So where's the snow?

Muddling through life from Austria to Wales; God, life and a small black dog


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………

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At the beginning of the second week in August, there’s a feeling of change in the air.  Although its still hot and humid, there’s a difference which I can’t quite pinpoint.  I’ve felt this before, its the onset of autumn, not the end of the year but the cooling towards ripeness and harvest.

The birds are an indicator.  Today I heard a Jay having a shout in the garden and the Robin is singing his chattering song.  It never fails to take me back to the year my son was born and I was at home a lot, lying around as the pregnancy was complicated and I could hear ours singing in the garden.

The biggest change is those darn sparrows are back. Having taken themselves off to the mountains or somewhere, they’re back at the feeder, fighting with the Great Tits for the few peanuts I put out.    Depressing? No, the autumn here can indeed be mellow and cooler and beautiful, its  a maturing of summer.  I’ll be thinking about snow next…………..

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I know the ins and outs of the feeding through the year argument, and I have to beg in the local shop to get Peanuts in the summer, so its not popular here. I did stop for a while then having seen a moulting Great tit, put a few out.  Result, the whole family comes, and acts like gannets, clearing the feeder in a day.  I try to restrict the amount so they do feed elsewhere.  How many of the family can you see?

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Those Sparrows

They saw that I’d been busy, weeding and topping at the soil on my flower bed.They know also that the supply of seeds has run out and all I have is Sunflower seeds and peanuts, which they struggle with.  So what do they do, they chose a nice afternoon and spend it making earth baths in the soil, they’ll be expecting me to do it every year now!

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Birds – Swallows passing through

Had real trouble getting this in focus, I suppose I really ought to put the glasses on!

We’ve just enjoyed another Bank Holiday and have Whitsun to come. Such a shame I was lame with my bad foot, we could have had a walk in the mountains, still it’s getting better.  Yet if we had, I’d have missed these Swallows passing through.  They really did look  a bit tired and manky.

It reminded me of when I worked at  the Fortune Centre of Riding therapy – maybe these guys were on their way there.  They would nest in the stables and you’d have to duck as the feeding parents would hurtle in and out through the stable doors.  I even got a disruptive student interested in counting the nests and babies.  Once the fledglings were out, they would rest on the lights in the stables, waiting to be fed, we would then have several weeks of the horses having white spotted backs.  Quiet early evenings would have the yard filled with swooping birds and then with regret we’d watch them sitting on the electricity lines to fly home in the autumn.

However, my most enduring memory is of one early summer morning when I rode my horse Monty out and across onto what in the New Forest is called a green – an open area of grass, free from other vegetation.  As we cantered, the Swallows came and flew around and through Monty’s legs, catching the insects as they rose.  Monty of course took absolutely not notice, it was wonderful!

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May Day

Unlike England, the May holiday in Austria is taken on the day it falls, this year being a Tuesday, so a lot of people are taking a long weekend, and there’s another holiday on the 17th and then there’s Pfingsten or Pentecost,  sometimes I’m quite happy with the Catholic church! Don’t think there’s anyone leaping about here with Pagan festivals, but you never know

After last week, when it snowed, we hit a heat wave with temperatures in the 20s.  I fell about laughing as Dave tried to light the fire in the evening as it was warmer outside than in, he wouldnt listen to me, and so all the smoke came pouring though the wood burner and fell to the ground like special effect ghostly smoke! Opening all the doors shifted it and once the sun was behind the hill the temperature dropped and it lit. Our flat has walls of about two foot thick, excellent insulation, but often in the summer we have to open all the windows to let the warm in!

The hot weather meant a rapid snow melt on the mountains, so now both rivers are in full spate of brown water and all sorts of interesting things are coming down as stuff left stranded by the low levels in winter is washed down.  I’ve seen at least two trees go over the waterfall, quite a sight!   The noise of the water all around us is amazing, maybe you can liken it to white noise, but I love it.  Now the weather has gone what I term,’close’ warm and humid and there’s thunder forecast tomorrow,I  just hope we can get our garden planted and the grass cut in time!  Driving around today, it seems most folks are planting their gardens with the veggy seeds, and a few even have plants out.  Just hope it isn’t like last year when it snowed in May and June and set everything back.  

I’ve rambled on before about the Dandelions here, but in our back garden they seem to have appeared from nowhere and more than usual. I wonder if the heavy winter will have its effect on the plants?  Of course, soon as it got warm, most of the birds have taken themselves off , to somewhere where there must be more goodies for them to eat, such un-gratefullness!