Buongiorno! Ciao amici! Truth be told my ability to speak Italian is well below what one would consider acceptable when traveling to this incredible country. Luckily for me, I have in-laws who can bring out the smiles and joyous laughter of everyone they meet regardless of how much (or little) Italian they speak.
Rome and Sorrento were the destinations for this family trip. This was not a birding trip, but for months I’d researched birds in those areas and had come across a few I was looking forward to finding. What I didn’t know at that time is that I would end up spending more time in bed from catching a bug on the flight than actually being out and about with my camera. Regardless, I managed to arrive home with over 5,000 images other than birds to pour through. You can’t be in a country like that and not photograph everything you see. Impossible…
Back to birds… The first morning waking up in Rome I heard what I thought were police whistles outside which sounded more like a carousel getting closer with each passing. I burst out in a laughter I was thrilled to know still existed in me after opening the curtain to find what looked like swallows circling as if to say “C’mon, get outta bed! Get up! Lots to see!“. Not gonna lie…the palm tree made me wonder for a minute if I had truly woken up in Rome.
Jet-lagged and dazed all were boarding the van that would take us to our next destination down the coast. Just as I was about to board, what looked like a large white and blue Hawk flew into the tree across the street from us. For those of you who know me, you know my feet were not going to so far as touch that van until I was able to see and photograph whatever it was. At the risk of being an outlaw I decided to board as well, but that bird never left my mind… It was more like a beige and light blue…
What I discovered to be a Hooded Crow would become my nemesis for the entire trip. I’d see one dart from one tree to the next while on the road, or flying so high above they were difficult to positively identify. They are elusive, quick, and have a level of mystery I am still trying to wrap my head around. It wasn’t until we returned to Rome that I was able to photograph it and on the last day we were there I had some incredibly special moments while observing.
Notice the heart on its chest? 🙂
The first morning in Sorrento, a Falcon (which I believe to be an Eleanora’s Falcon) flew over our villa. A thrill I’ll never forget. I’m still on the fence about the ID as it looks just like a Peregrine Falcon but I’m sticking with Eleanora’s (it is Italy, after all).
We also had what I think is a Bonelli’s Eagle circling above one day (they look more like a hawk than the Eagles we are used to seeing).
Nesting Spotted Flycatchers were hunting on our property and delivering to the nest in the villa above.
We also had a nesting pair of Eurasian Collared-Doves. Their “coo” is almost exactly that of a Mourning Dove, but slightly different.
European Greenfinches would dart around but were difficult to find.
There was one song we heard that started in the early morning and continued throughout the day which was so incredibly beautiful. It took me a full week to figure out that it was Italy’s version of our Common Blackbird.
Common, or not, it brought such a sense of peace and beauty. It sort of became a meditative call of sorts. I loved the look it was giving me here. Made me feel right at home.
Speaking of common, the Italian Sparrows give ours a run for their money. How fancy is that pattern?
And, by the way? I’m coming back as a common bird in Italy. The housing choices are far more luxurious…
The gulls here are no exception to fancy, either, and do they have a life! Forget french fries and chips… they fish for life (plenty of it) and live high up in nooks along the beautiful rocky coastline.
Great Skua perhaps?
It was time to head back up the coast to Rome for a couple of days. Although disappointed not to have been able to get out more, I felt incredibly lucky to be able to wake up in such a magnificent place with such incredible sights and sounds. We stopped in Falvaraterra (Home of the Piccerelli’s) on the way up and were greeted by swallows once again! There are many species there, but I think these are Common Swifts which may have been the same birds who were circling in Rome our first morning.
For a moment I thought that I, too, may have had relatives in this town. 😉
Back in Rome, settled in, and how cute is this little guy who appeared?
He quickly became my favorite subject in his efforts to beat out all of the Pigeons at the hotel for leftover snacks. Poor thing seemed so out of place at this Hotel in the city, however. Those legs are clearly meant for sandy beaches & coastal obstacles. It also looked as if it were going through a molt of sorts. I came up with either a White or Pied Wagtail, and I believe it is a White Wagtail. Why he was there will continue to be a mystery.
Speaking of pigeons… They are like ants in Rome and will practically sit on your shoulder if you let them.
This one, in particular, was spectacular looking.
Despite the little health setback, I’d say I had some success in finding some pretty amazing birds.
Next on the list: Hoopoe Woodpecker. You may want to book a trip just to find this bird, too.
Darn, I must go back. 🙂
P.S I apologize in advance if I have misidentified any of the birds listed here and I welcome corrections!
For a list of birds one might see when it Italy you can refer to the following sites: