Not far from the city of Vigo is Baiona, a historic and scenic town of remarkable appeal that, to the surprise of many people, boasts a broad variety of migrating and wintering birds.

Indeed, from the natural watchtower provided by the old lighthouse at Cabo Silleiro watchers can see abundant flows of birds in passage and waders on beaches and marshes.

A balcony at the entrance of the Ría de Vigo

This is an area of rocky coastline with beach areas, such as A Ladeira beach. The A Ramallosa marsh, on the border with Nigrán, is one of the largest natural points of interest, with large reedbeds and a productive intertidal zone complemented with dunes and small rivers that empty here.

Further east, the beaches of Arealoura and Patos in Nigrán also offer good opportunities for sightings. The same applies to the imposing cliff of Monte Ferro. Crop areas and small patches of native forest around the town of Baiona also provide ample opportunity for bird watching. Further west, the rocky coastline takes centre stage until Cabo Silleiro, where there is a watchtower where, with binoculars or a telescope, watchers can enjoy the spectacle of the migration of hundreds of seabirds.

The routes
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Route by car: Cabo Estai - Cabo Silleiro

BEST TIME

Winter

DISTANCE

21 Km

DURATION

1-2 hours

DIFFICULTY

None

COUNCILS

Baiona, Nigrán, Vigo

PATH

Cabo Estai - Patos beach - Arealoura beach - A Ramallosa marsh - A Ladeira beach - port of Baiona - Cabo Silleiro

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Key points on the route:

  1. From Cabo Estai (1), where purple sandpipers and mediterranean gulls can be seen, continue along the coast.
  2. Common scoter and great northern loon can be found on Patos beach.
  3. Not far to the south is Arealoura beach and América beach (3), which bring together the kentish plover, eurasian oystercatcher and mediterranean gull. Visits are recommended early in the morning or late afternoon, especially at low tide.
  4. Continue until the bridge over the Miñor river (4), where the marshes of A Ramallosa can be seen, in which there are spoonbills, egrets and various waders.
  5. We can also visit the A Ladeira beach, entering through a shoreline promenade at its western end where a creek ends (5), to look for mediterranean gulls, sandwich terns and other waders.
  6. Crowned by the Parador, the port of Baiona (6) provides an opportunity to watch sandwich tern and razorbill.
  7. From Cabo Silleiro -especially between August and October and in April- watchers can see the passage of seabirds (7), including notably the presence of the balearic shearwater, pomarine skua and common tern.

Route on foot or by bike: Panxón - Monte Ferro - Panxón

DURATION

2 hours by bicycle, 3 hours on foot

DIFFICULTY

None

COUNCILS

Nigrán

PATH

Panxón - Monteferro - Panxón

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Key points on the route:

  1. After leaving the centre of Panxón (1), cross an area with small groups of houses and gardens where European turtle doves, finches and waxbilles can be seen.
  2. As the road begins to gain altitude, walk through pine groves (2) where there are firecrest and european crested tit.
  3. Once at the top of Monte Ferro (3) (97 metres above sea level), have a look towards the walls, which between April and August host a small colony of alpine swift and, occasionally, western jackdaw.
  4. Between August and November, the scrublands of the northern slopes (4) are good for watching small birds in migration.

 

The birds

Particularly from September to November, and also in March and April, it is common to see various sea birds, such as northern gannets, balearic shearwaters, scoters, common terns and sandwich terms, off Cabo Silleiro. On Polbeiras islands, right in front of this observatory of migration, there is a regular wintering population of purple sandpipers and turnstones, in addition to the ever-present eurasian rock pipit. Further east, the beaches of A Ladeira, Arealoura and Patos are common places to watch waders, including the endangered kentish plover, and in A Ramallosa marsh spoonbills and numerous ducks and herons stop in migration and while wintering.

Tips and resources
  • Bring warm and waterproof clothing, especially if there are waves at the cape. 

  • Go to A Ladeira beach first thing in the morning because the high number of people walking with dogs during the rest of the day scares the birds.

  • Avoid entering the intertidal zone of the A Ramallosa marsh.

Arriba