Becoming A Twitcher: Part III

…in which I go on holiday to one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and come back with lots of pictures of birds.

And butterflies, and lizards. All of them boring and common, too! And yet they somehow seemed more interesting in Rome.

Gull (Larus sp.) nesting in Baths of Caracalla, Rome
Common lizard (Lacerta vivipara). Ostia
Another common lizard (Lacerta vivipara). Ostia
Common blue butterfly (Polyommatus icarus). Ostia
Wall brown butterfly (Lasiommata megera). Ostia
Italian sparrow (Passer italiae). Ostia
Hooded crow (Corvus cornix). Ostia
Hooded crow (Corvus cornix). Forum of Augustus, Rome

There were lots of starlings and other common ‘garden’ birds hanging around too, which I didn’t manage to photograph. I also saw some bats flitting around by the Colosseum, but didn’t spot the kestrels that the sign in the park suggested I should see in Rome. To be honest, I was dubious anyway – the kestrel isn’t something I’d usually think of as an urban bird.

And even though the birds I did photograph are all common as muck, they still provided a learning opportunity…for example, I had only ever seen one hooded crow (while in Scotland), and didn’t know they were so common in Europe; they were everywhere both in the city and out at Ostia. Also, I hadn’t realised that the sparrows in Italy were their own species. I had naively assumed that they were the same as the sparrows we find in Britain – they certainly look very much like tree sparrows at a casual glance (and my photo isn’t exactly much help in identifying it, because it’s taken from too far away!).

Obviously I didn’t only take pictures of common wildlife. I do also have lots of photos of stunning Roman architecture and statuary, but since they’re not biological in nature I’m not putting them up here…Oh, go on then, you’ve twisted my arm. You can have one.

Statue of Hercules. Temple of Hercules, Ostia.

What did I tell you? Stunning statuary.


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