Monday, 16 April 2012

Verona - 11th - 13th April

We arrived in dry weather, but while on the way to the hotel from the airport, the rain started, and very quickly it became very heavy.  We ventured from the hotel into the city, but found a combination of umbrellas and slippery marble pavements made it very difficult to appreciate the city.  A break in the rain allowed us to see Juliett's house, but very little else.

Thursday was a completely different day, the sky was blue and and the sun shone, and suddenly Verona looked a completely different place.  Walking alongside the River Adige, Swifts were everywhere, swooping low over the water and circling around the towers and buildings.

As well as the Swifts, Swallows, House Martins, and Crag Martins were also seen flying low over the water, and under the bridges.  One Swallow sat in the bushes alongside the river as we walked by.  It seemed to be desperate to attract our attention as it sang very loudly.  The final part of the song was a rattle, and we were close enough to see the feathers on it's throat vibrate.  It was lovely to see them, and I hope by the time we get home they arrive there too

The air was cool, and as a result a mist rolled in up the river valley, and returned the city to cloud cover by the middle of the morning.  This provided for some lovely atmospheric landscapes of the old bridge, and town area.  By lunch time the sun and blue sky had returned.

We walked around the city enjoying the sun, and the wonderful scenery.  A stop for refreshments in Piazza Dei Signori, allowed some time to watch a House Sparrow.  Close examination and subsequent research could not confirm this as a true Italian Sparrow, as the dark bib on the breast does not seem to be as well defined as pictures I have seen, however the bib is a lot larger and darker than the House Sparrows, which may suggest this bird was the product of some mixed relationships.

Other wildlife observations of note was the amazing lack of female Mallards on the river, we saw males, and even ducklings with males, but no females.  Also a kestrel was seen hovering over the river bank but did not come close enough to determine whether it was a lesser.

We were extremely lucky to get a wonderful sunny and warm day sandwiched between heavy rain, and a day where rain was forecast.  It allowed us to see this beautiful city at it's best.  If you haven't been, then we would thoroughly recommend it.

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