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dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 34111
Location: yes
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 18 10:15 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote    

we do have buzzards, not as big but a bit scary if they mistake snoozing in the sun for carrion and ravens which are pretty big as corvids go but are utterly charming and rather clever. kites are a decent size and thanks to some good folk have made something of a comeback from nearly extinct in the uk, they were common street birds in medieval york.

the uk is a bit short of huge carrion avians, we have a couple of hunters that could do beagle eagle or an owl with a pussycat.

Jam Lady



Joined: 28 Dec 2006
Posts: 1925
Location: New Jersey, USA
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 18 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I don't know just what you are asking me about / referring to, dpack. I've seen great horned owls, wing span 3 to 5 feet. There are bald eagles near here on the Delaware River, wing span 6 to 7.5 feet.

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 9901

PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 18 6:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I think Dpack was adding to the list of carrion eaters that we have in the UK. You seem to do things a lot bigger in the US, perhaps because the distances are so much greater. Those great horned owls and bald eagles must be massive birds.

Continuing on the same lines as Dpack, I forgot the ravens, buzzards and kites. We see them in the wood, and I think we may have a buzzards nest near where we work as I can hear a sound that I can't fit with any other bird.

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 34111
Location: yes
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 18 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

yep i was just comparing what we have with those rather charming vultures, i spose our kites are about the same size.

iirc size is more dependant on temp and available food than on distances , with a mild maritime climate the uk has very few cold adapted animals, the few we have such as arctic hares are considerably larger than their warmer climate rellies brown hares.

the effect of people on large critters is quite important , hunting dinner for the village and especially farming/gamekeeping do not favour large " pests " or large meals if they are tasty.
dinner probably does not apply to largish carrion birds/raptors but in the uk they were nearly wiped out by keepers raising shoot birds, we still have a problem with some estates killing protected species

Jam Lady



Joined: 28 Dec 2006
Posts: 1925
Location: New Jersey, USA
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 18 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

There is a range of sizes in the local owls and hawks. If there is a niche with suitable food it will be filled.

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 34111
Location: yes
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 18 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

definitely plenty of scope to adapt to dinner be it vole or bambi.

what i was getting at was that the bigger things are often seen as a pest by humans. a mouse hunter is a pal but if billy bird can potentially lift a lamb or allegedly has a taste for "fine dining" on grouse he has been dealt with as a "problem"

as a slight aside i have heard one very credible first hand account that there was at least one puma sized cat wild/feral in the surrey heathland in the 1980's.
even if we have eliminated the bears, aurochs, wolves and lynx etc the odd interesting "menagerie skp" does seem to settle in fairly discretely

afaik there are few "uk" species that havn't colonised or recolonised since the retreat of the ice, trade has brought a few that will probably be considered "native " before too long.
i could forward a good case for mink now being "native", less than a century of escapes and releases and i recon in some areas there is a fairly stable breeding population .
they alter the watercourse ecology a lot ( dont nest just dont really just dont ).
it seems likely that they are with us for the immediate future as are things like muntjak.

uk wildlife is complicated, even the micro critter things and flora are fairly recent colonists. a couple of miles of ice is not an ideal substrate for most species so what we have is mostly arrived in the last 15000 yrs or so.

last known polar bear about 13000 yrs ago but we still have lots of seals

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 9901

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 18 5:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

We have a wild cat that we think roams along the South Downs Way around the Hampshire/Sussex border. Husband and son have definitely seen it, and I think I may have done, but thought it was a dog, so not that certain. Have a paw print in mud photographed. It has been seen recently along a track near us, and further along the South Downs Way by someone. The deer get a be nervous when it is in the area. A swamp cat was killed on a road not too far away from us a few years ago.

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 34111
Location: yes
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 18 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

the visual id thing can be tricky , paw prints are fairly strong data.

deer kills that show the marks of being choked by a big cat with sharp claws and rather big teeth to drop em and then partially eaten cat style is quite compelling as well.
ex fil was deer warden for a huge area of farms, heathland and posh gardens, he thought he had a cat about the size of a puma. he was not unfamiliar with big cats as a hunter but he could also compare the marks to those made by the 2 pet lions down the lane that he gave deer carcases that were not fit for venison. hence being quite specific about cat and puma sized. lion man was also convinced after seeing a kill site but was rather keen to point out that lion kills look rather different, their teeth were 2 times the size of the ones on kills and his two have an alibi in their secure compound.
they tried many things to see if they could "meet" it but never got closer than a rustle of bushes a few times and finding prints/kills . ( it was quite amusing in a moby dick sort of way, he was called dick just to add to the amusement of a chap hunting a "personal "beast, that didn’t go down well )
he said there was a big pussy eating deer i believe it he had many faults but in some things he was stunningly realistic and the forensics were very compelling.

