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Stop Three: Birding on The Po Delta Wetlands But what about the flamingos? “There’s a 99% chance that we’ll see them,” I heard someone say. All those deep fried shrimp? Turns out their cousins often get eaten by the pink birds living in the marshy waterways of the Po. The Po Delta and its wetlands are part of the UNESCO World Heritage sites along with the city of Ferrara. The

natural area is habitat for a great mix of flora and fauna among its channels, lagoons, rivers, marshes and the sea, and it’s accessible for up-close investigation by walking and biking trails or by boat. The timing of our visit coincided with the International Po Delta Birdwatching Fair, a large event held annually in late April. We joined an afternoon boat tour, watching for all sorts of wildlife.

But the Valli di Comacchio (Fish Basins of Comacchio) host over 300 bird species, including black-winged stilts, egrets, purple herons, kingfishers, moorhens, coots, mallards, cormorants and, yes, flamingos. And then, after drifting lazily down the channels for an hour or two, the calm afternoon came to a close. The end of a pleasant day on the plains and waterways. No exclamation points, no giant conclusions. Simply a farewell to a new friend, and the hope to spend time again soon discovering quirks and mining interesting depths of a new character.

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