So where's the snow?

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


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Bird watching

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Can anyone I identify this little guy?  I thought this was the little Siskin or Serin that used to come regularly to the table in the afternoon, but now I’m not so sure.  Maybe he’s moulting early?P1220877P1220874


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How to scare sparrows………..

P1220190We decided to put a new bird table in the garden as the old was worse for wear, so Dave built a mega job.  In hindsight it was the wrong time of year, should have done it in the summer when the birds were off on their holidays. So once it was installed I sat to see what the birds would do.  A crested wren was the first and the Nutcracker jammed three hazelnuts down it’s throat and flew off with one in the beak.  Sparrows?  Disappeared for a day, then came back and sat the in bush, with a poor old us look on their faces then took to feeding from the ground.  Three days later they returned to their old side table, but still wont go near the  new one -twits!

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Birdwatching special


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I am sooooooo chufffed to have this bird starting to visit my table, can you guess what it is?????  Apparently they don’t migrate but will move if there is a failure of their usual diet, apparently pine nuts.

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This autumn we saw how few nuts there swere in the woods, so maybe this is the explanation of his regular visits.  He may also be nicking the whole hazelnuts (also their diet)  I’ve put out for the squirrel!

Yup. its a spotted Nutcracker!


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Birds again!

Photo of ‘Stripe’ the Great Tit, closest I could get. Maybe its a genetic thing as I’ve noticed that a lot of the Great Tits don’t have a complete black crown. I’ve just realised I’m not going to win birdwatcher of the year, Stripe’s a coal tit -blush, blush,blush!

My Siskin/Serin KNOWS I’m trying to take its photo!

For Josie, I’m not so sure now if this is a Marsh or a Willow tit, and can’t understand why they seem to like it so much here, ok, we’ve plenty of water, but I would have thought it too cold!


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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!!!!!!!!


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Birdwatching in Austria

Hard work this birdwatching!

Having no house pet at present means I have  proxy pets in the birds in my garden. I’ve got a table just beyond the kitchen window and have enjoyed so many new species – especially Long tailed tits who visit us.  We’ve even had a hawk stop by one day, all our birds took to cover!  Mostly I have field sparrows and tits of all varieties. The number went down when we chopped down the big pine where they must have hidden.  Even so, this year has been odd. The late snow and warm autumn means I’ve had far less birds visiting, and certainly not the variety.  No chaffinches, greenfinches or even the flocks of  Bramblings. Yesterday when it snowed, none were at the table at all.

Purely by chance, I heard on the TV that the 6th was birdwatching day here in Austria.  Nothing like the UK with well made adverts, publishing addresses and the website.  Here it was, you’ll get all the details, look for yourself, completely crap advertising if you ask me – surely ORF could have put the address on the bottom of the screen and done it earlier?  It was the day before it was due to take place! Maybe people just aint so interested.  I did my stint and on the website, I have seen all of three people in the Lungau took part! Even in the area around Vienna only 80 people took part.  How could this be representative?  Or is it just a cultural difference?