It’s the end of the winter in Southern Italy, and the days are becoming longer with more and more glimpses of sun. Not at a fast enough pace for me though, I wish it was already summer. The rain seems to subside for a few days, and then it returns. At times with a major wind, strong enough to push down the plants on the terrace and knock the birdfeeders off their hooks. The fern has had enough of this weather, having spent most of the winter on its side. Not fun when you’re a tropical plant, and your gene-cousins are probably enjoying the slow paced life of the tropics. That must be nice. If only the fern and I could escape to Costa Rica right now.
The cold and rain does make life less eventful. There is less enthusiasm for leaving the house on excursions or travel. Why leave home to visit an agriturismo for the weekend, when you know you’re going to freeze you soul off, and only long to be the warmth and comfort of your own home? As an amateur birdwatcher, being outdoors, away from the city centers is always a recurring daydream I have while at work, sitting at my desk. But then the weekend arrives, as did last weekend, and the husband and I decide to go out and get some fresh air, somewhere new.
We had been wanting to visit a WWF Oasis in Persano (www.wwf.it/persano.nt), about an hour south of Salerno, where we live. This seemed like a good day to do so. We already visited a Lipu* Oasis in the Molise, in the summer of 2009, with very little luck. Not only did we not see one single interesting bird (other than your standard pigeon, field crow and sparrow), but we were bit in continuation by mosquitos (the infamous zanzara). It had taken us 2hs to get to this Oasis (a literal misnomer), spent about an hour inside the park with a very kind guide, and then drove back home, all the long way home, a tad bit frustrated. But Italy always has the secret quality of giving something back, no matter where you land that day. Be it in its landscapes, its people, it’s paese’s… there is always something that can get to you. For us, the high of the day was a nice one: a simple picnic on a golden hillside under a very large oak tree. Behind us, an old brick house from the 1800’s, and in our hands a slice of a deliciously home-made pizza di spinaci (a version of a spinach quiche) with a nice bottle of Morellino di Scansano.
This was our first picnic together.
*LIPU is the Italian League for the Protection of Birds http://www.lipu.it/)