My last post started off along the Po River in Torino, Italy with friends and my lifer Common Kingfisher. It ended with a great Italian beer, as all good days in Italy should. I could probably write a number of blogs throughout 2020 about our 10 days spent in Italy. Instead, in an attempt to hold myself accountable to fresh material, I’m going to speed through to the very end.
After a wonderful week in Torino with our recently retired friends, birding local parks here and there, Sara and I ventured east. Along with our companion couple from Seattle, Chris and Rob, we spent the next several days in Bologna –my favorite city of the trip. From there, we took a day to visit Parma where we toured Hombre parmesan farm and picked up lifers Eurasian Jay and Common Wood-Pigeon. After the day in Parma, Sara and I headed to meet up with staple birder of the region, Menotti Passarella, and bird the Po Delta area. Despite a cold-snap leaving us with a chilly and foggy day, we landed 24 lifers including African Sacred Ibis, Greater Flamingo and Northern Lapwing. According to our guide, had we been there a week earlier, we could have had probably another dozen. But that’s just another reason to go back!
Our last day and a half of the trip was spent in Rome. What a mess. It’s similar to Manhattan sidewalk traffic but add in tour groups of 30-40 people everywhere you look. Now imagine wide and beautiful cobblestone streets, with no lanes, zooming vespas and darting cars. I was longing for the good old days in Bologna, shopping on the streets and grabbing giant slices of pizza for 2 euro. Alas, we were only here for a short time, so we found some street-beers and Paprika Pringle’s (my newest addiction) and wandered the city.
On our last full day in Italy, we got out early, before most of the throngs of people began to pour into the streets. We hit some of the must-see locations such as the Forum and Trevi Fountain on our way to the Colosseum.
Heading southeast on Via dei Fori Imperialiwe could see the Colosseum in the distance. We arrived and jumped in line to claim our tickets to tour the ancient killing-arena. Then it happened. Sara was the first to notice the birds moving between the Colosseum walls and an adjacent Parco del Celio. Shortly after seeing the body shape, we recognized the abrasive call we had been hearing was that of a parakeet. Quickly pulling up our Collins Bird Guide App we realized that we had our lifer Rose-ringed Parakeet!
We spent the next 30 minutes looking mostly away from the structure we had come to tour and every second was worth it. We watched and listened to dozens of these bright green birds darting from tree limb to the Colosseum wall and back. I certainly didn’t expect to pick up a lifer bird on our final day in the country. I couldn’t think of a better bird or location to close out my last lifer and species tick in 2019.
So, as the birding lists close for the year, so do the annual beer lists. I ended the year having listed 367 bird species, which includes 101 lifers! 459 unique beers also were explored, consumed with care, and listed. One of my final new and favorite beers of 2019 is from, yet again, 450 North Brewing. A late December 2019 release, this triple dry hopped treasure is what I expect from these masters of the India Pale Ale. Hazy, dank with with hops for days. I was lucky enough to snag some carryout before it was gone, so I mean for days!
Here’s to more birds and brews to ring in the next decade. Welcome to the future everybody. 2020, here we go!
Beer Info –
Brewery – 450 North
Location – 450 North Brewing Company – 8111 E 450 N, Columbus, IN 47203
Beer – Mansions on Fifth Ave.
Style – Triple Dry Hopped Triple IPA
ABV – 10.5-11%
Untappd Rating – 4.5/5
URL – www.450NorthBrewing.com
Bird Photo Info (in flight shot) –
Nikon 850 / Sigma (C) 150-600mm lens
1/1250s @ F6.3. ISO 400 – 600mm
Handheld – No Flash
Location – Colosseum – Rome, Italy
Date – September 27, 2019