Birding trips from Siena

Surrounded by extensive reedbeds, cultivated land, and broadleaf woodlands, the freshwater lakes of Chiusi and Montepulciano are the remnant of a vast marsh that covered this area until the Medicean era. Among the most important wetlands in central Italy, these lakes are important localities for little bittern, pygmy cormorant, squacco heron, great crested grebe, and common kingfisher. A couple of pairs of ferruginous ducks breed annually, and a handful of that very scarce species overwinter, too.

Crete Senesi and Val d’Orcia are southeast of the town of Siena, part of a vast mosaic of fields, vineyards, olive groves, cypresses, and beech and chestnut groves; the entire landscape is dotted with marvelous castles, medieval villages, and rural farmsteads. Birding here can be very productive, with European bee-eaters, green woodpeckers, golden orioles, sky lark, crested lark, and little owl among the species recorded. Crete Senesi and Val d’Orcia are also significant spots for the stone curlew, short-toed eagle, and Eurasian kestrel, while the uncommon Montagu’s harrier nests in vast fields of grain.

Siena is also surrounded by large wooded areas. Walking the easy trails here is a good way to find forest species such as the great spotted woodpecker, tawny owl, sparrowhawk, Eurasian nuthatch, and Eurasian jay.