The Valli di Comacchio is a huge brackish lagoon, the largest in Italy, and lies close to the Adriatic coast to the south of the Po Delta. It is surrounded by a series of smaller lagoons, saltmarshes and agricultural land and the whole area is excellent for birds.
Lega Italiana Protezione Uccelli have a reserve at Boscoforte, a long sandy peninsula projecting into the southern side of the lagoon and there is another reserve on the northern shores at Valle Zavelea (Fossa di Porto).
An astounding selection of birds can be seen at all times of year throughout this area and it is worthy of thorough exploration, particularly during passage periods when the greatest variety of species is present.
The sandbanks of Boscoforte and the nearby Lavadena Bank provide nesting sites for Black-winged Stilt and Pied Avocet, Collared Pratincole, Northern Lapwing and Common Redshank. There are also breeding Gull-billed Tern, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern and Little Tern as well as Mediterranean Gull.
Birds breeding in the reedbeds and beside the less saline stretches of water include Great and Little Bittern, Black-crowned Night Heron, Squacco Heron and Purple Heron, Eurasian Spoonbill and Water Rail.
Passage periods bring a huge range of herons, waterfowl and waders to the area. Great White Egret and Little Egret are regular in autumn and winter and both dabbling and diving ducks occur in good numbers with Greylag Goose in winter.
The shallow fresh and brackish water, saltmarsh, sands and mudflats attract large numbers of waders to the area which include most of the regular north European species. Scarcer waders such as Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper and Marsh Sandpiper are regular in autumn.
Birds you can see here include:
Little Grebe, Great Bittern, Little Bittern, Black-crowned Night Heron, Squacco Heron, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Eurasian Spoonbill, Greylag Goose, Common Shelduck, Gadwall, Common Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, Western Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Water Rail, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Pied Avocet, Collared Pratincole, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Eurasian Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Northern Lapwing, Red Knot, Sanderling, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ruff, Common Snipe, Whimbrel, Eurasian Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstone, Gull-billed Tern, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Little Tern, Mediterranean Gull, Little Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Blue-headed Wagtail, Zitting Cisticola, Moustached Warbler, Common Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Bearded Tit, Italian Sparrow, Reed Bunting
History and Use
Areas of Interest
For the Valle Zavalea reserve take the road towards Anita until the water pumps at Fossa di Porto and continue along the canal bank.
The LIPU reserve at Boscoforte can be reached from Ville Zavalea on the Argine Agosta towards Anita, turning left at Via Rotta Martinella and on to the River Reno and the ferry. Park here and the reserve entrance is a short walk along the bank.
Lavadenea Bank runs from Boscoforte to the S309 road and gives excellent views over the lagoon.
Access and Facilities
The Valli di Commachio lies to the south of the town of Comacchio close to the Adriatic coast of northern Italy and much of the lagoon can be viewed from surrounding roads. Comacchio is a small fishing town built on canals and has plenty of hotel accommodation, there are also numerous campsites in the area.
Content and images originally posted by Steve