We've just got back from a fantastic trip to 'Le Marche' in Italy. It is an area on the Adriatic coast which encompasses the dramatic Sibillini Mountains. We arrived at the port city of Ancona, where we saw still-migrating swifts, swallows and martins, which presumably follow the Italian coastline before heading out across the mediterranean to their African wintering zones.
Heading inland to the rolling uplands of olive groves and farmland punctuated by small, red-tiled hilltop towns, we found that birdlife was much less evident than in our corner of Norfolk. We hypothesised that this may be to do with a range of factors, from land management regimes, lack of hedgerows, hunting and widespread feeding of birds in the UK. But maybe the large numbers of lot of raptors also gave a clue?
Argiope bruennich) and amphibians.
Xylocopa violacea which have occasionally been seen in the UK, but are mostly only found in southern Europe. The butterflies were also great - more about those to come.
And just like Duncan in France, no trip abroad is complete without nearly treading on a huge, ugly toad, such as this chap...