The island of Lido di Venezia is usually known because it hosts the “Venice Film Festival“, but can be also a very good place for birdwatching, expecially in winter. It’s is an alogated dike that, together with the island of Pellestrina, separates the Venice lagoon from the Adriatic sea.
The island follows the Veneto coastline, along an important migration route, but receives also the influence of the lagoon, a site rich in biodiversity, expecially water birds. Some patches of preserved habitats like dunes, pinewoods, Mediterranean maquis and steppe increase even more the natural value of the area. All these aspects make the Lido di Venezia a great place where to look for birds, expecially rare ones.
One of the best sides is the area of San Niccolò, with a beatiful area of grassy dunes and a long dike that penetrates for 2,5 km into the Adriatic sea, ending with a red lighthouse.
I visited the Lido di Venezia twice during the winter 2017/2018. The first time I went there in ordet to twitch a stunning Great Northern Diver (Gavia immer) also known as Common Loon: the greatest of European divers is a rare bird at Italian level and was one of the very few ever reported in the region of Veneto.
The bird was fishing rather far in the shallow waters.
Many more interesting birds were reported in the area during the days before, including Red-throated Diver and Slavonian Grebe, but together with the diver I observed some Shags (Phalacrocorax aristotelis desmarestii)…
…tens of Great Crested and Black-necked Grebes…
…one Mediterranean Gull…
…and many Great Cormorants.
The Great Northern Diver came closer, showing better.
I noticed also big flocks of Dunlins, with few Sanderlings, flying from the artificial island in front of the lighthouse to the lagoon, where the tide was going down: at the end I counted more than 1700 individuals.
The Great Northern Diver fed with gluttony on tens of mantis shrimps.
On the way back from the dike, I managed to spot a Red-breasted Merganser and a very far Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena).
The second time I visited the island of Lido di Venezia, I went in order to watch a flock of lovely redpolls mixed with many other finches, all feeding on the Oenothera sp. spikes in the dunes.
I spotted in few minutes the first redpolls: they were very confident and they proved to be Lesser Redpolls (Acanthis cabaret), with their brownish and creamy tones.
Together with redpolls there were also Goldfinches, Siskins, Greenfinches, Serins, Chaffinches and Cirl and Reed Buntings.
But I spotted also some much whiter redpolls, with 1-2 fantastic males: Common or Mealy Redpolls (Acanthis flammea), a very rare bird for Italy!
One of the best aspects of going birding in the island of Lido di Venezia is that, expecially with the clear air and warm light of winter, on the way back by the ferry called “vaporetto“, the view is definitely breath-taking.