Abruzzo, Italy May 2022

A couple of hours East of Rome, the Apennine Mountains are one of Italy’s most interesting wildlife and flora areas, with one of its best-kept secrets, the Abruzzo National Park.

 

We start our new tour with three nights in the mountain town of Pescasseroli, where we are ideally situated to make short drives or walks into the varied and rich landscape to explore for birds and other wildlife. This region is spectacular and is probably best known for its isolated and endangered population of Marsican Brown Bears and one of our main bear-watching areas is just a stone’s throw away from our hotel! Close to an old church, we can stand in the early evening watching across the valley for these rare animals to appear where the only thing missing is a glass of Chianti.

 

Daily excursions will allow us to explore the Abruzzo National Park and we will have various scenic strolls into valleys to look for Golden Eagles, Lanner and Peregrine Falcons, Red and Black Kites, Rock Bunting and Rock Sparrow, as well as the rare Apennine Chamois. As well as the bears, we will also visit an ancient forest where a small population of Italian Wolves continue to survive. Ancient tracts of Beech forest hold small populations of White-backed Woodpecker of the distinctive Southern subspecies lilfordi and we will listen for their subtle calls, as well as those of Collared Flycatcher, the short-tailed ‘Italian’ Long-tailed Tit, ‘Eastern’ Subalpine Warbler, Golden Oriole and many other woodland species.

 

We then move to the northeast and the Majella National Park where we will spend four nights at a superb agriturismo in one of the remotest parts of Italy. This is the domain of the Apennine Wolf and a range of high alpine species including Lanner Falcon (of the threatened race feldeggii), Golden Eagle and White-winged Snowfinch.

 

Rock Partridge is one of the Western Palearctic’s trickiest species, but they can be seen and heard on rocky scree slopes on the Campo Imperatore and other montane species we will seek out include Red-billed and Alpine Choughs and Alpine Accentor. Dramatic and fast-flowing streams provide perfect habitats for Grey Wagtail and White-throated Dipper and in the Black and Mountain Pine woodlands, we will listen for the distinct trilling song of Western Bonelli’s Warblers and the bubbling call of Crested Tits.

 

This exciting new tour to two majestic parks will include many memorable birding and wildlife memories at a relaxing pace based at two comfortable, family-run hotels. All with great Italian food and wine and in the company of one of Italy’s foremost naturalists, Andrea Corso.

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