I see a tiny speck of a bird circling over a ruined building in Tarquinia:
We drive the car in its direction and the call comes from our friend Paolo, “Albanella”. I look it up. I think that means it’s a Harrier.
It’s distant but it’s unmistakable. It’s an Albanella minore, a Montagu’s Harrier, Circus pygargus.
It’s a grey male. It’s following the same route over and over, following the ridge of the hill, alive to every change in wind, searching the ground and controlling its flight with lazy sweeps of its powerful paddle-like wings.
The environment here in Italy is wonderful:
There are fewer than five pairs in the UK.
We see it dive down and catch something. I’m not sure if it’s just a piece of grass or a lizard.
We drive on. Paolo points out that there is a specially reserved piece of land where they breed and where the farmers and locals don’t disturb them:
And then the female flies past us:
There are no words.