Amphibians in Mariapfarr
As the snow began to melt and the signs of spring started to emerge, so did the herps. On one of my walks I found myself around the lake of the Der Outdoorparc Lungau. It was the breeding season of the common toad, Bufo bufo. Thousands (or so it seemed to excited me) of them had gathered to call and find mates. Heaven for a herpetologist and I spent hours marvelling at them all and seeing their eye shine with my torch.
Reptiles in Tamsweg
After finding toads I wanted to find reptiles. With spring well underway and the sun burning brightly in the sky, I set forth to see what I could find. After a bit of walking I found myself in the mountains as you always do when living in the Alps. Tucked in the midst of all the planted pine forest I found a clearing. With a nice mixture of vegetation I thought it a good spot and set about looking for something scaly. It wasn’t long until I found myself in the middle of a small population of healthy common lizards, Zootoca vivipara. With the hot weather they were all scuttling around looking for food or mates. For the first time I was also fortunate enough to catch a pair mating; quite cool if you are a nerd like me. And if you don’t know, mating for common lizards is somewhat violent. The male bites the female around the waste to pin her down… google it 😉
One weekend I was greeted with glorious sunshine and the prospect of medieval shenanigans and steam trains.
Snacks packed and a bottle of water I made my way down to Sankt Andrä im Lungau. Along the way I met one of my other colleagues Hanna. She walked the last stretch with me and soon we found ourselves at the steam train. While I was busy marvelling at the train Hanna got a phone call, and in a bit of turmoil she shot off. Later I would discover that her best friend had arrived in Tamsweg to surprise her.
So while Hanna disappeared, I bundled onto one of the old wooden coaches of the steam train and began to enjoy the smells. Steam and fresh Alpine air, simply wonderful; and with a toot of the whistle off we set. As we trundled along towards to medieval festival at Mountaindorf it was astonishing to realise that less than 5 months ago, everything I could see was covered in a deep layer of snow.
The medieval festival was a really nice change of pace. Having plodded around the stalls looking at the many items for sale, I found myself a nice bench. With some of the others at European Wilderness Society we sat under the delicate shade of a tree and I watched the world pass me by.
From under the tree we could see some of the performances but we got up to see the Spanish flag tossing. I was told that it really is a fantastic show, and while it was very entertaining it was to windy for them. So regrettably they had to cut their show short. Non the less after a nice steam train journey, a fun time medieval window shopping with shows thrown into the mix, it was time to call it a day and head home and enjoy the rest of the setting sun in the garden.