At the beginning of March we accompanied two young birdwatchers from the USA on a day trip to the Circeo National Park, one of the best places in Lazio where you can observe birdlife. This, in fact, thanks to the extensive coastal wetlands, boasts a lot of hotspots for birdwatching and wildlife photography.
Eurasian Teal. Photo by Francesco Simonetta.
Sandwitch Tern. Photo by Francesco Simonetta.
After leaving Rome just before dawn, along the way we begin to observe the most common species linked to rural environments. The first stop on the tour are the so-called “Pantani dell’Inferno“, located near Lake Caprolace and ideal for birding directly from the car.
As soon as we arrive, our checklist immediately begins to increase: while the nearby reeds are crowded with various Passerines, such as the Common Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus) and the Moustached Warbler (Acrocephalus melanopogon), and two Western Marsh Harriers (Circus aeroginosus) patrol the area, there are many birds inside the water. Here, in fact, we observe Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia), Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius) and Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos), as well as various species of herons and ducks.
Common Reed Bunting. Photo by Francesco Simonetta.
Common Sandpiper. Photo by Francesco Simonetta.
We decide to spend some more time hided in the car and our patience is rewarded, managing to spot two species belonging to the Rallidae family, rather elusive aquatic birds: a Little Crake (Zapornia parva) and a Water Rail (Rallus aquaticus)!
Water Rail. Photo by Francesco Simonetta.
Black-throated Loon. Photo by Francesco Simonetta.
After about an hour we move to the seafront and “armed” with a spotting scope we spend some seawatching time. Once again, luck is on our side and in a few tens of minutes we spot 3 Black-throated Loons (Gavia arctica), 4 Red-breasted Mergansers (Mergus serrator) and some Scopoli’s Shearwaters (Calonectris diomedea) flying near the coastline.
Scopoli's Shearwater. Photo by Francesco Simonetta.
Scopoli's Shearwater. Photo by Francesco Simonetta.
Heading towards another observation point, there are many Common Kestrels (Falco tinnunculus) flying over the fields. Searching with binoculars among the open flooded expanses we come across a Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata), a Glossy Tit (Plegadis falcinellus) and a family of Wild Boars (Sus scrofa).
Common Kestrel. Photo by Francesco Simonetta.
So we decide to stop for half an hour to relax, in view of the next stop: a path that runs along Lake Fogliano and offers the possibility of investigating two different environments at the same time: on one side the coastal stretch of water, on the other a lowland woodland.
Along the way, accompanied by the noisy call of the Green Woodpecker (Picus viridis), we observe numerous Passerines: Black Redstart (Poenicurus ochruros), European Robin (Erithacus rubecola) and Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus) are just some of the many.
Common Chiffchaff. Photo by Francesco Simonetta.
On the lake, however, the most numerous species are the Wigeons (Mareca penelope), together with Great Crested Grebes (Podiceps cristatus), European Coots (Fulica atra) and Common Moorhens (Gallinula chloropus).
At the end of the walk we move to another side of the same lake, passing along a canal where a group of Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) rests. Once we arrive, we post in one of the two hides present here, with the aim of observing the Greater Flamingos (Phoenicopterus roseus).
Black-crowned Night Heron- Photo by Francesco Simonetta.
Greater Flamingo. Photo by Francesco Simonetta.
The lake is full of hundreds and hundreds of ducks and, among the numerous Common Pochards (Aythya ferina), we can see some Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca) and Northern Pintails (Anas acuta).
The sun is now about to set and, before ending our exciting tour, we make a last stop at the Pantani dell’Inferno where we are rewarded by a splendid Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica), thus closing our list of observations at 69 species of Birds, much to the delight of our two overseas guests!
Pettazzurro. Foto di Francesco Simonetta.
- Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
- Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
- Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
- Gadwall (Mareca strepera)
- Eurasian Wigeon (Mareca penelope)
- Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
- Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca)
- Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)
- Black-throated Loon (Gavia arctica)
- Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)
- Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
- Scopoli’s Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea)
- Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)
- Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)
- Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
- Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
- Great Egret (Ardea alba)
- Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
- Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia)
- Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)
- Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)
- Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)
- Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo)
- Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
- Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)
- European Coot (Fulica atra)
- Water Rail (Rallus aquaticus)
- Little Crake (Zapornia parva)
- Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius)
- Dunlin (Calidris alpina)
- Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)
- Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)
- Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus)
- Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)
- Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata)
- Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)
- Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
- Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis)
- Sandwitch Tern (Thalasseus sandvicensis)
- Feral Pigeon (Columba livia var. domestica)
- Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus)
- Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
- Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri)
- European Green Woodpecker (Picus viridis)
- Common House Martin (Delichon urbicum)
- White Wagtail (Motacilla alba)
- European Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
- Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros)
- Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica)
- Common Blackbird (Turdus merula)
- Zitting Cisticola (Cisticola juncidis)
- Cetti’s Warbler (Cettia cetti)
- Moustached Warbler (Acrocephalus melanopogon)
- Firecrest (Regulus ignicapilla)
- Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)
- Great Tit (Parus major)
- European Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)
- Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus)
- Short-toed Treecreeper (Certhia brachydactyla)
- European Magpie (Pica pica)
- Eurasian Jay(Garrulus glandarius)
- Western Jackdaw (Corvus monedula)
- Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix)
- Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
- Italian Sparrow (Passer italiae)
- Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)
- European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)
- Eurasian Siskin (Spinus spinus)
- Common Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus)