There’s a stretch of the abandoned land which serves as the natural world here in Rome which I love. I’ve returned here again and again to commune with nature while the Puffin Whisperer is out at work. It’s called the Pratone, which means meadow in English. It’s earmarked for development and will be erased by concrete unless a small group of volunteers manage to influence enough politicians to save it.
There are Monk Parakeets chattering noisily in the trees:
In summer there are Great Green Bush Crickets on a Long-Lipped Tongue Orchids:
It’s a place I go to see the Black Redstarts flitting amongst the stones and dry vegetation and practise my in-flight shots:
Perhaps the most iconic resident of this stretch of green, though, a green oasis in a desert of concrete, is the Kestrel:
And that’s who I’m here to see today.
There’s no cover and nowhere to hide, so getting close to the Kestrels is an issue. Being slow and deliberate in my movements, I can inch closer and then wait. The Kestrels here rarely hover, because they have tall perches to choose from. They stare intently at the ground, with necks bouncing to keep their heads still and eyes fixed on a spot on the ground, despite the branches moving in the light breeze.
When they fly past it’s a joy.
And when they fly towards me it’s even better.
I look forward to bringing you more adventures from the Pratone.