Wallcreeper near the Vajont dam

The Wallcreeper (Tichodroma muraria) is considered one of the most wanted birds in the World. Usually people that visit Italy in spring or summer ask to see it, but, to be honest, I find much easier to spot this wonderful bird in autumn and winter, when it comes at lower altitudes and spreads in gorges and quarries.

I found my bird in neighborhood of the famous dam of Vajont, in the Dolomiti Friulane Natural Park.

Vajont Dam
Vajont Dam

The dam, when built in 1960, with the height of 261 m, was the tallest in the World (and it’s still the 7th), but its record was obscured by the tragedy that followed in 1963. The lake of Vajont, created by the dam, caused the landslide of the northern side of mount Toc. The sediments crashed in the water produced a huge wave that destroied at first the villages of Erto and Casso, and then, overtaking tha dam, covered and and smashed the Piave valley, including the town of Longarone.

When you observe a Wallcreeper, you might be surprized by how much tiny it is…

Wallcreeper (Tichodroma muraria)
Wallcreeper (Tichodroma muraria)

…even with it’s obvious scarlet wings.

Wallcreeper (Tichodroma muraria)
Wallcreeper (Tichodroma muraria)

That’s why, to get some better photos, I had to add the 1.4x converter to my Canon 100-400 mm and the bird was still small: the pictures you will see in this post are all crops.

Wallcreeper (Tichodroma muraria)
Wallcreeper (Tichodroma muraria)

It’s not only because of the size, but also the habitat that this species frequents is definitely one of the less easy to be reached: almost vertical cliffs.

Wallcreeper (Tichodroma muraria)
Wallcreeper (Tichodroma muraria)

I observed my bird feeding on a wasp-like fly…

Wallcreeper (Tichodroma muraria)
Wallcreeper (Tichodroma muraria)

…and on a big spider.

Wallcreeper (Tichodroma muraria)
Wallcreeper (Tichodroma muraria)

I couldn’t take any flying shot, because the cliff was in the shade and, with my “powerful lenses”, I couldn’t photograph with shorter times than 1/200…

Anyway it was such a beautiful bird!!

Wallcreeper (Tichodroma muraria)
Wallcreeper (Tichodroma muraria)

Later I explored the meadows and the woodlands around the pittoresque village of Casso.

Casso
Casso

Not many birds, unfortunatelly: some Wrens, 1 Crested Tit, many Marsh Tit, 2 Spotted Nutcrackers, 1-2 Ravens…

But the view into the valley of Piave river was superb!

Piave valley
Piave valley

Luca Boscain

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