To the east of Mariña de Lugo are two estuaries of different characteristics, which are exceptional especially in autumn and winter. If the weather is cold in northern and central Europe, birds may number into the thousands. 

Two estuaries with hundreds of birds

During fall migration many species stop at both estuaries and delight the discerning bird watcher. The stretch of coast between them provides even more interesting observations.  The Ría de Ribadeo, shared with neighbouring Asturias, is a fantastic perpendicular entry to the coast the goes inland until the Eo river estuary, while the Ría de Foz is smaller, albeit more open.

Noteworthy there are the large tracts of intertidal mud flats that feed a large number and variety of birds, as they are home to Zoostera, a sea plant reminiscent of grass which is extraordinarily rich. Between the two estuaries there is a very jagged coastline where beaches and cliffs alternate in continuous succession. The most famous of these beaches is undoubtedly that of As Catedrais. This is a fine section for watching migrating and wintering birds.

The routes
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"Acuta" route by car or by bicycle

BEST TIME

Between November and the first half of February

DISTANCE

13 km

DURATION

3 hours by car, 5 hours by bicycle

DIFFICULTY

None

COUNCILS

Ribadeo

PATH

Ría de Ribadeo

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Key points on the route:

  1. The route starts from Porto de Abaixo (1), at the end of the estuary, where common kingfishers can be found around the reedbeds.
  2. Take the road north and make stops to see the river. An excellent point is right where the reeds ends and large areas of intertidal mud flats (2) begin: there are thousands of Anatidae, noteworthy among which are the northern pintail, eurasian wigeon, common pochard and tufted duck. In addition, pay attention to the rare greater scaup and brant goose. great cormorants, eurasian curlews, herons, egrets and, with some luck, the always impressive osprey can also be seen.
  3. As the river opens there are new species such as the black-necked grebe, which is of particular interest in the stretch prior to the town of Ribadeo (3).
  4. Look at the waters surrounding the port (4), as there are interesting species such as the great northern loon.
  5. From there head to the surroundings of Pancha island (6) passing through farming areas where species such as the zitting cisticola and common kestrel can be seen.

"Arquata" route by car or by bicycle

BEST TIME

From August to February

DISTANCE

13 km

DURATION

2 hours by car, 4 hours by bicycle

DIFFICULTY

None

COUNCILS

Barreiros, Foz

PATH

Ría de Foz

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Key points on the route:

  1. From A Anguieira beach (1), east of the estuary's mouth, the route heads south along the river. Pay attention to the great northern loons in the open sea (2) and the passage of northern gannets.
  2. In the surroundings of the small village of Viladaíde (3) an approach to the river will provide views of waders such as dunlins, common ringed plovers and eurasian curlews. grey herons and little egrets complete the cast.
  3. After crossing the river, pay attention to the end of it (4), where you can see many Anatidae on both sides of the railway. From roughly August to October, this is also a good place to see eurasian spoonbills.
  4. From there, head towards Punta da Arnela (5), which puts us practically in the middle of the estuary. From here it is easy to spot most of the bird species that are present.
  5. From the port of Foz (6) watchers can comfortably observe numerous flocks of yellow-legged gulls, lesser black-backed gulls and black-headed gulls together with grey herons and eurasian oystercatchers.
  6. The route ends at A Rapadoira beach (7), which cuts off the estuary. The yellow-legged gull nests on the islets. great northern loon, great cormorant and even red knot can be seen.

“Petrosus” route on foot or by bicycle

BEST TIME

From August to May

DISTANCE

7 km

DURATION

3 hours on foot and 2 hours by bicycle

DIFFICULTY

None

COUNCILS

Ribadeo

PATH

Ribadeo lighthouse - Punta dos Corvos (Rinlo)

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Key points on the route:

  1. The route starts from Pancha island at the mouth of the Ría de Ribadeo (1); species linked to agricultural environments can be found, such as western yellow wagtail (in spring), zitting cisticola and common kestrel.
  2. Pay attention to all the fields bordering the sea (2); in autumn and winter it is possible to see merlin in them.
  3. In the vicinity of Rinlo (3), in certain winters, the rare and beautiful snow bunting can be seen. Pay attention to the pipits, since some are eurasian rock pipits
  4. Before reaching Rinlo there are artificial ponds (4) -sometimes filled to the brim with water- where different species of gulls and even migrating waders congregate.
  5. The route ends at Punta dos Corvos (5) where great cormorants can be seen. Look to the open sea for the passage of northern gannets and other seabirds such as sandwich terns, common terns and common scoters.

 

The birds

In winter, the Rías de Ribadeo and Foz welcome hundreds of water birds. Notable is the presence of various Anatidae such as the northern pintail, eurasian wigeon, tufted duck and common pochard. grey herons and little egrets are abundant, as are great cormorants, waders such as eurasian curlew and gulls of different species. Other less common species such as the black-necked grebe, the brant goose and greater scaup can also be seen.

In the open sea, the passage of seabirds, such as the northern gannet or common scoter, is frequent. On the rocky coast snow bunting are occasionally present. 

Tips and resources
  • The best times for viewing are when the tide is rising or lowering. Avoid therefore high and low tide because, at that time, the observation in the estuaries is more difficult. 

  • In the Ría de Ribadeo, especially early in the morning, you are facing the sun, so better viewing is had as noon approaches.

  • Use of the telescope is recommended in both estuaries. 

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

Arriba