So where's the snow?

Muddling through in Austria, God and life, teaching and gardening plus the occasional cow


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Passing through

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


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Dead things

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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!!

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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!


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Changing bird population

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?


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Bullfinch Baby

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Paggy’s Bullfinches have stayed the summer, especially as I’ve kept up the sunflower seeds, and recently they brought their new baby to feed from the table.

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So excited was I, shots aren’t quite in focus, hmmmmmmmm

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One upshot of me feeding the Bullfinches is that I’ve also been feeding an extended family of Greenfinches and Great Tits, all of whom bicker and argue about sharing the table. And there’s a certain puppy that has caught four of them and brought them in to me as trophies……

I’ve gone through nearly 25kg of sunflower seeds in about six weeks, I can see that this winter I’ll have to restrict the amount I put out or we’ll be going without to keep them fed!


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New arrivals

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We managed to get a quick shot of the baby Flycatchers when Mum was off the nest, glaring at us from a distance.  Looks as though there are four. So they survived the storms, now we’re hoping they fledge soon and we can finish the bush off!


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Birdsong

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This wonderful spring has had the birds singing fit to bust. The Black redstart, the Chiffchaff and the Thrush are competing for number one. I’ve even seen a couple of Martins. I love the liquid piping of the thrush as its a rare song, heard at the change of the day in spring.

But not this year. One thrush has taken up residence in our sycamore trees, and sings all day with an occasional burst in some other trees. Its the same song, repeated almost frantically. I’m just hoping its mate will turn up soon And it will SHUT UP!


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Stupid Bird and Mouse wars!

I really shouldn’t call him this, but he did look it at first.  A few weeks ago we could hear the usual yelling that denotes some fledgelings have fledged and are still waiting to be fed.  Only this time, the baby Greenfinch was dumped. Parents cleared off after a couple of days.  Now maybe he was a late  litter and just not strong enough to follow, but he sat, fluffed up on the bird table, pecking randomly at the seeds.  He must have eaten something because he’s survived.  He now has the nack with the small seeds, but not quite got it with the sunflowers. He shouts at the Tits when he’s sat on the table, and sometimes they ignore him, others, they just shove in. He’s never far away. Last night, another Greenfinch arrived and after some initial sparring, they were both sat on the table.  There must be hope for him yet!

It’s now early October -and no sparrows, only a brief visit in September and they went away again.  The family of Tits are dependent on the table and for that I feel guilty.  I only fed Peanuts late in the summer as the parents were hanging about, maybe the insect population was affected by the odd weather. So now, this family prefers by large the Peanuts, I counted 10 last night. What would happen if I stopped the nuts?  They must feed elsewhere surely as I did leave the feeder empty for a while in between feedings deliberately.  What do you think?

September sees the spiders and mice looking for somewhere warm to stay for the winter.

To my shock one morning, I saw six mice on the bird table, scaring the birds away.  So I chopped down the honeysuckle that grows up the Pole, but the little blighters just shimmied up it.

So Dave has now put an upturned plastic flower pot around the pole so the mice can’t get round, seems to have worked.  There’s plenty on the ground for them if you think I’m being cruel………