A lot has been going on lately. Let’s start with last Saturday, when Stefano and I went to the Parco della Piana to do some bird watching. We’d planned to be there really early in the morning, and in fact I woke up at 5 AM, but then I just couldn’t make myself get out of bed.
As a result, we woke up two and a half hours later, aaaaagh! In the end, though, the fact that we arrived latish at the bird reserve was a good thing. For two main reasons:
- Early that morning, we were told, a coot had attacked one of the black-winged stilt nests and had taken off with an egg in its mouth. Very odd behaviour, don’t you think? The stilt parents then apparently went nuts and destroyed another egg (huh?). But this particular couple still has one egg left, luckily. Anyway, however it went, I was relieved we hadn’t witnessed that ferocious scene!
- The great-crested grebe chicks had finally made their first official appearance a few days earlier. So the hut was occupied by quite a number of photographers with their powerful, fancy, expensive lenses focused on the area where the grebe nest was thought to be. And they were waiting. I found a good spot at one of the “windows” and began waiting, too. And in mid morning, as soon as it was warm enough, out they came. (My point here is that even if we’d arrived early in the morning, we wouldn’t have seen them…)
At first, all we could see was the male grebe (at least, I think it was the male, but it’s hard to tell the male from the female, unless they are side by side OR you are an expert birder), floating very slowly, with his back feathers all puffed up.
Then, finally, our reward: a teeny tiny little black and white striped head emerged…The cameras went crazy…tatatatatattatatatataaa!!! But even with my comparably small point-and-shoot camera, I got some really decent photos, I think…
There were three chicks, of which one, the biggest one, at one point leapt off its parent’s back and started swimming alongside it, as you can see in photo no. 2. Adorable!!!
The baby black-winged stilts should be ready to pop soon. We saw many eggs out there. Some of the expert birders were speculating that the ones in one particular nest might be hatching next weekend. Wow.
But I won’t be here to witness the “birth.”
You see, I’m leaving for the States. Tomorrow. To make a long story even longer (just kidding!), the company where I teach English is moving to another—bigger and better!—building down the street. But, since my students will be too busy with THE move, my boss gave me a couple of weeks off…so I immediately booked a flight to visit my parents in Massachusetts. They’ve decided NOT to come to Italy this summer (the trip is getting to be too hard on them, basically). So this forced “holiday” was perfectly timed, as it turns out. Unexpected and quick, for sure…Luckily, it’s still low season…
Anyway, this doesn’t mean that I’m going to disappear for the next two weeks. Nope, I’ll have access to a computer at my parents’ house, so I’ll try to keep up with the blog and so on…Okay, I really need to go finish packing now. Take care, everyone, and remember: belly laugh every day! 🙂