So where's the snow?

Muddling through in Austria; God, life and a small black dog

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This year has been a good one for mice. In one of our holiday houses, they’ve been coming in since the beginning of September. They’ve got in the water meter reading station.  Eaten my apples in the cellar right down until there’s just a mark in the crate. Fighting with the birds for the peanuts. They’re big mice too. When I asked the chimney sweep, he says it’s like this all over the Lungau.

‘It means it’s going to be a very cold winter,’ he said in tones of deep foreboding.

But is this plague not simply the result of a very successful breeding summer for the mice? They couldn’t possibly grow so big if there hadn’t been a lot of food and the right conditions? Or maybe in the past, a warm summer was followed by a colder winter? Often local sayings are right, so I’m off to buy some more fire wood…

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These quite stunning birds are usually very shy, but it seems a family has found my bird table and are stuffing their faces!  They tend to fill their crops and fly away, I guess to bury the sunflower seeds.  They are beautiful, but they scare the smaller birds, so I find myself scaring them away when I see them feeding. They tend not to be here in the winter, so maybe I am being a bit mean!!

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Since the demise of Paggy, the Bullfinches have been coming to my bird table. This year they stayed and had babies. I feel honoured!

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Passing through

Anyone know what this bird is that stopped by us last week?

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Dead things


Dead, squashed mole!

This wet and humid summer is playing havoc with the wildlife. While I’ve been out with the dog, there’s been dead moles all over the place and many dead fledglings. The moles I guess have been washed out, unable to find the worms maybe. The fledglings wet and not many bugs to be fed upon with this rain, bees and butterflies don’t fly!!


The result is, in middle August, I’ve started feeding the birds who’ve come down to avoid the storms. I’ve got about six Bullfinches,  some sparrows, I’ve seen chaffinches, most of the tit family and greenfinches. They certainly are hungry! The Robins are back, I love their chattering, clicking song, reminds me of when my son was born!  The Fieldfares are forming into groups now the Vogelberries are ripening. And I’m seeing more and more field pigeons which have arrived since us, nine years ago.

Its now late August and it feels more autumnal than late summer. The farmers have been cutting hay when they can, I can see it going on until September, but I wonder of the quality of the hay when its all so full of water! The thunderstorms have been incredible too! Inbetween the wet has been beautiful weather, just wish there was more of it!


Bird Famine


Not only has the local bird population been decimated by a certain puppy picking off the Greenfinches, all this winter there’s been very few birds in the garden. The Bullfinches never came back, and there’s only a few tits, Great, blue and crested, and the field sparrows. I think the mice ate more sunflower seeds in the autumn. And the cause? Well maybe the warm winter, but more likely, all the trees that were around Paggy’s back garden have been felled, destroying the habitat. I don’t suppose the birds will come back with no motorway from his pace to mine. Such a shame. But as I write, the birds are starting to sing, maybe we’ll have some new ones in spring!


Changing bird population


Since we’ve been here in the Lungau, I’ve been watching the bird population in an idle sort of way. Our first winter we had a flock of Bramblings visit and loads of Long tailed tits. Now maybe it’s due to us cutting down the tree the all used to sit in, I don’t know, but the the Bramblings have never returned and the tits come through in the winter in smaller groups . The Woodpecker hasn’t been here for a few years either.


We always have a small group of members of most of the Tit family and of course the Field Sparrows, most of which disappear in the summer to the hills. This year, because I’ve kept on with the sunflower seeds I have a large family of Greenfinches, Great tits and two pairs of Bullfinches.

A certain puppy caught about 5 of the Greenfinches and they have now gone elsewhere along with the Bullfinches.


But the biggest change has been the arrival of Fieldfares. There was a really good crop of Mountain ash berries a couple of years ago and a huge flock came through and stayed to munch and a lot have stayed. I’ve seen for the first time Pigeons here, and even young ones- surely an effect of the percieved warming.  There’s more Goldfinches too, but less Chaffinches.


He still pops by sometimes to terrorise the Sparrows!

Just a naturally fluctuation? Maybe we’ll have storks nesting here before long!!

I Wonder who’ll come this winter?