The Po Delta Plovers

Logo 300 Po delta PloversThe symbol of the Kentish Plover features a species decreasing in the Mediterranean, where it is designated as threatened, which means that the population would continue to decline if not protected. So it is of particular concern and for this reason a working group has been established in Italy with the name of National Committee for the protection of Kentish Plover (CNCF). There are no more than 700 pairs left throughout Italy. To give an idea of ​​the negative trend, in a stretch of coast of the Emilia-Romagna region, south of Venice, the species has been reduced to 10% of the numbers present in the 80s of last century. The Kentish Plover is a classic tale of a species impacted by human disturbance. Many of the coastal beaches traditionally used for nesting have been lost to commercial, residential, and recreational developments.

The CNCF, which brings together a variety of organizations committed to recovering the species, is promoting a real action plan to stop and reverse the decline. The future looked bleak for the species but scientists and concerned citizens – determined not to let the it slide into extinction – have researched and worked tirelessly for decades to educate the public (especially beach goers, who value the same beaches for recreation as the plovers for breeding) and protect the fragile nesting sites of this emblematic bird. We hope that what is happening in Italy may be a good omen for facilitating the improvement of the situation in Africa. We are very concerned about the poisoning of vultures in Kenya that are crashing some of their populations, so here we are! For this reason we invite our Italian friends and all the visitors to this page to make a donation for the protection of African vultures by clicking on the button in the top right!

Meet the Team:

Menotti Passarella

Menotti was the first member of Lipu (Birdlife Italy) of the whole Po river Delta, a bird paradise in NE Italy, in the mid-eighties, when his native area was unprotected. Now the Delta is a Biosphere Reserve, where more than 380 species of birds have been recorded, that means the 75% of the whole Italian avifauna, and Menotti is an avid birder who loves to share his knowledge with anyone and everyone. He has led birding and nature-study trips throughout the Po Delta and the Lagoon of Venice for many individuals and groups. His 30+ years (20 of those years spent leading professionally) of intensive birding in the Po Delta has provided him with intimate knowledge of the places where birds gather, nest, feed and hide.

He is also knowledgeable of the area’s fauna and flora and current environmental issues, since he is a licensed Nature Guide and a member of Aigae, the national associations of the Ecotour Guides. Menotti enthusiasm for birding is contagious and makes for exciting and fun days in the field. Menotti has acquired a great experience on the birds of NE Italy, discovering new breeding species and numerous rarities. He wrote more than 50 publications and is author of the Check-list of the birds of the Po Delta and member of the C.O.I. (Italian Ornithological Commission – Bird Rarity Commitee). Menotti won in 2015 the national Big Year and racked up 354 species, new Italian record. Thanks to this, he is now third among the top listing birders in Italy with 401 species. It’s the second time for him at COTF!

Gianfranco Colombo

Gianfranco is a tenacious traveler having visited, over more than fifty years, the remotest parts of each continent in search of birds and butterflies. Africa and Asia has been the main destinations with more than 70 trips looking for endemics and rarities but even Antarctica, Australasia, Amazonas and in particular the forest of French Guyana, where he spent more than five months during last five years. He observed and studied birds and nature since the sixties, implementing and appreciating knowledge and experience besides new findings in all over the world. He is also a private nature photographer with a photo archive of more than 250.000 pictures taken across the planet. He cooperates with an international Encyclopedia and a Natural History Museum for which he writes articles on both birds and butterflies. Talking about his private life, he uses to say that he spent much more time on the field than in his own office ! It’s also the second time for him at COTF.

Morgan Santini

Morgan was born in London UK and raised in Modena, NE Italy, son of a botanist and naturalist involved in bird protection as a lifetime member of Lipu (Birdlife partner in Italy). So since childhood he was encouraged to pursue an innate passion for the natural world, especially animals and plants. A father of three children, due to business and family commitments, he was able to devote the spare time to birding, mostly just in holidays. So, what it boils down is he went birding in Europe, United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Australia, South Africa and Thailand!

Alessandro Ardoino

Alessandro (17) approached the world of birdwatching from a very young age, thanks to his family’s guidance having his parents always accompanied and supported him in every way. So, he was lucky to visit a number of different places in the world, from Italy to the glaciers of the far north of Greenland and the faraway Americas, taking always with him binoculars and camera. In every place in the world, he loves to admire and study the different local species and, especially, he is always fond of the magical phenomenon of migration. The act of seeing European Bee-eater or a Short-toed Eagle sailing the skies over the Apennines Mountains (near Genua where he lives) gives him an emotion that only a birdwatcher can fully understand. Together with migration studies, he is also involved in bird ringing and censuses of breeding birds. Finally, last year he was pursuing the Italian birding Big Year racking up a number of species which were worth an unexpected fifth position.