Tuesday, October 18, 2005

A week in Rome

Temple of Castor and Pollux & Temple of Vesta

(Photo credit - Rob J)

I don’t always write my journal entries on a timely basis. Sometimes impressions, memories and ideas stick in my head and pester me until I yield to their voices. We just spent a week in Rome. The exhilaration of lengthy walks on ancient paths, absorbing profound chapters of history and overindulging on mouthwatering foods usually left me too spent at day’s end to write anything down.

Piazza San Pietro - Rock Pigeon

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Castel Sant'Angelo - Common Wall Lizard (Podarcis muralis)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

The word “familiarity“ kept popping into my head during and after the trip. I noticed plants that looked very similar to ones in Brooklyn. Polkweed, ailanthus, phragmites and chicory were a few plants that I saw everywhere. I searched for squirrels in the branches of a tree adorned with large acorns. I was disappointed to learn that squirrels in Rome are almost nonexistent. The abundant Common Wall Lizards, however, seemed as urbanized in Rome as our squirrels in New York City.

Palatine Hill - olives

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Palatine Hill - Umbrella pine framed by Domus Augustana

(Photo credit - Rob J)

On our second day we walked up the Palatino, the highest of Rome’s hills and the nucleus of its existence. Near the top I heard a bird’s high-pitched ”see, see, see“ and immediately thought ”Golden-crowned Kinglet“. I tracked the calling bird as it fed within the thorny leaves of a holly. If I didn’t know better I would have assumed that it was a kinglet as it was almost identical. It was the kinglet’s European cousin, the Firecrest. A White Wagtail pumped his tail as he foraged in the stubby grass of a freshly mowed field; habits and behavior similar to the American Pipit. While cycling along the ancient Appian Way I heard the squawking of several parakeets and was surprise to see a flock of Monk Parakeets circling the hulking shell of a building from a bygone era. I thought that Brooklyn was the only place outside of Argentina where Monk Parakeets have taken up residence. I presumed that their noisy agitation was due to a pair of Eurasian Kestrels hunting over an adjacent field. They’re also just a boisterous, gregarious species by nature.

-Click here to see a 'crest & kinglet comparison-

Appia Antica ruins

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Villa Borghese - Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

I chased a beautiful black, white and red butterfly so I could photograph my first European species. It reminded me of a Red Admiral. I found out later that it was a Red Admiral. Apparently, Vanessa atalanta is very common in North America and Europe. I did manage to take a photo of one new butterfly for me - the Southern Comma.

-Click here for a guide to European moths & butterflies-

Castel Sant'Angelo - Southern Comma (Polygonia egea)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Palatine Hill - Fire Bugs (Pyrrhocoris apterus)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

I guess it unconsciously creates a level of comfort in unfamilar surroundings when I can find similarities to my accustomed haunts. I tried to ignore any similarities between the Roman Empire and...

Appia Antica - chariot tracks

(Photo credit - Rob J)

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Rome Italy, 10/11/2005-10/17/2005
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Great Cormorant
Mute Swan
Mallard
Eurasian Kestrel
Herring Gull
Yellow-legged Gull
Rock Pigeon
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Monk Parakeet
Common Cuckoo
Common Swift
Crested Lark
Common House-Martin
White Wagtail
Yellow Wagtail
Goldcrest
Firecrest
Eurasian Blackbird
Song Thrush
European Robin
Long-tailed Tit
Great Tit
Blue Tit
Eurasian Jackdaw
Hooded Crow
European Starling
European Greenfinch
European Goldfinch
House Sparrow
Eurasian Tree Sparrow

Villa Borghese - Bougainvillea

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Roman Forum - High Mallow (Malva sylvestris)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Villa Borghese - Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Roman Forum - White Garden Snail (Theba pisana)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

2 comments:

Vics said...

The "Villa Borghese - unknown wildflowers" looks like a bougainvillea. My parents had a huge bush of it in the backyard when I was growing up. Lovely stuff, if a bit prickly.

Rob J. said...

Thanks for the info. My father retired to Arizona and had them growing around his house so they looked familiar.

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