To gain an understanding of the birds of Galicia this spectacular area of eastern Ourense should not be ignored. Nestled in the valley of the Tamega river, a tributary of the Duero, some 142 species of birds call home to the area, many of which are difficult to find elsewhere in Galicia. Between late April and late June, Oímbra, Monterrei and Verín are at their best for bird watching expeditions, although a hike in December and January can also provide ample sightings of wintering birds.

Mediterranean Galicia

This is a visit to the meadows, riparian forests and farm land of the Tamega river and its tributary, the Búbal. The valley of Monterrei, which covers a tertiary sedimentary basin that eventually flows into the Duero river, has a typical Mediterranean climate, with long hot summers and cold winters.

From the meadows and pine forests of Videferre (Oímbra) and the heathland of the O Larouco mountains, we descend to the riparian forest and sand quarries of San Cibrao (Oímbra) and the "magic triangle of Verín", with corners in Mandín, Feces de Abaixo and Feces de Cima while coming across dozens of bird species. This enthralling scenery is rounded off with places such as Vilar de Cervos and Vilarello da Cota (Vilardevós), with their rugged terrain and home to species such as the eurasian eagle-owl

The routes
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"Bonelli" route by car

BEST TIME

From late April to mid-June

DISTANCE

50 km

DURATION

All morning or afternoon

DIFFICULTY

None

COUNCILS

Cualedro, Monterrei, Oimbra, Verín

PATH

Monterrei castle - Oímbra - Lucenza - Cualedro and return

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Key points on the route:

  1. In the Monterrei castle (1) (and vicinity) keep watch out for booted eagles, stock doves, nightingales, western bonelli's warblers and western jackdaws.
  2. Towards Vilaza (2) and Oímbra (3) pay attention for corn buntings.
  3. In the area of San Martiño, Flariz and Casas do Monte there are montagu's harrier and southern grey shrike.

"Elanus" route by car

BEST TIME

From mid-September to mid-June

DISTANCE

49 km

DURATION

All day is recommended

DIFFICULTY

None

COUNCILS

Oimbra, Verín, Vilardevós

PATH

Verín - San Cibrao - Rabal - Vilarelho da Raia (Portugal) - Rabal bridge - Feces de Abaixo - Mandín - As Malladas de Mandín - Feces de Cima - Vilar de Cervos - Cabreiroá - Verín

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Key points on the route:

  1. In the village of Verín (1) (and slightly upstream) eurasian wrynecks, white-throated dippers, nightingale and, at night, Eurasian scops owls can be seen and heard.
  2. Towards San Cibrao (2) and Rabal (3), in winter there are large flocks of birds, including most notably groups of yellowhammer and corn bunting, house sparrow and Eurasian tree sparrow, in addition to finches. There are also rock sparrows and crested larks.
  3. In Mandín (4) and the As Malladas de Mandín (5) there are quails common quail], red-legged partridges, kites, great spotted cuckoos, tawny pipits, subalpine warblers, southern grey shrikes and woodchat shrikes.
  4. On the climb from Feces de Cima (6) to Vilar de Cervos (7), with a little luck, watchers can see the european honey buzzard, rufous-tailed rock thrush and ortolan bunting.

 

“Lanius” route on foot or by bike

BEST TIME

From late April to mid-June. Also in September and October

DISTANCE

14 km

DURATION

4-5 hours on foot and 3 hours by bicycle

DIFFICULTY

Low

COUNCILS

Verín

PATH

As Malladas de Mandín -Verín

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Key points on the route:

  1. Leaving Mandín (1) eastward along the road to Feces de Cima, we can see (or hear) the nightingale, woodchat shrike and southern grey shrike.
  2. On reaching a high point, take a dirt road to the right (2) towards a shed with flags set on a hill: this is the best area to watch the great spotted cuckoo, tawny pipit and subalpine warbler.
  3. Further east, in the Pequeño river (3), look out for little owls, eurasian wrynecks and golden orioles.
  4. While continuing along the trails to the south (4), look out for red-legged partridge, montagu's harrier, subalpine warbler, rock sparrow and rock bunting.
  5. We can extend our walk to Feces de Abaixo (5) (where it is possible to see the common house martin and rock sparrow) or tour around the central area in search of the black-winged kite and eurasian hoopoe before returning by the northwest to Mandín.

“Luscinia” route on foot or by bike

BEST TIME

From late April to mid-June

DURATION

4 hours on foot and 2-3 hours by bicycle (including return).

DIFFICULTY

Low

COUNCILS

Castrelo do Val, Monterrei, Verín

PATH

Verín bridge - A Pousa - Mixós - Estevesiños - Támega meadows (Estevesiños) and return

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Key points on the route:

  1. Depart from the bridge of Verín (1), where grey wagtail can be seen, towards the west to the road to Estevesiños (2).
  2. Travel along the right bank of the Támega (3), where european honey buzzards, eurasian wrynecks, nightingales and, at night, Eurasian scops owls can be seen.
  3. The farming areas northeast of Estevesiños (4) host several pairs of iberian chiffchaff, sardinian warbler and corn bunting, and booted eagle and eurasian hobby can be seen on a regular basis.

 

The birds

The "stars" of this area are essentially Mediterranean birds, such as the black-winged kite, great spotted cuckoo, subalpine warbler and spectacled warbler, the woodchat shrike and southern grey shrike and the rufous-tailed rock thrush. But there's more! Videferre might hold in store crossbills, european honey buzzards and tree pipits. In O Larouco we can see northern and montagu's harriers, iberian chiffchaffs and western bonelli's warblers. red-legged partridges, Sardinian and dartford warblers, spotless starlings and rock and corn buntings are common in Vilaza. The stock dove, western jackdaw and booted eagle take possession of the towers and forests of Monterrei. San Cibrao offers crested larks, great reed warblers and lesser spotted woodpeckers and, in the "magic triangle of Verín", rock sparrows, tawny pipits and maybe even a european bee-eater can be seen. At night, listen for the deep hoots of the eurasian eagle-owl!

Tips and resources
  • In spring and summer it is advisable to wear sunglasses and sunscreen and bring water, as sunshine in the area is intense.

  • Bring insect repellent if watching birds in the afternoon near streams and lagoons.

Arriba