Thursday, October 15, 2009


Yesterday, after a recommendation in BBC Wildlife Magazine, we headed off to Comacchio, near the east coast, to a huge lake and wetland system that plays host to a wealth of migrating birds in the autumn and spring. The weather was great as we set off, but we had only been going for about half an hour when we could see a huge rainstorm in the distance. We'd checked the weather forecast a couple of days previously, which promised dry weather, but not today, so had no idea what was in store. Before we got drenched we decided to pull in under a bridge to don the waterproofs. Admittedly it was a bit of a struggle to get them on, but we weren't under the bridge for that long, but when we came out there was no sign of the rain. A little further up the road however, it was clear there'd recently been a downpour. Lucky escape for us then! It took ages to get to Comacchio, not least because of the lack of signposts, but also the local population's complete oblivion to one of the most important destinations for migratory birds in the whole of Europe. Italians don't really "do" birds... apart from to blast them out of the sky it would seem. Still, we eventually found it, and in true Italian style, it was all but deserted. There were 2 sad, lonely figures at the visitors' centre, nothing to eat thanks to the lack of a chef, (not even a sandwich!!) and no guided tours or boat drivers available. So, we walked to a part of the lake where we could see the famous flamingoes... at a distance of approximately 1km, and then walked back, on the way passing some gulls and terns (specific species unknown), some great white egrets, cormorants and unknown flying little waders. All interesting, and very cute but I hope I don't sound churlish when I say, I WAS HOPING FOR A BIT MORE THAN THAT!!!! Ho-hum, we'll just have to come back another day and hope that we don't encounter the same apathy next time. Thank you BBC Wildlife Magazine for so thoroughly researching this trip and giving us all the information we needed for a grand day out... not...

Good thing is though, that in spite of there being a lot of heavy rain about, we by and large missed it. We always seemed to be behind the rain, arriving to find soaking wet streets and sunshine. It was really cold though, so in spite of my 3 seasons jacket (which 3 seasons might they be, then?) I was absolutely freezing on the back. Still, a lesson learnt there, if nothing else: If it's 11∘C in the sun when you leave, it's going to be a flipping site colder on the bike!

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