Friday, May 20, 2011

On the Wings of Summer


We are so enjoying a beautiful Spring in Calabria. It is the spring you think of in the dead of winter, not a sudden onset of summer (as we had last year) but a real SPRING with lovely days interspersed with rainy days. Some of our snowbird friends were disappointed in the weeks they chose to spend here this month--because we are having spring this spring and not an early summer.
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Summer is on the way, though. I can tell because the population of my favorite bird, the Swift is on the rise. This is one of those phenomenon that you actually have to see to enjoy. I tried very hard to capture them for you, but it is not possible. They frustrated my attempts to photograph them in any real defining way, almost as if they were camera-shy.  As soon as I put down the camera, they came in droves, screeching, dive-bombing and showing off--looking like fighter pilots on a lark.


Swifts are very unusual birds as I learned by watching them and at Avibirds European Birdguide Online. They spend most of their day in the air, usually mate in the air, and catch insects on the wing. They winter in Africa and breed here in late spring and summer. People often mistake them for swallows but they are much more accomplished flyers. They are a pure delight to watch in action.


After trying so hard and largely failing to catch the spirit of the Swifts, I was grateful for more sedentary creatures to portray:

16 comments:

  1. nice pictures. what kind of flower is that? (the red ones)

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  2. That is the Bougainvillea vine. Thanks for stopping by..

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  3. Hi Diana and Guido....I'm just vicariously living in italy through your blog, sipping a cappuccino on the verando looking at the beautiful italian countryside...ahhhhhh....
    grazie!

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  4. Prego, prego Liz. We got to watch the road paving machines work beneath the swifts today -- if only they would fix the real bad roads!! Just like Americans whining over their local roads eh? DJ

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  5. You have captured the swifts far better than I have ever managed - Kudos to you. Sleeping dogs by comparison... lol

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  6. I can see the makings of a fine bird photographer emerging here. Be careful Doug...taking pictures of birds can be addictive and once you catch the fever, you're a gonner and so may be your pocketbook! Shooting a swift in flight is probably one of the hardest shots to pull off. Still...you've done mighty fine here and I hope you continue to showcase the birds of Italy. Great post!

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  7. Hi Scott These photos are Di's doing. I took the AF for her because the sky background was not allowing the AF to work well. I tried a couple with the bigger lens, but you can go dizzy chasing swifts! dj

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  8. Hey Sue, Thanks. I sakes my frustrations--every time I put down the camera, a whole gaggle, flock, drove, squadron of them would come out of nowhere! Di

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  9. Beautiful pictures! WOW!!!

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  10. It looks like the Nile cruise was a success and now you have the patience to sit and take photos of the swifts. Swallows are easier as they will sit for a time! Interesting comment about Spring as here in Lazio we went from Winter to Summer with a very rushed spring and we need rain.

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  11. LLM,
    Well at least you have more beach days...I know we did last year.

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  12. your dog has such "human" eyes. i love him. sorry about my english/ but you'll know what i mean.

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  13. Si, si. Lui crede di essere umano. Excusa mio cattivo italiano..

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  14. Beautiful photos...not sure if you pay any attention to the weather in Oregon, but "Spring" has not happened here this year. Not even in Central Oregon - enjoy the sun and warmth and if you get "home sick" at all - get over it!

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