I’m in a field in a park in Rome. It’s annoying that I can hear a busy road nearby. Then I realise that the annoying hum isn’t actually a road; it’s bees. I’m surrounded by thousands of bees. Then I see strange shaped birds on the brow of the surrounding hill. They are Bee Eaters. Of course they are; just listen to all those bees.
Last year I promised myself I’d come back and get a decent photograph of one:
They have a very swift flight, with exceptional in-the-air agility. They are red and yellow and blue with long pointed beaks.
A large flock are flying over.
I’d like to get close to them but they are far too wary. I can’t get to within 100 metres of them before they see me. Even crawling through the grass on hands and knees is no use. I don’t want to disturb them. I get my chance later as I can see one through the trees and manoeuvre to get a better view.
Bee Eaters are some of the most beautiful, most entertaining and most photogenic birds that have evolved. I’ve seen achingly beautiful photographs of them taken in Italy. Filling the frame entirely, they sit in beautiful preening pairs or singly while languidly tossing a captured dragonfly down their throats.
Here’s my terrible, blurry effort at a flight shot.
Just like last year, there’s always next year.