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willow tit


Saturday 15th September 2001, Austria

buzzard AS WE WALK up the Ellmau Valley a Buzzard, the first bird of prey we've seen since we arrived, soars over tall conifers as open fields give way to woodland towards the top end of the valley.

willow titpecking At the end of the road at Hochlackenhof, a guesthouse set amongst woods and meadows, as we sit with coffee and what Barbara describes as 'a cheesecake to die for' on the terrace, we hear a tapping like Morse code. It's not a woodpecker (we don't see a woodpecker during our entire stay here) but a Willow Tit that is perched on one of the rungs oyew berry huskf a trellis arch. Another joins it. They're taking berries from the Yew bush growing next to the arch and removing the sticky flesh. Some of the discarded berries lie stuck on the lower rungs. The seed inside the berry has a poisonous husk so the tits are pecking to get at the kernel inside. When we call a few days later they are still at it, but on the final day of the holiday there is no sign of them, perhaps they have picked off all the berries on the bush.

Lake Wolfgang from St Gilgren We walk via the viewpoint of Mozartblick, a precipitous viewpoint overlooking Lake Wolfgang, and follow a steep stony path down through the conifer woods to St Gilgen by the lakeshore (left).next page

Related Link

HochlackenhofHochlackenhof guesthouse at the top end of the Ellmau valley.

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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