Birdwatching in the Ferrara area

A two-day itinerary to discover some of the main sighting places

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Almost 350 species reported in the last 50 years make the Po Delta the most important ornithological area in Italy and one of the foremost of its kind in Europe. A biological heritage of enormous variety due above all to the differentiation of the environments, in a continuous alternation between land and water.

From the green area of the Great Mesola Wood to the endless expanses of brackish water of the Comacchio valleys; from the Sacca di Goro to the freshwater valleys of Argenta and Ostellato: in these areas, numerous species of nesting, migratory and wintering birds find food and shelter: herons, grebes, cormorants, egrets, marsh harriers, flamingos, little terns, black-winged stilts, spoonbills are just some of the birds present that can be spotted. So, armed with binoculars and spotting scopes, silent and stealthy among naturalistic oases of superb beauty, it is possible to admire the flight of a falcon, the dance of a crane, the courtship ritual of a pair of grebes or the delicate movements of flamingos at the first light of dawn. Here is a two-day itinerary to discover some of the main places for excellent bird sighting in the Ferrara area.

  • Length
    48 hours
  • Interests
    Nature & Outdoor
  • Target
  • First stop – Sacca di Goro Goro

    A large lagoon enclosed between the Po di Goro and the Po di Volano, the Sacca di Goro extends for about 3,000 hectares; a part of it, called Valli di Gorino, includes areas of oases of immense naturalistic value and there is an observation tower for birdwatching, while the area on the sea is bordered by a long strip of sand known as the “Island of Love”.

    There are numerous species that can be spotted throughout the year, in a continuous succession of departures and arrivals. In winter, the waters of the cove are populated by various flocks of ducks, the little grebe is very numerous, and it is also easy to spot some red-breasted merganser. In the salt marshes you can observe several waders including the Eurasian curlew and little curlew, turnstone and then, the black-bellied sandpiper, plover and black-tailed godwit. With the change of season, the species also change, in fact the purple heron, the common tern, the Kentish plover, the little tern, the avocet, the black-winged stilt and the oystercatcher all arrive in spring. 

  • Second stop – Great Mesola Wood Nature Reserve Mesola

    Located between the municipalities of Mesola, Goro and Codigoro, the Great Mesola Wood Nature Reserve covers an area of 1,058 hectares. There are three routes of different lengths, ranging from one to three hours of travel, along which you can observe the descendants of the ancient population of red deer (also known as dune deer), now flanked by numerous fallow deer, a species recently introduced. 

    The birdlife is represented by various types of Sylvids such as the blue tit, the great tit, the blackcap, the nightingale, the treecreeper, the golden oriole, and the hawfinch, to name just a few. Also present are the red woodpecker and the green woodpecker, the hoopoe and a large colony of wood pigeons. There are five species of nocturnal birds of prey that usually frequent the woods: the barn owl, the owl, the short-eared owl, the tawny owl and the scops owl. The best time to visit the forest is undoubtedly spring, when birdsong is at its loudest. Not far away, in the Torre Abate Oasis in the small town of Santa Giustina, an observation tower has been installed for birdwatching. 

  • Third stop – Comacchio Valleys Comacchio

    Moving southwards, the wonderful scenery of the Comacchio Valleys opens up, which extend for about 11,000 hectares and represent one of the most important areas of the Po Delta Park from an ornithological point of view, where it is possible to practice birdwatching following different routes.

    The birdlife of the Comacchio Valleys and Saltworks is extremely varied, but the crown jewel is represented by the pink flamingo, which nests in spring and then remains there throughout the year. In spring, the spoonbill, black-winged stilt, oystercatcher, avocet, common tern, black-footed tern, Kentish plover, little tern and several species of seagulls including the coral gull arrive to nest. In winter, in addition to the numerous species of waders such as the black-tailed godwit, greenshank, redshank, plover, and black-bellied sandpiper, you can also observe some Nordic species such as the goldeneye, the red-breasted merganser or the short-eared owl.

  • Fourth stop – Val Campotto Argenta

    A few dozen kilometres from Comacchio, in the immediate vicinity of the town of Argenta and south of the Reno river, you reach the site of Val Campotto. The area extends for 600 hectares with freshwater lakes and a wooded area of 100 hectares. 

    Val Campotto is characterised by the presence of one of the largest colonies of cormorants in Italy. Among the nesting species we note the black tern, the squacco Heron, the marsh warbler, the Savi's warbler, the great reed warbler and the Eurasian reed warbler. Among the migratory birds there is also the presence of the osprey, while the wooded area is home to several species of sylvids, such as the melodious warbler, the oriole, the cuckoo, the grey shrike and the ortolan bunting. 

Last update 19/01/2024

Information offices

Ufficio Informazioni Turistiche - Goro
Via Cavicchini L., 13 - Goro (FE)
+ 39 335 1720739
Ufficio Informazioni Turistiche - Mesola
Piazzetta S. Spirito - Mesola (FE)
+ 39 0533 993358
Ufficio Informazioni e Accoglienza Turistica - Comacchio
Via Agatopisto - Comacchio (FE)
+ 39 0533 314154
Ufficio Informazioni Turistiche - Argenta
Piazza Guglielmo Marconi, 1 - Argenta (FE)
+ 39 0532 330276

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