So where's the snow?

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

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Spring is coming (Please!)

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Most of Europe seems to be getting extra snow this March, us included. I’m sick of the sight of it now!!!!!  It’s so annoying when my garden is just emerging and it gets covered again.  So far all we’ve got is a few snow covered crocuses!

BUT the birds are returning.  Today on the birdtable a Greenfinch was sharing the food with the sparrows.  I’ve seen Thrushes and heard them singing in the early morning.  Our Robin has returned.  The Nut crackers are still here, guzzling away. And look who popped in for a snack!

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It’s now difficult to get bird food.  All the shops are on a schedule and have the Barbecue stuff in.  I managed to get an extra bag of hempseed, so my lot are ok.  In the UK I could buy birdseed all year round.  I won’t feed all year just wish they would stock later into the spring.


More bird watching mysteries

Siskin or Serin?

I still think there’s something up with the birds in the Lungau.  Usually in April my table and the ground under it are cleared by Jays and a Lesser spotted woodpecker and I’ve yet to see them.  There’s a few more Green finches, occasional Chaffinches  and a beautiful Siskin who comes every evening.  There’s even more Marsh tits than usual, who sit in lilac bush while I’m pegging our washing and shout for food.  The usual Sparrows and Great tits and Blue tits are here though. The Blackbirds are singing like there’s no tomorrow in the evenings which is wonderful.

They are all going mad for the fat, I’ve never seen the Sparrows go for fat balls but they are permanently on them, likewise they are trying to get the peanuts out of the feeder, where I thought their beaks aren’t the right shape for such feeding.  Edith has also noticed less birds this year, and she’s on the other side of the Lungau.  Could it just be that they knew the bad winter was coming and all flew further afield?  I’ve a great respect for the instinct of any aninmal over humans!

I’ve also noticed one of the Great Tits has a white streak on the back of its head, like a coal tit, but its feathers are blue and yellow, most odd, I’m trying to get a picture of it!

The birds are also feeding far more in the evenings, where as usually its the mornings.  I suppose I’ll go on putting stuff out but tail it off towards the end of the month. Still, they’ll all soon be nesting if not already, and then they’ll disappear to the mountains in May – or maybe not!

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Early birds

Not seen him this winter either

I’m writing on March 25th, although this blog will go out later. I can’t believe it, and we’ve just had our first thunderstorm of the year.  Even knocked the power out briefly!  This warm weather makes it so easy to get to think that it’ll be warm and sunny all spring, now its dark and gloomy and raining, but the garden needs it. I’m not going to be caught out this year planting stuff too early! This is our sixth spring here and I’ve never seen the like!

Also amazing, yesterday I  just saw a family of  Alpine Martins flitting around the eaves of the house, one was sat in a nest right up in the eaves, I hope I didn’t scare them off, it would be great to have some here.  But so early,  the swifts and swallows don’t usually get here until late May, early June. I’ve given the garden birds all the tail ends of the winter’s fat balls out of the nets on the table, they’re going nuts about them.  I’ve also  had to stock up of bird food as the shops now are stocking barbecue stuff, and I’ll need reserves for another month or two yet!

Does this all have any link to the ash in the atmosphere or the sun spots?  Thing is we’ll never really know, I just think its more of this wacky weather which started last spring!

I did my second office in the new job and am beginning to see a rhythm to the week and how I will fill the hours. There was ample evidence of a dog there – when I asked the boss, she said it’s an afghan puppy, maybe I need to go a bit earlier next time to see it!  Still, if I do the offices twice a week,-especially with the dog hair, I will get my hours. I just need one more day filled! And compared to the Burg, I have FOUR hoovers, and ones a Dyson!!!!!!!!


Birdwatching mysteries, what’s up?

A surprise visitor in 2009, the resident birds hid for days!

As I’ve said, my pet vultures, usually called sparrows are a great source of interest to me.  Through the past five winters I’ve watched the population grow, and they hang around here most of the year, except for a pause in the summer, no doubt on their holidays up on the Alms.  We have a resident population of Blue tits, Black headed tits and Marsh tits, and the cutest Long tailed tits arrive each winter. However this winter something is up.

Anyone know what this is?

We had the long, late, hot autumn and the birds were definitely late in returning to the garden and the feeder. The main groups didn’t even appear with the first snow but later on.  Even now in late January, we are missing most of the usual birds, one Chaffinch, no Greenfinches, Bramblings, Siskins or even Woodpeckers.   Did the hot autumn break their feeding and migration patterns, or even cause them not to feed up enough for winter?  I cant see why they would stay in the mountains with the amount of snow we’ve got! Our cat population hasn’t increased and I’ve been feeding Sunflower and Hemp seeds, peanuts and a couple of fat ballsbird feed  here is far more restricted than in England. I abandoned the local mixed food as the vultures just chucked it on the ground, hemp seeds are smaller and guzzled! 

What’s happened, is this a Europe wide thing?  Anyone else noticed?