From the lagoon at Frouxeira to the Ría de Ortigueira and Estaca de Bares, there are a number of local spots for watching vast resident populations, winter and summer visitors, and the superb seabird migration past Spain’s northernmost landfall. This part of the Rías Altas is rich in all kinds of birdlife: the lagoon at Frouxeira, Valdoviño, is recognised internationally as an important wetland (with 220 bird species according to the Spanish Ornithological Society, SEO); while the Ría de Ortiguiera is home to one of the largest salt marshes in Northwestern Spain; and the Iberian Peninsula’s northernmost point at Estaca de Bares is one of Europe’s most important landmarks on the seabird migratory route.
The SEO splits this stretch of coastline into two: the area called Ferrolterra (around Valdoviño) and the rugged coast between Punto Candelaria and Estaca de Bares. The first of these is made up of large sandy beaches with impressive dune systems and some high cliffs, and includes the famous lagoon at Frouxeira. According to the SEO website (see link below), resident species here include Little Grebes, Mallards, Gadwalls, European Storm Petrels, Shags, Water Rails, Common Coots, Northern Goshawk, Sparrow Hawks, and Common Buzzards. Summer visitors include Hobby, Barn Swallows, European Honey Buzzard, Reed Bunting, Quail, Turtle Dove, and Yellow Wagtails. As winter visitors, the SEO mentions Marsh Harriers, Great Cormorants, and Common Teal. Birds that you may see passing through would include Purple Heron, Great White Egret, Spoonbills, Ospreys, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint and Avocet.
According to the SEO, the coast from Punta Candelaria to Estaca de Bares is a prime seabird breeding area. Again according to the SEO, there are European Storm-Petrels, Shags, and some Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Cabo Ortegal used to be the most important breeding ground for Guillemots in Spain and is also the site of ’s largest coastal population of Choughs. There are also a small number of Peregrine Falcons breeding here.
Estaca de Bares in the autumn is one of the best spots for watching European seabird migration, while the estuaries along this part of the coast (e.g. the Ría de Ortigueira) are home to a huge number of water bird populations as well as being wintering-over sites for Oystercatchers, Red Knots, Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwit and European Curlew.
For more details on all this information, see the link to the SEO website. Meanwhile, if you would like to get in touch with our recommended guide, please let us know.