:01

Low Germination Rates

Replies: 12    Views: 502
Last Post: 06/06/2015 at 06:48

Orange Flowered Climbers

Hardy Perennial 
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Last Post: 25/06/2014 at 13:24

Snow Drop Or Not?

What is this Plant? 
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Last Post: 14/11/2013 at 20:26

Moving an Old Berberis Darwinii

Preparing, Digging Out & Moving an Old Berberis 
Replies: 42    Views: 3872
Last Post: 10/02/2015 at 18:22

Gardening For Wildlife

From The Begining! 
Replies: 15    Views: 1255
Last Post: 08/02/2013 at 13:29
6 threads returned