2021 was another year spent on-hold, waiting with awful music playing, and the same repeated message, with no guarantee that I would ever be connected. It was also a year to be thankful for science and people who measure, collect, analyse and present data and carry out scientific experiments and develop new interventions and therapies. It was most definitely a year to be irritated with people who have no understanding of how little understanding they have.
I had some of the best wildlife experiences in Italy in 2021. Getting close to this male Black Redstart was one. Just how outstandingly beautiful is this bird?:
I also spent a while in the company of juvenile and female Black Redstarts. I had the time to practise my technique on them and improve my editing skills on what are very fast-moving tricky subjects. This is the best I can get with my current skills and equipment:
The same waste ground brought forth a Stonechat in all its perky glory:
What a shame it’s all going to be built on and their territories will be lost to concrete and glass.
The area also has a male and female Common Kestrel with their territory and hunting grounds dead-centre in what will be a built-up area. Just look how magnificent this bird is:
Seeing them being mobbed every day by Hooded Crows was a stressful experience:
We had a series of day-trips to exceptional lakes which gave opportunities to see wildlife in natural conditions. I particularly loved the colour-matching of this Little Egret, with its feet and eyes the same shade of yellow:
Being lucky enough to have it fly over towards me and getting a great landing shot was a thrilling experience:
Little Egrets are delicate, small herons. Another heron, but larger and less delicate is the Grey Heron. We had a close fly-by where I could see every detail of its scaly feet and complex feather patterns:
Next, in ascending order of size, is the Great White Egret:
We saw a Marsh Harrier as soon as we arrived, but had to come back and wait all day to get a decent photograph in beautiful light. It was so worth it.
And to round up my Italian wild life for 2021, garrulous parakeets; Monk Parakeets, gnawing their way through twigs and shoots with beaks which could have your finger off.
That’s it! I hope my wilder Italian life has brought you some comfort and maybe a little joy in 2021. Thanks so much to everyone who has joined me on the journey. Here’s wishing you a safe and wild 2022.