Bird watching by Lake Como: Pian di Spagna Natural Reserve

Today I would like to introduce you to an amazing area on Lake Como:  the  Pian di Spagna e lago di Mezzola (Pian di Spagna and Lake Mezzola) #Nature Reserve. An incredibly beautiful wetland where you can do bird watching, guided tours, walking, cycling and boat tours. I am telling you about this place because I was there a couple of months ago and I thought it deserved to be known worldwide. It is a little known fact, that although many tourists are visiting Lake Como every year there are still so many places they could discover, places where it’s actually possible to stay close to nature without any difficulties or the need to be fit. I am not a very sporty person but in the northern part of Lake Como (Alto Lario the official name of this small area) you can choose sustainable tourism and walk or cycle into nature reserves areas.

The Nature Reserve covers an area that has been always disputed between the mainland and water; the particular geographical position makes this place rich in interesting naturalistic and historical-cultural features.At the confluence of the two valleys, Val Chiavenna in the north-south direction and Valtellina in the east-west direction, an alluvial plain formed: it is delimited by Lake Como in the north and by Lake Mezzola. The surrounding mountains, abruptly joining up with the plain, form the picturesque setting of this stretch of plain, above all when they take on the showy autumn colors.

The name Pian di Spagna derives from the succession of historical events involving this region: foreign invasions, battles, and a flourishing trade. However, the area is known and appreciated all over Lombardy above all for its precious landscape and environmental features.

Lake Como Pian di Spagna natural Reserve

The reserve has the right environment for the stopover and nesting of migratory birds, it is one of the most delicate environments in Europe where there are few wet areas like this. The essential role of the protected area is to enable thousands of birds to rest and feed during the spring and autumn migrations.
So the nature reserve was created:
– to safeguard and maintain the natural and landscape features of the wetland,
– to regulate the visit of the protected area with didactic-recreational purposes,
– and to bring under control the local social and economic activities,to respect the environmental conservation needs.

The vegetation
The vegetation of Pian di Spagna is deeply linked to the presence of both lentic (lake) and lotic(river) water systems: the former are still waters or the slightly rippled waters of the lakes, while the latter are the fast and turbulent waters of the rivers. In both habitats and during the floods soaking the soil with water, the various vegetable elements survive thanks to specific adaptation strategies enabling them to bear long-lasting plunging and anoxia periods of the roots.

Pian di Spagna and Lago di Mezzola Nature Reserve is characterized by various habitats: lake, rivers, streams, canals, ditches, ponds and pools, urban areas, cultivated lands (permanent pastures, corn), not very cultivated areas (fen formations), canebrake areas, a few woodlands, tree rows, hedges, and uncultivated lands.

In each of these habitats it is possible to observe very different bird species.
Here just some example but please click here to read the complete list .

Around the lakes and along the rivers, it is generally possible to observe various species of diving ducks or dabbling ducks, Swans, Rails, a few rare sea ducks, Grebes, Divers, Cormorants, Mergansers, Seagulls, Black Terns and Coots.
Dippers, Kingfishers, and Gray Wagtails are common along the streams, while the canals are populated by dabbling ducks, Rails and some wading birds like the Sandpiper, Snipe, Herons, Eurasian Bittern, Wagtail and Grebe; along the ditches, it is possible to sight Gray Herons, Snipes, and Wagtails.
The canebrakes represent the ideal habitat for Rails, Bitterns, some birds of prey, Reed Buntings, Blue Tits, Starlings, Penduline Tits, Swallows, Sand Martins, and dabbling ducks.
Tree rows and hedges offer food to Shrikes, Thrushes, Finches, Crows, Tits, Woodpeckers, and Blackcaps.
Although it covers 1,586 ha, the territory is not large and peaceful enough to favor the nesting of particularly precious species. However, the following species are nesting in the area: at least one couple of Purple Herons, Corn Crakes, Savi’s Warblers, Barred Warblers, Golden Orioles, Hoopoes, Long-eared Owls, Wagtails, Bitterns, and Spotted Crakes.

Information is from, so please click here if you’d like to find out more!

You can discover by yourself the reserve walking or cycling but if you prefer you can contact the office email them: or phone +39 0344 84251;

I would suggest that you also contact the tourist info point in Gravedona: if you need any help or further information

Are you interested to know more?
Ask  #STouW by Sara Vitali about: 

#sustainabletourism consultancy,
#socialmedia strategies for tourism sector & linked sustainable, responsible, green or eco businesses;
#sustainabledevelopment through tourism.

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