Day 6 in a Sicilian nature reserve

Last night we went out for pizza. As we got out of the car we heard a scops owl. Wow!
And today I heard my first peregrine falcon call. They only call when they are in close proximity to their nest. Which means of course, that the nest is some where quite near.

This morning we had to stop a group of six Swiss climbers. As soon as we explained that it is a nature reserve and there are rare breeding birds on the mountain sides they actually apologised to us. Bless ’em.
Then, after lunch, two Italian blokes arrived. These were not so obliging. One of them ranted and raved. They come here climbing all the time. They don’t disturb the wildlife. If its a wildlife reserve why don’t we remove all the houses and olive groves? Which by the way are not on the mountain side! Giovanni explained very patiently and politely that the law was the law, and the law says it is forbidden to climb. But the bloke just continued to wind himself up, and make a total fool of himself. Finally their two friends arrived. And when the fool told them “they say we cannot climb this mountain” they immediately said “oh because of the birds, yes of course”. Fool got in his car and drove off.
The worst was yet to come. Four blokes turned up with five (very cute) beagles. They spent the whole afternoon training the youngest of the beagles how to hunt. The noise! Shouting commands. Dogs barking. Echoes of dogs barking. Sticks thrashing the foliage. All of this, firstly, out of hunting season. There is a very obvious reason for hunting seasons. Right now its baby raising time in the wildlife world. And secondly, on a nature reserve where its forbidden anyway! D’Oh! We called the Forestale (wildlife police officers) and they arrived just in the nick of time, as the guys were packing the dogs away to leave. They’d been very naughty boys.

Bird list:
Alpine swift
Blue tit
Bonelli’s eagle
Great tit
Hooded crow
Rock dove
Sardinian warbler
Scops owl (last night)
Spanish sparrow
Yellow-legged gull Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange


About Olivia N Masi

From art college drop-out, to office space-planner, to back-packer, to air stewardess, to brolly babe, to model agent, to wildlife conservationist. How? I've always believed in jumping at every opportunity that comes my way. This has taken me along some bizarre career paths. None of which I regret. I have been to amazing places and met fascinating people. And having worked in the motor sport industry I've sadly experienced too many beloved friends take one adrenalin step too many. I think of them always. I've hung out with pop-stars, sports personalities, and millionaires. I reached a point when nothing but VIP would do. And then something happened. My pops passed away and I felt the need to reconnect with my Italian side. Whilst in Italy, I learnt to be resourceful, to recycle everything, to listen to the valley, to grow my own veg, to catch and tame feral cats, and to follow my heart. My heart led me to a desire to save this beautiful Earth, and all the wonderful life upon it. And so I read, and then I studied with the Open University. I suddenly found myself accepted on a BSc in Wildlife Conservation, having left school with pitiful qualifications. So here I am. A qualified Wildlife Conservationist. A scientist I suppose. I love nothing more than to listen to birdsong, and watch, learn and photograph wildlife. So here is to me getting the perfect job where I can contribute to saving one of Earth's beautiful species. Do I miss the glamour of the old life? The VIP lifestyle? The petrol-head adrenalin? The buzz of being a successful business owner? Only occasionally. Though it seems more like the distant dreams of a previous life.
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