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Discovering the Flamingos

Foto di Alberto Casamenti

In 1994 the era of pink flamingos began in Orbetello, with the arrival for the first time of a small group of flamingos who decided to try to nest in the beautiful Orbetello Lagoon. Initially, 76 nests were built, but due to the disturbance caused by some people, most of them decided to abandon and only 26 remained, but this time, under close surveillance of WWF volunteers and some inhabitants of Neghelli, until the hatching. of the eggs and the fledging of the young.

After about a month, the researchers decided to ring the young, as had happened for years in France and Spain, in the huge colonies of the Mediterranean. On 16 August 1994 the children were gathered in a small enclosure where, one at a time, they were taken and ringed: steel ring on the left paw and blue PVC ring on the right paw. Since then, the 26 small pink Orbetellani have toured all the wetlands of the Mediterranean, allowing them to reconstruct their migratory routes and provide important data for their conservation.

Foto di Luciano Salvatore

We have recently received news of one of them (IBB) who for some years has decided to breed in France, in the Camargue, at the Agues Mortes salt flats. It was certainly not a very “girandolona” female because after sporadic visits to Sardinia (the last in 2005) it seems to have settled permanently in the Camargue, where every year she gives birth to a small flamingo with part of the Orbetello chromosomes. The flamingos come to spend the winters in the Orbetello Lagoon and are a real spectacle of nature. For the past 25 years, the Laguna di Ponente has been tinged with pink from autumn to spring. The maximum attendance, in general, is in the month of December. Morning is the best time to spot them, in compact spots. Then there are 2-3 days a year when the Ponente Lagoon really becomes all pink due to the massive presence of flamingos. A rare and unforgettable sight but, unfortunately, unpredictable. Some specimens are present all year round, even if they have nested here only once. For a “close” encounter with pink flamingos, we recommend the ornithological trails of the WWF Oasis of the Orbetello Lagoon. You can observe them very closely using the numerous huts equipped for bird watching. If, on the other hand, you are content to observe them a little further from afar, without effort, you can take the road that starts from Orbetello Scalo (by car, by bike, on foot, in short, as you wish) and which runs along the entire Ponente Lagoon. Especially in the first section, the one in front of the hospital, you will certainly spot some.

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