Bird-photography in Italy is not easy like in other countries: decades of hunting pressure made the birds particularly shy and hardly approachable. The reserves along the gulf of Trieste offer one of the best options in autumn and winter.
That’s why I chose to go there leading two American photographers: despite the bad light of a cloudy, but mild, day and some lacks of fortune in some places, the photo-harvest of the day wasn’t bad at all.
To go photograph is different than going birding, because birds that are further than a couple of tens of meters almost don’t exist, being definitely too far away.
The reserves of coastal Friuli-Venezia Giulia host some nice hides and blinds, even if they were not though for the photography, having most of the time the wrong perspective.
The first stops were particularly unlucky: we went in fact along the coast, hoping in divers, grebes and marine ducks, but there were no divers at all and all the other subjects were far away, with poor photo results.
Then we moved to the Reserve “Foci dell’Isonzo” were there were hundred of ducks and Greylag Geese (Anser anser) in the renaturalized ponds.
Particularly pretty were a single individual of Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea) and the whitish Camargue horses that were introduced in the area from France more than twenty years ago, in order to control the growth of aquatic vegetation.
But was the arrival of a huge flock of thousands of White-fronted Geese (Anser albifrons), scarried by an helicopter, to leave astonished in a concert of loud calls!
From the Marinetta hide, the view was spectacular, with maybe 2-3 thousands of geese swimming together with ducks, cormorants and waders.
Then all in one time the White-fronted Geese took off again, passing above the windows in a breath-taking flight!
On the way back, we found again the horses grazing in peace in the water: with some pale sunshine, the view was remarkable.
We finished our day rather early, visiting after lunch the reserve of Valle Cavanata, but something had happened there and all the birds, including 30 elegant Spoonbills (Platalea leucorodia), had moved far away from the hides: maybe because of the passage of some noisy tourist or, who knows, even because of the use of a drone… The only one nice subject was a lonely Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus).