Dawn Chaos

Not sure if this merits a blog post or it’s just a rant to appease myself.

I like to sleep with the bedroom window open: There’s something pleasing about being warm under the winter duvet with a crisp breeze dancing across the face as you sleep. Normally I wake up to the dawn chorus however today was dawn chaos.


I was woken by wild boar crashing about in the land below, with their young squealing, this in turn startled many birds who cried out in anger at also having their sleep disturbed. This then became a cacophony of shrieks and whistles with one particular bird screeching like a demented loon.


By now I’m properly awake as the boar have now reached the farm down the lane and their four dogs are barking adding their noise to the morning din. So all that’s left is for me to get up, let our two dogs out and let them add to the orchestra of animal voices.

Swift Swallows and the Lizard in the Bin

There’s so much activity outside at the moment, the skies are full of swallows and swifts that dart and zigzag as they catch insects, today I looked up and there must have been around twenty of them skirting around the house. They’re so quick it’s impossible to get a photograph, they even defy video capture.

The hedgerows are full of tiny greenfinches, so small are these lovely birds that they’re able to grip onto the slenderest of grasses as they pick out the seeds. They are usually in charms of three, five or seven, never an even number. (The collective noun for finches is a charm).


In the evenings the first fireflies are emerging and the dusk is lit by the glowing insects as they search for a mate, this in turn attracts the bats who gobble up the insects by the dozen.

With all this activity it’s easier to see how life explodes into animation as the warm weather arrives. Lizards and snakes are making their presence felt and we’ve also seen an emergence of grasshoppers. No doubt the dreaded mosquito will make an appearance very soon.

On a sad note, I went to put out the recycling bin tonight and when I opened the lid there was a small lizard inside, I think it must have climbed on top and fallen inside, and sadly it lay there dead, another reminder that living in the countryside is all about the circle of life.

It’s the circle of life…la la la dah dah

Don’t worry, I’m not about to burst into song…besides I’m not a fan of Disney, so wouldn’t know all the lyrics. Smile BTW, the photo is of a mural in town, nothing to do with this topic, but I thought I’d share it with you.

The Birds and the Bees

Hands up, who clicked today’s blog post thinking or hoping it was about sex?

I was driving along the road through San Tommaso with the iPod switched on as usual, as I was sat behind a tractor cutting the hedges at the side of the road and travelling at around 8kmph, it was apt that Kate Bush was singing the largely unknown B.side, You Want Alchemy. The song about bees and honey ambles along beautifully, much like I was doing as the large industrial strimmer took off the excess grow at the strada’s edge. Suddenly the car was engulfed by a flock of swallows, eager I guess for the insects released by the machines blades. Feeling like Tipi Hedren in a cinematic promo for The Birds, I watch as they dart dangerously close to my windscreen, I’m worrying they may be harmed, but my worry is needless, these little blue/black birds are travelling faster than I am. Up ahead is the speed camera and the flower shop, the strimmer stops and is hydraulically lifted up and away from the edge of the road and the swallows disperse. We come to a straight stretch of road and I take the opportunity to pass the tractor, as he reaches the hedges again, the strimmer once more is deployed, and as the whirring blades chop at the greenery, the swallows once again return to feast.

You Want Alchemy

I undertake the task which was the reason for my journey, drop into the bakers and buy a panino morbido, to accompany the salad I’ll be having for lunch and make my way back home. I’m sliding along passing the yellow coloured house on the bend when the slipstream caused by my driving sucks several bees into the car. I look into my rear view mirror and see just a scooter and a small Fiat behind me. Three bees have landed on the back window and are puzzled by this see-through hard thing preventing them from flying, another two are buzzing around inside and one has alighted upon the steering wheel. I slow down and let the scooter overtake, the Fiat turned off a few metres back. As soon as the car is motionless the two flying bees escape through the open passenger-side window, I get out and the bee on my steering wheel leaves through the open door, I open the rear door and two bees instantly sense freedom and take to flight, leaving one behind. The remaining bee buzzes down onto the headrest of the back seat and paces back and forth. As I’m stopped in a somewhat silly place on a main road,, there’s nothing for it but to coax her out. I lay my hand down and she walks up to it, waggles her head a little and them walk onto my index finger, carefully I withdraw my hand and once she feels the warm sunshine, with a buzz she’s gone.

I climb back into that car, and before I drive away, I backtrack on the iPod and listen to Kate Bush again as I make my way home.

Angry Birds

This morning I woke early and found myself sat outside at 06.00 with a cup of coffee listening to the day wake up around me. In a tree near the house every morning sits the, Is It You Bird, so called because I cannot see it, but every morning it chirps away, three and a half fast repeating chirrups, which sound like, is it you, is it you, is it you, is it. So as the mist over Selva Altino dissipates and a shaft of sunlight creeps in; from where I do not know as there’s not a single cloud in the sky, the bird calls out across the valley. Normally it calls for a few minutes until it gets a similar response from another, is it you bird, then stops. However this morning is different, the calls of, is it you, is it you, is it you, is it are met by another bird which responds with a not me, not me, the is it you, is it you, is it you, is it, bounces back again to be countered by the not me, not me. As the, Not Me Bird, replies for the third time a distance away comes a fast interrupting chirrup  which states, yes it is, yes it is.  The musical mêlée continues and I’m about to go back inside when a jay arrives and sits in the tree where I’ve hung some solar lights. In England I’ve never seen a jay before, but  here in Italy there isn’t a day that passes when I don’t see one of these, normally shy birds. It’s a beautiful bird and as it sits in the tree and looks around, his onyx coloured eye catching the sunlight and flashes. The, is it you bird, calls again, this time the reply is, yes it is, yes it is, and the jay, who I imagine to be the mediator of this morning’s birdsong battle takes to the air and the feathered fall-out is over.

My friend Tim, back in the UK has a blog where he posts a daily photograph, so I decide today, to do the same. So I go back inside and fetch my camera, and snap a quick shot from the lane recording another digital memory. If only I’d had the camera with me earlier I could have filmed the jay and maybe captured the conversation of the angry birds. Link to Tim’s blog


11.04.2013 Guarenna Vecchia. 06.20,