Swans of Porto Santa Margherita
Between the beach-side Venetian towns of Porto Santa Margherita and Caorle runs the traghetto, a small car and pedestrian ferry that travels the 30 metre distance from one side of the Livenza river to the other. There is a road that can take cars across the water but it’s a much longer route.
The mouth of the Livenza has a pair of long thin concrete walls that provide protection to the fishing boats that operate from the centre of Caorle. On either side of the river, beyond the walls are the beaches of the Adriatic coast, curving from Venice to the south west towards Trieste to the north east.
There is quite a lot of natural habitat in the area. Canals connected to the river are used for irrigation and drainage and there is parkland that protects some rare flowers as well as birds.
In the mouth of Livenza it is common to see mute swans - adults and immatures, and in the spring, the newly hatched "ugly duckling" cygnets. I have not counted them but would guess between 50 and 100 birds in total.
Just near the traghetto point there is a small patch or reeds where, each year, a pair of swans lay eggs. They seem to be unperturbed by the many human onlookers.
The ferry runsduring the holiday season only, from April to end September, the exact dates subject to the whim of the traghetto owner who, for many years, held a grudge against the local council for building the road bridge and taking away his monopoly! Outside the summer months local residents have to drive to Caorle or get a bus.
So the swans get a bit of peace during the autumn and winter but otherwise seem unaffected by the influx of tourists. I shall be there in three weeks to see how they are getting on.