It would appear that, as the days grow shorter and the rains become more frequent, it would be time to put the binoculars away, but that is not the case. October opens a new season, as many birds that spend the winter with us are arriving alongside quite a few migratory birds.

October is a month of contrasts: rain and cold days can be followed by days filled with light and warm temperatures

It is a time when certain northern birds travel further south to spend the winter with us, while others continue their autumn journey towards latitudes further south. As usual, wetlands boast the greatest concentration of species, since many waterbirds are migratory.

Coastal wetlands provide a wealth of interesting observations. A visit is obligatory to A Guarda, O Grove, the Lagoa de Xarfas and A Berberecheira marsh in Louro and Carnota, respectively, the Río Anllóns estuary on the Costa da Morte, Baldaio, the Ría do Burgo, the Lagoa de Valdoviño in Ferrolterra, the Ría de Ortigueira and the Rías de Foz and Ribadeo. The numerous waders such as the dunlin, common ringed plover, grey plover, black-tailed godwit and eurasian curlew are joined by other waterbirds such as grey herons, little egrets and great cormorants.

Sanderling (Calidris alba)
Black Tern (Chlidonias niger)
Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus)
Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus)

One of the most striking species that can be seen this month in coastal wetlands, especially in O Grove, is the beautiful eurasian spoonbill. The high concentration of individuals of this species make this area one of the leading areas in Europe for wintering and migration.  More surprises await: at this time many western ospreys from northern Europe travel freely across the Atlantic and the Bay of Biscay to reach the continent at the Galician coast. Attention must be paid at all times to see these magnificent birds. In addition to the aforementioned places, the end of the Ría de Muros and Noia, that of Ares and Betanzos and the Ría de Vigo are highly recommended.

While on the coast, it is a good idea to go to the more untamed beaches that, from October and throughout the winter

While on the coast, it is a good idea to go to the more untamed beaches that, from October and throughout the winter, prove more wild and solitary - it is at this time that numerous wading birds take the opportunity to rest and feed over their long journeys on the Atlantic coast. The pure-white sanderling is one of the most characteristic species in October.

As in previous months, the capes are good places to witness the passage of migrating seabirds

Some species that can be seen are steadily present throughout the months of migration, while others migrate in a month or on a specific date. October is the best month for viewing the common scoter, a dark sea duck that travels at a low distance above the waves. Estaca de Bares is once again the point of reference.

Often, the first cold spells of the month draw out species that spend the winter with us, such as redwings and fieldfares. Good places for watching are A Terra Chá, A Limia, the regions of Lugo and Sarria, etc.

The first common starlings also arrive in large roosts with the local spotless starlings to spend the nights after feeding in the nearby countryside. They can be seen in any city at sunset.

Not to be missed