The cuckoo, a newcomer to our land, can now be heard everywhere
Other species, such as the eurasian hoopoe, allow themselves to be seen gradually in well-preserved agricultural areas. Sedentary species -those that spend all year with us- are already in full reproduction mode so it is not uncommon to see adult individuals with food in their mouths to feed their chicks; most certainly there is a common blackbird doing so somewhere closer to home.
In mountain areas such as Os Ancares and Montes de Cervantes, O Courel and the Macizo Central, spring progresses more slowly, although a visit further into their forests is quite an experience for the senses. Birdsong dominates the environment, which includes such birds as the common and characteristic iberian chiffchaff.
Summer raptors are another major attraction in April
Summer raptors are another major attraction in April. In addition to the aforementioned black kites are others such as the northern harrier and montagu's harrier. The former can be seen in open spaces in the mountainous areas. It is a hardy bird of prey that, although rare, thrives in harsh environments like these. montagu's harriers arrive in late March but do not get settled into their breeding territories and engage in striking courtship behaviour until April. Within this species, Galicia also has a high proportion of melanic individuals, i.e. birds with very dark plumage. Their fondness for open areas makes places such as A Limia, A Terra Chá, the Serra do Candán and Brañas de Xestoso, Terra das Frieiras and the regions of Lugo and Sarria ideal for watching them. To this end, we must always look for clear areas with crops or gorse.
In addition to northern harriers and montagu's harriers, in inland areas we can watch Eurasian hobbies hunting insects and small birds. In the mountains and steep areas the short-toed snake eagle catches our attention with its graceful flight in search of reptiles basking in the spring sunshine
Along the coastline
Changing habitat radically, along the coastline the most interesting birds at this time are three species from different environments: the kentish plover, the yellow-legged gull and the european shag. The small kentish plover lives on the open beaches of the Atlantic coast, such as those found in the Costa da Morte, Baldaio, Louro and Carnota, O Grove and Parque Nacional Marítimo Terrestre das Illas Atlánticas de Galicia and the Parque Natural Complexo Dunar de Corrubedo e lagoas de Carregal e Vixán.
It is difficult to watch in its surroundings, since it is perfectly camouflaged in the sand and algae washed up on the beaches; its survival depends largely on how we treat these delicate ecosystems. The other iconic two species can be seen at the Parque Nacional Marítimo Terrestre das Illas Atlánticas de Galicia, both on the island of Ons and the Cies Islands: the abundant yellow-legged gull, which has one of the world's largest breeding colonies here, and the scarce and threatened cormorant. The former can be seen almost anywhere, although the steep slopes falling into the sea host their most spectacular colonies; the latter can be seen on the steepest cliffs. To see european shags we can also go to the Ría do Burgo e Costa de Dexo: some nests still remain on the sea cliffs in these areas.