Don’t die until you see a Hoopoe. What a stunning bird!
Each morning we’d pull out our map and choose a walk on one of the ancient gravel roads that wind up, down, and over the hillsides that surrounded us in Greve, a Tuscany village about 45 minutes south of Florence.
Those walks took us past old homes, vineyards and olive groves, and through forests full of birds. I’m certain the locals made fun of the tourists with binoculars always stuck to their faces! We do a lot of birding in Italy.
On our first trip here a few years ago, we spotted a very colorful bird near a small stream that flows through the village. The bird was yellow, brown, and black with a bright red face.
We thought we’d discovered a most amazing creature, so we raced back to our apartment to haul out our Birds of Europe book, only to discover that it was a very common European Goldfinch! I guess it must be a cousin to the dozens of Goldfinches that crowd our bird feeder at home all winter long.
My first look at a Hoopoe came on this most recent trip when Linda shook me awake at 7 am on our first morning, almost shouting, “You’ve got to see this bird!” And I had to admit, it was magnificent. So I couldn’t be grouchy about getting woken – even though I later learned that the Hoopoe is considered the “bird of ill omen.” We suffered no bad luck.
And the next morning, there were five Hoopoes on the lawn!