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Friday, November 27, 2009

Migration Watch: The Po Delta

There are in Europe a number of locations, often wetlands, that seem to act as conduits for bird migration, as well offering superb breeding and wintering habitats. I have already described some of the most famous that I have visited, including the Camargue (Rhone Delta in France); the Danube Delta in Romania; The Coto DoƱana (Gualdaquivir Delta) in Andalusia, Spain; and Neusiedlersee on the Austrian-Hungarian border.

In Northern Italy the River Po flows into the western Adriatic Sea, just south of Venice. The river's huge and fertile delta, like many of the other great European river delta, has been largely developed for agriculture. Nevertheless, a great deal of this special habitat has is conserved in the Po Delta National Park and attracts large numbers of birdwatchers.

Th Po delta lies lies between Chioggia to the north and Commachio to the south.
Image by Google Earth, please click on it to enlarge

The Po Delta National Park is a haven for wetland birds,
and for birds migrating from Europe to Africa

Besides representing a migratory route for birds leaving Europe for Africa, its generally mild winter climate offers a suitable location for overwintering by huge numbers of species that descend from Lapland and the Arctic tundra. The map below shows ringing recoveries of one example, the Fieldfare, with a distinct cluster of dots in the Po Delta area.

The ellipse indicates the large number of recoveries of ringed Fieldfares in the region of the Po Delta, a major wintering habitat for this species.
Fieldfares breed in Lapland and the Arctic tundra but migrate south in winter. Large numbers of these birds winter over in the Po Delta of northern Italy.
(Please click on the picture for the internet source of this image)

Access to the Po Delta National Park is sometimes by way of floating pontoon bridges
across the numerous channels

The Po Delta National Park is a mosaic of wetlands, reed-beds and agricultural land

In some places sand or shingle fringes to the lagoons provide
a nesting habitat for terns and gulls

The Great White Egret is one of many species of water birds that inhabit the Po Delta

A skein of Cormorants passes over the Po Delta


Blogger Badger said...

I will pop over to the Duck Pond tomorrow and see if I can spot a ringed Fieldfare

9:15 pm  
Blogger simon said...

do these "centres" of migration vary? In australia they vary depending on the availability of water ( as an example)

10:26 am  
Blogger Ellee Seymour said...

Migratory birds have been swooping into Cambridgeshire too and I shall soon be heading for Welney.

6:12 pm  
Anonymous Ted M. Gossard said...

Interesting. I think of Meijer Gardens here in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and I think of the wonderful, albeit small marshlands that are there. Would be a wonderful place to try to find some unusual fowl, I would think. Deb and I have seen some interesting things there. I'd like to go there this Winter, but we'll have to be bundled up good, especially Deb, as she's quite averse to colder weather.

Interesting the spot in N. Italy. And how birds migrate through marsh areas. Never realized that.

2:16 pm  
Blogger simon said...

ted- you should by a bird book and a pair of binoculars and start having a look you will be surprised at what you will find

9:24 pm  

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