Situated where the Tyrrenian coast meets the Apuane Alps, Lake Massaciuccoli is in an exceptional position to be a resting place for migrating birds. Within the Migliarino-San Rossore Regional Park, LIPU manages 44 hectares of the Chiarone Reserve, on the eastern shore of a lake of that name.
Deep open water in one part of the lake, as well as shallow areas which are subject to summer evaporation, and dense reedbeds, are ideal conditions which support an extremely rich and varied bird life. In winter, diving ducks such as Pochard and Tufted Ducks gather with dabbling ducks like Mallard, Shoveler and Teal, while Cormorants dive for tench and other fish. Spring is the best season when thousands upon thousands of migrating birds come to the reserve. There are various species of ducks, grebes and divers on the open water, Night Herons, Little Egrets and other herons along the lake shore, and Reed Warblers, Great Reed Warblers and Savi’s Warblers in the reeds. There are Black Terns and Little Gulls, Black-winged Stilts and Black-tailed Godwits, Marsh Harriers and Bitterns. Of special interest are the numerous species of rare plants.
Lake Massaciuccoli has been one of the best known ornithological areas in Italy since the end of the last century and is a superb training ground for birdwatchers. More than 260 species can be regularly observed during the year.
There is a visitors’ centre with projection room, wooden walkways through the reed beds and two observation hides. It is also possible to take guided boat trips – telephone 0584/975567.