There is a sea and river route to Santiago, which follows the Ulla river from the Arousa estuary to Padrón. This journey in boat has a great variety of birds that can be seen from both sides of the river. The fact is that the reeds, rushes and willows are full of life! Also, from land we can discover some of its secrets: only a little patience and an early start to the day are needed.

Reeds along the Camino de Santiago

Traditionally used for ranching and the timber, the meadows along the final stretch of the Ulla river now spread out as a tapestry of reeds, willows and small meadows from Pontecesures to the Catoira bridge and historic Torres do Oeste.

With its small ponds, bogs and meadows, this mosaic of riparian vegetation provides a home for populations of fascinating marsh and water birds and bird communities linked to the Galician rural mosaic.

The routes
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Route by car: Ulla reedbeds (Catoira/Dodro)

BEST TIME

Winter and spring

DURATION

3 hours

DIFFICULTY

None

COUNCILS

Catoira, Dodro, Rianxo

PATH

Ulla reedbeds (Catoira/Dodro)

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Key points on the route:

  1. Trip through the marsh areas near the Ulla river. From the Torres do Oeste and the reedbeds (1), where water rail and bluethroat can be seen, pass over the Catoira bridge.
  2. While watching from the river banks, great cormorant and egrets can be seen.
  3. At the roundabout, turn to the right along a track parallel to the A Loira river (2). sardinian warbler and rock bunting can be seen here.
  4. After about 2 km, the route comes to the border of the municipality of Dodro (2). At this point, follow a road to the east not far from the river on the edge of a pine forest and a large farming area (4). In the pine forest it is possible to see the european nightjar and eurasian bullfinch. In the farming areas there are owls and waxbills.
  5. After passing by the O Redondo  treatment plant (5), where there are treecreepers and tree pipits, take any of the trails that lead to the river, especially one near Redondiño. In this area (6) the presence of water pipit and reed bunting has been recorded.
  6. Follow the paths and a track parallel to high-voltage lines and watch out for red-backed shrike and golden oriole.
  7. The route comes to the reedbeds of O Agro Vello (7), where warblers and Eurasian hobbies can be seen. There is also the occasional great reed warbler. In late summer there are sedge and aquatic warblers in the reedbeds of As Vesadas (8).
  8. Follow a track to reach the AC-305 in Tallós. tawny owl and eurasian tree sparrow can be seen here. Lastly, the route heads westward through Tallós to the Catoira bridge, which provides an opportunity to see the iberian chiffchaff and cirl bunting.

Route on foot or by bicycle: Veiga da Cruz (Dodro)

BEST TIME

Winter and spring

DURATION

3-4 hours on foot and 2-3 hours by bicycle

DIFFICULTY

None

COUNCILS

Dodro, Padrón

PATH

Veiga da Cruz (Dodro)

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Key points on the route:

  1. From the confluence of the Ulla river with the Sar river (1), continue parallel to the Sar river, which flows in a channel, to a track on the left. Little owl and eurasian tree sparrow can be seen in this area.
  2. This path leads us through the farms of Lestrove (2) (where western yellow wagtails and golden orioles can be seen) to A Cancela Abrea (3), where owls and finches can be seen.
  3. At A Veiga da Cruz (4) look for water rail, garden warbler and common reed bunting and return to the Sar river by the same route.
The birds

In the reeds of lower Ulla there are eurasian reed warblers, water rails, iberian chiffchaffs and, above all, the threatened western Iberian common reed buntings. Eurasian hobbies usually hunt in May and in the evenings in early September hundreds of barn swallows prepare their journey back to Africa. Lastly, sedge and aquatic warblers make an appearance in August between the reeds that still remain alongside the river.

Tips and resources
  • Bring suitable footwear (rubber boots or waterproof shoes) in autumn and winter.

  • It is better to make visits early in the morning to enjoy the chorus of birds in the reeds.

  • Only travel on trails and do not trespass on farm land.

Arriba