As usual we spent the Christmas and New Year period in Germany. We left Italy just as a lot of European airports were being shut for snow, and thinking that it might turn south, I made sure to fill up the bird feeders before we left.
In fact, while most of the continent had a very white Christmas, Milan only had rain. That didn't deter the birds though. The great tits are clearly at the more respectable end of the bird community. They've been pecking their way gentilely through the peanuts,and I'm expecting a thank-you card to arrive soon. The sparrows, on the other hand, are a bunch of deliquents who clearly saw the bird-seed container as an invitation to vandalise the whole place.
The balcony looks as though a bomb has hit it, and I hate to think what I'm going to find growing in that container next year. On the plus side, I don't think I'm going to have to buy any fertiliser. By the time I've scraped up all the droppings, I'm going to have enough guano to last a couple of seasons...
In Germany, with all the snow that was around, the birds were virtually dependent on feeders and it was a great chance to spot a few types that we don't get here. Apart from the ubiquitous great tits and blue tits, I also saw some long-tailed tits, greenfinches and chaffinches, a nuthatch...
...and a tree-creeper.
Forgive the lousy photos - I had my camera on the wrong setting without noticing it.
There were various raptors around too. I saw a lot of buzzards in the woods, and a dead blackbird's head and mass of feathers in the snow on New Year's Day suggested we'd been visited by a sparrowhawk in the early morning.