Thursday, January 10, 2008

Forcella Alta to Pertüs Pass: an ecomuseum

Red paint marks on the trees guide hikers through the forest.Flashback: Passo di Pertüs. Incredible to think that only two months ago when we were enjoying fall foliage, at this altitude the populated lowland views of Lecco could clearly be seen for miles around. Yet on this afternoon excursion in the snow, all that was plainly visible were clouds. Thick, poofy bunches of it! A cotton candy layer which hovered over the entire province it would seem, shielding inhabitants below from the rays of a bright winter sun.

An ecomuseum in the woods

I was surprised to see the trail updated with particulars in its ecomuseum. Part of this open-air museum includes structures used in the past to trap migrating birds. Rather clever I'll admit, but to get the gist of how it was done, large signboards render detail on the way these strategically positioned snares did the job. With the placement of nets among the trees, birds flying through a path were thereby easily caught without too much fuss.

This horseshoe shape so aptly named ròccolo (trap) employs the use of decoys and the calls of caged birds to lure the unknowing victims. In this illustration, the third image depicts the throwing of a predator-like object that frightens the flock into the surrounding nets. What happens to the lucky few who escape? Who knows, but there's a recipe - uccelli scappati (escaped birds) - which, regardless of the name has nothing to do with birds whatsoever.


la Cesena (Turdus pilaris) Fieldfares
il Tordo Bottaccio (Turdus philomelos) Song Thrush


la Peppola (Fringilla montifringilla) Brambling
il Fringuello (Fringilla coelebs) Chaffinch

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Directions for Forcella Alta: See google maps. The road left of the pond is where the trail begins. During spring/fall, about 1½ hours round trip from Forcella Alta to the abandoned convent. Add extra ½ hour if going further to the Pertüs pass. We took just a bit longer due to the 10-inch deep (25cm) snow. This is a popular area on weekends after a particularly big snowfall. Perfect for family outings, sledding and cross country ski practice.