iirc the keeping "dangerous" animals laws of the late 1970's led to quite a few being set free to avoid the costs of zoo quality security etc.
as there are so few well documented examples now it seems unlikely there is a breeding population of big cats but folk do still have "hidden tiger" etc as status pets so a few getting loose is possible and would explain relatively isolated, shortish timescale ( more than a couple of years is unusual ) sightings and encounters.
imho most reports are mistaken id but a few have beyond reasonable dought data ( if the data is true ).
that does beg the question of why are there no trophies on walls? if i wanted something shot ex fil would be a good candidate for a trigger man, he didnt get his one.
it does seem a bit unusual that active measures and road traffic have not provided a specimen and most of the photos are open to interpretation. afaik there is no reliable fur or dung sample analysis data, etc

re mistaken id my wolf was mistaken for a bear when he said hello to a couple in the woods and i know of a GSD shaved for mange treatment that caused a lion panic by pottering about with a mane and tail tuft

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 9901

PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 18 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Son agrees with the source being the 1970s law, but he thinks there might be a small breeding colony. There have been sightings round here for a very long time. The latest was by a man walking his dog in a green lane quite near our woods, and both he and the cat were quite surprised by the encounter I think. It seems to range along the south downs way, so has a pretty large territory.

Changing the subject rather, we went our with some people doing a bat survey of our woods last night. Packed up early at about 11.30pm as we all had other things to do this morning. Caught 2 natterer bats; one male one female, a pipestrelle and a brown long eared bat and detected a soprano pipestelle and a serotine. We got a score of 6 last year, so not too bad, and very dependent on how they feel that evening. Nothing spectacular, but shows a healthy woodland anyway.

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 34111
Location: yes
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 18 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

long duration visitations would indicate more than one generation or multiple releases , i can see no reason why some cat species could not thrive in the uk. the geographic ranges of quite a few are similar enough to the uk in climate, food types etc etc.

iirc we had medium and large pussys in the past, some were "native" between the retreat of the ice and the establishment of farming so the environment can be suitable

a quick check revealed that several have been captured, shot or found dead these all seem to have been released/escaped and your downland ones are quite famous if rather elusive.

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 9901

PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 18 6:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

If they have been released, it has been over quite a long time. We have been working the woods 16 years now, and it was known before that, so say at least 20 years.

Jam Lady



Joined: 28 Dec 2006
Posts: 1925
Location: New Jersey, USA
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 18 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I have a hummingbird! Bought a feeder yesterday morning. Made up the sugar / water solution yesterday afternoon. Let it cool. Put it out about 4:00 p.m. And this morning there has been a hummingbird visiting! Happy, happy Jam Lady.

lowri



Joined: 18 Oct 2006
Posts: 1238
Location: ceredigion
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 18 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

A few years ago an "urban" friend came to stay, and in the middle of tea stared out of the window in horror and said "There is a huge black animal skulking along the top of your field. It looks like a panther or something". Now I know there are optical illusions depending on the landscape, and ditto depending on the viewer!
Actually it was Uncle, who was a perfectly normal-sized black farm cat of mine, strolling along the hedge on his way home after a forage somewhere. The field rises away from the house. Possibly said friend had bad eyesight - but how many similar "sightings of dangerous animals" have there been over the years?

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 34111
Location: yes
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 18 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Jam Lady wrote:
I have a hummingbird! Bought a feeder yesterday morning. Made up the sugar / water solution yesterday afternoon. Let it cool. Put it out about 4:00 p.m. And this morning there has been a hummingbird visiting! Happy, happy Jam Lady.


wow, i had no idea they were native to your neck of the woods, they are rather charming going by the ones i met in an aviary/butterfly house.

photos might be a bit of a challenge even in good light but pretty please

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 9901

PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 18 5:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

That sounds amazing Jam Lady. We don't get them in the wild here, only humming bird hawk moths, and they are amazing enough. Agree with Dpack, a photo if you can please.

Lowri, I am sure some sightings are of large cats with the distance difficult to judge, but if the paw print we saw and have a picture of was of a domestic cat, it had very outsized feet.

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