It may be the first time ever that flamingos have flown over Cortona,
but their change of flight path was a welcome event last week with everyone agape
at the sight of these extraordinary birds - heralded by an excited hubbub of
noise - which had everyone looking to the skies.
Few people were able to identify them, assuming – because of the
cacophony of sound that accompanied them – they were seagulls or crows or geese
(all noisy birds!). However, a friend from Kenya did recognise them and after some initial
scepticism on our part and a bit of research, the record was set straight.
In fact flamingos – in this instance the greater Flamingo - are common
in Italy, migrating from Africa and the Indian sub-continent in February and
early spring to many areas in Southern Europe, including Italy’s marshy coastal areas such as those in Puglia, Sardinia, Sicily and to our great surprise, in Tuscany.
They are indeed noisy
birds and are known for their nasal honking, grunting and even growling!!
Apparently, these various vocalizations play an important role in keeping
flocks together as well as in ritualized displays.
If you’d like to see these beautiful birds in situ, a great day trip out
of Cortona, especially with a young family, would be a trip to the Maremma
region of Tuscany, to visit both the coastal town of Castiglione della Pescaia
- the quaintest of port towns and a bit like Cortona on the sea – and the
Diaccia Botrona nature reserve where the flamingos take up their summer
Castiglione della Pescaia
A day at the beach where there are beautiful sandy beaches on which one
can walk for miles, topped off with a 5 o’clock appointment for a guided boat
tour of the reserve - where you will be shown
some of the area’s amazing wildlife by the rangers, including the flamingos -
should appeal to all age groups.
Castiglione della Pescaia is approximately 1hr and 30 minutes from
Cortona and best avoided at the height of summer if you don’t like the idea of
packed beaches and restaurants. June, early July and September are probably the
best times to visit. The beaches are
shallow and sandy and perfect for small children.
Castiglione della Pescaia's port - in which one can find luxury yachts and fishing boats
One can walk for uninterrupted miles along its sandy beaches
and enjoy both stunning dawns and sunsets