Monday 10 November 2014


When I started to blog Harry and Cathi advised me that most gardeners loved birds and that pictures of animals might attract attention. Cathi as a publisher - of self published books, both paper and ethereal - even promoted me on wildlife blogs. Her idea was that if folk came to my site they might stay to read about the plants.
Although I love animals and have an intense interest in things biological my eyes only see plants. When Rowena visits she sits by my ponds and observes animal life invisible to me. When Harry Poole used to call round every day, with eyes like a hawk, he would point out all manner of wildlife including the activities of my crested newts. Unfortunately with similar acuity he would spot blemishes on our house and the rest of our property. Fortunately he would volunteer his expertise to repair them. Oh how we  miss him and now our house is falling down! 

Proud father

Harry was the most gifted photographer I have ever met. His pictures were - and still are - available for me to use on my blog. A modest man, he forbade me to use his name. I built up a reputation of being rather good with a camera. Folk know better now! These pictures of jays have sat on my computer for over a year now. I have not had the heart to publish them and preferred to write about things I pretend to actually know.

In fact my first wildlife photographs were taken by Brenda and me! Harry was in the picture! With his afore mentioned observational skills he had seen a sparrow hawk fly into my open garage, become trapped and distressed. I forgot to mention he had animal management skills too and in no time at all he had an angry, arrogant and fearless  sparrow hawk quite still in his cupped hands. What a fluke, the light was superb. Brenda and I took turns to naively snap away! The sparrow hawk glared at us with a look of distain.

At the end of this post I will help you to recall some of the fine pictures Harry gave me. All his pictures were taken in our own gardens.

The Eurasian Jay is widely distributed over Europe and Asia. It exists in very distinct local guises. I wonder how much hybridisation has contributed to this diversity?

Jays particularly like acorns and cache them for future occasions. I wonder what deception they use when hiding them? 

Jays have very variable cries which they use to confuse both predators and prey as well as their neighbours.

Look at those expressive eyes
Recalling Harry’s pictures

This post illustrates the fun Harry added to our lives


  1. Your friend Harry had a great gift Roger. We had a pair? of Jays for about a month and then they disappeared roughly a month ago, this is the first time I have ever seen them in the garden. I could always tell when they were around as they normally have a very coarse call, much more so than the other members of the Crow Family.

    1. Thanks for your helpful comment Rick - I was beginning to think nobody was reading this post!

    2. Probably the time of year Roger?

    3. We will just have to chat amongst ourselves!
      I enjoyed your latest post showing your garden's Autumn colour and was interested in your comment about the hybridity of cotoneaster. I am preparing a long post on hybridity, a three parter over the Winter. Its a bit controversial. You don't have a picture of Primula kewensis I could use by any chance?
      My next post is from Peter Williams who last year did a fine article on rhododendrons.I think he will get plenty of comment!

    4. Surely not a controversial post from you Roger? Heaven forbid! Sorry can't help with the kewensis picture, look forward to seeing the result.


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