We’re walking in Broken Tower Meadow, il Pratone di Torre Spaccata when the Puffin Whisperer says “Gruccione”. I recognise the name. It’s the Italian for the European Bee-eater, Merops apiaste. She can hear the birds, even though I can’t. We both listen intently. There it is, an unmistakable sound, a kind of echoing high-pitched clucking.
It’s poor light and late, after work, but we can see them in a distant tree. They’re launching themselves in long swooping hunting flights and returning to the same tree to perch.
This one was successful:
I catch a composite of one in flight across the meadow:
Their plumage is extraordinary.
Then I manage to get a photograph of a hunt, just before the insect is caught:
We stay and watch as fourteen of them call and fly away to roost.
They are amazing.