My Italian life in 2019 started in January with a whale of a murmuration with a raptor on its tail. Just click to enlarge the images to see if you can find the bird of prey.
I particularly love the third image, where the raptor is above a huge cone of Starlings, swirling like a bait ball.
I spent some time in 2019 reading research into Blue Tits, which suggests that the plumage of male and female Blue Tits is different – but only in the ultra-violet light part of the spectrum, in Ultra-Violet Tits:
Blue Tits can see a broader spectrum of light than mere humans. Their ultra-violet crests and special eyes are one of their super-powers.
Isn’t water the most miraculous material?
When I say Kingfisher, I actually mean Queenfisher. And here she is again, before and after fish:
Unusually, the mouse is still alive, with its eyes open. I’m sure the fatal bite to the back of the neck wasn’t long in coming.
We went to Matera to rejoice at the sight of so many Lesser Kestrels nesting on the rooftops:
Lesser Kestrels in Matera
I love Matera in the south of Italy. In the heat and dryness there are pungent scents of herbs underfoot. Amongst the vegetation were Bertoloni’s Bee Orchids, plus there was lots of caterpillage with the Lackeys and Emperors. Intense blue Forester Moths were a shock, and finding a decent-sized Longhorn Beetle is always entertaining.
Seeing a Swallowtail butterfly in Parco della Murgia Materana was another joy.
Matera is a dry landscape of limestone rocks. There’s an azure Italian sky and the sudden swish of an Italian Ruin Lizard disappearing before we’ve seen it.
And there was a rare opportunity to find out more about Signor Cetti and the River Nightingale:
And who knew something called a Zitting Cisticola existed?
Summer 2019 also gave us a chance to visit Villa Doria Pamphilj to see the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and the one-eyed Fox:
I could compare the Wood Duck with the Mandarin:
And finally, the Hooded Crows at Villa Pamphilj.
It’s been a pleasure to look back on some of the highlights of 2019 in Italy with you. More next year? Shall we?