Birding in Tuscany

June 16, 2014  |  Activities, Chianti Holidays, Hotel

Blackbird in its nest at Villa le Barone Tuscany

Tuscany and Chianti are not locations coming first to mind when you think of birding, or bird watching. However at the countryside hotel Villa le Barone, which sits in a protected area in the heart of Chianti, you can see, listen to and discover many species of birds.

There is of course the blackbird that will welcome you with its trills. It comes hopping, searching for worms in the garden and flower beds, eating cherries in the orchard trees! You will recognize the all black male, except for the yellow beak and a yellow ring around the eye while adult females have brown plumage. Although the male can help constructing the nest, mainly by providing building materials, the female builds a nest almost alone,  cup-shaped with moss, grass, small twigs and roots. She then lines it with mud or muddy leaves … She will incubate the small bluish eggs for 10 to 14 days before they hatch and we can currently see the baby blackbirds trying their new wings!
If you come in the spring, you hear the unmistakable cuckoo. Heard, but rarely seen, cuckoos are the heralds of spring as their song is clearly heard in the woods around Villa le Barone, marking the beginning of the season. It is said that cuckoos do not build nests and lay their eggs in other birds’, leaving them to look after their offsprings for them.

And then there are the doves. Collared or domestic? … We do not know, but they are cooing near the Villa.

Jay in Chianti by John Mills, a winner of Villa le Barone's photocompetition

A host of Villa le Barone won a bottle of Chianti in participating in our photo competition. He has managed to take a picture of a jay. This bird that lives in the forest is easy to identify thanks to its bright blue wing patches streaked with black and white. Its chest is pinkish beige. Its beak is highlighted by thick black mustaches.

We have heard many times, without seeing it, the Scops Owl, small raptor the size of a robin that endlessly repeats the same strident cry at regular intervals of a few seconds.  Hearing it in the sweetness of warm nights is a real treat!

And then there are the swallows, the swifts, the pheasants, the hoopoes, the wagtails…This is why many birders are coming to Villa le Barone with their binoculars.

From Villa le Barone, you can at the same time  visit the cities of art, enjoy hiking and cycling, enjoy exquisite Chianti wine and  genuine Tuscan cuisine… and watch  birds!


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