Flamingo watching in the Po Delta Park
We get out of the car and it's 45°C outside, the air is humid and sticky with a smell of salt that twitches your nose the moment you step outside. Under this blazing hot, the hubby and I were about to embark on our next excursion, visiting the flatlands of the Po Delta national park. The delta is only 1 hour away driving from Bologna and it is a good half-day or day trip from the medieval city.
What is the Po Delta?
The region is a bird sanctuary with almost 300 registered species living here; a true heaven for bird lovers. Located in Emilia Romagna, the Po Delta Park is formed by Italy’s largest river Po. The river dissolves into the sea forming endless streams of water, lagoons and swamps. The area was awarded World Heritage status by UNESCO due to its biodiversity and the key role that the city of Ferrara has played in the regions through the century.
What to do in Po Delta Park?
The area is huge as it extends to more than 50,000 hectares combining wetlands, agricultural land, forests, islands, lagoons, swamps, and marshes. There are multiple organised excursions or cycling and hiking trails designed to see the best in this area. The delta forever intertwines history and nature as mankind and animals have always co-existed here hand to hand.
The region is also well-known to see flamingos, these long-leg birds have starting to stay in the delta for the past years. The guide told us that due to global warming, the pink birds changed their migratory path and ended up in the region. And this was the reason we ended up here, to see these elegant birds up close.
We took a boat trip to better get a glimpse of this unique ecosystem. The excursion takes you through the flamingo lagoon and the historical eel fishing huts of the latter times. The boat excursion takes around 2 hours and you can see the diverse range of aquatic birds like herons and egrets to name a few birds.
On the historical side, you learn how, in the past centuries, fishermen were doing the traditional ‘lavoriero’, a trap placed in the water to catch eels. The fishermen understood that the eel migrates towards the sea to reproduce so they created traps to catch them in these moments. The tour stops in the old fishing huts to fully explain their lifestyle and the tools that they used to make daily catches that would later end up being a regional plate.
While we did enjoy the tour, I was disappointed that we did not see the flamingos up close as the tour did not approach them but you know, nature is always so unpredictable!
Other practical infomation
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Disclaimer: Po delta Tourism gave us one free excursion. All opinions are my own
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