BIOWATCHING IN THE TUSCAN ARCHIPELAGO NATIONAL PARK
>What is biowatching?(by francesco Mezzatesta)
It is the study of nature in all its forms. While the word "birdwatching" means observing birds through binoculars, "biowatching" has a deeper meaning, not just that of observing birds, but also the natural environment around us, flowers, trees and bushes, mammals and the traces they leave behind, insects, reptiles, amphibians and fish. Every type of environment, so to speak, the flora and the fauna we no doubt come across when out for a walk, be it simply for pleasure or for eco tourism. An incredible world will unfold before our very eyes, and what up till then had only seemed rocks, plants, butterflies or birds, will suddenly become ground where garrigues grow, granite land, Elba cassandra, Sardinian Dartford warblers.
After they had taken part in one of the biowatching courses that have been held both in Italy and abroad, and got acquainted with this "sport and free time eco activity", the comment of most people can be summed up more or less like this: "Thankyou for having taught us to look all around us". This may seem a perfectly normal thing to do, but the fact is, more often than not, nature and its different forms of life that make up biodiversity are right in front of our nose but we don't even notice them. And this is what really makes nature lovers feel they have achieved something. We humans are a socialising species, so sharing with others the happy times we have spent with Mother Nature is truly gratifying.
We all know that nature makes us feel surprisingly good if we know how to "listen" to it and appreciate it. What can be better than sitting at the top of a cliff, surrounded by the Mediterranean bush of Helichrysum and lavender, and watch the seagulls fly by, or the peregrine hawk dive downwards, while a lizard lies on a granite rock in the sun only a few steps away from us! These are the "strong feelings" that only nature can bring out, but only if you are willing to give into her enthralling harmony.
Hemingway once said: "Earth is a beautiful place and is worth the effort of fighting for".
Knowing is, in fact, the first step towards protecting, and this is the main aim of those who love their environment.
What you need if you want to do biowatching
For those who want to do biowatching, especially at the beginning, you will need an expert who can go with you on your first excursions; you will also need some fauna and flora "field guides" , pocket sized observation guide books to help you compare shapes, colours and the general aspect of what you come across while about. Don't forget your binoculars if you want to look at anything that is far away. A notebook will come in very handy so you can write down anything you don't recognise or aren't sure about. Wear clothing that is suitable for the occasion, avoiding bright colours if possible, and walking shoes. Bring a ruck sack with you with water and some food inside, and of course a k-way should it rain.
Who we are and what we do
We are nature lovers, and we want our guests to know and appreciate the world around us, in all its complex and biodiverse forms.
We organise excursions in mid or low season for small groups who want to become more acquainted with all the aspects of the natural environment of the Tuscan Archipelago Natural Park. Anyone can take part; they aren't usually long walks, so that every aspect of nature can be studied without rushing. When the walks planned are longer and more tiring, the length and level of difficulty are always clearly stated. An environmental guide will always be with you, and sometimes a naturalist as well. On the evening of guests' arrival at the hotel an expert will show slides and films explaining the routes.