Throughout this warm month nature is in full transition: some birds are still nesting while others have already finished and are beginning to migrate. As such, new species appear from their breeding areas, others are on their way out and, at the same time, others engage in interest post-reproductive movements that lead them to concentrate in certain areas. July is full of opportunities for all.

Montagu's harriers are still finishing the reproduction process and their chicks are attempting their first flights in the vicinity of the nest in July. We can easily observe them in the Brañas do Xestoso, Calvos de Randín and Baltar, A Limia e A Terra Chá.

However, the most effective way to see raptors in substantial numbers is to visit the main mountainous areas. After nesting, many of these species disperse in search of food sources and one of these sources is in the high mountain areas that in July are full of insects, small birds, rodents, etc. In areas of the Macizo Central, such as the surroundings of the mountain resort of Cabeza de Manzaneda, we can travel along the track that crosses this mountain range and easily see the common kestrel, the short-toed snake eagle, montagu's harrier, the northern harrier and, with a little luck, the common vulture as well. This species, in particular, can be seen with relative ease starting in July and well into the winter in the mountainous areas where there is free roaming livestock: The Macizo Central, Serra do Xurés, Pena Trevinca and Serra do Eixe, Serra do Xistral, Serra dos Ancares and Montes de Cervantes, etc. On warm and sunny days, it is advisable to go to the highest parts, where, with a little more luck, a cinereous vulture can be seen among the common vultures.

Short-toed Snake Eagle (Circaetus gallicus)
Montagu's Harrier (Circus pygargus)
Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio)
European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)
Without leaving the mountainous areas, a walk through the woods and even in the surroundings of small villages provides a setting to watch large numbers of small birds

Some of which are very interesting, such as the eurasian wryneck or common redstart in the mountains of Ourense. It is also in July and August when the swallows and house house martins begin to appear in large numbers, since the young ones born this year live at the same time with adults who are still striving to produce more broods.

However, July is a beach-going month for many people and, close to even the busiest beaches, a great variety of species can be found

It is not uncommon for sandwich terns to approach and go fishing near swimmers who normally ignore the show. On the coastal wetlands we can begin to see many birds arriving from the north and beginning to migrate south, thus anticipating a winter that will still take months to arrive. In July, for example, black-headed gulls and sardinian warblers are now settling in here again after breeding in the north. We can find also many waders, grey herons, little egrets, etc. The ideal spaces in July are the outstanding coastal wetlands such as those in O Grove, particularly the O Vao inlet, the Rías de Ribadeo and Foz, the Ría de Ortigueira, the Ría do Burgo, the Ponteceso estuary in Costa da Morte, A Ramallosa in Baiona and Cabo Silleiro and the Miño estuary in A Guarda

It is also a good time to visit the various capes on the Galician coastline; numerous seabirds can be noticed little by little in their migratory journey south. The number and variety of species is not as striking as in the following months; nonetheless, northern gannets, sandwich terns, cory's shearwaters and balearic shearwaters can be seen, which, coming from the Mediterranean, reach the coast of Galicia to spend substantial time there. The best vantage point is Estaca de Bares, although other good places include the Punta do Castro in Mariña Lucense, the Vilán and Touriñán capes and Cabo do Roncudo, on the Costa da Morte, Cabo de Corrubedo, in the Natura Park of the same name and Cabo Silleiro.

Not to be missed

  • The Macizo Central is in the midst of its greatest moment. From A Pobra de Trives you can visit the winter resort of Cabeza de Manzaneda and from there continue on the track that runs south. You will see different species and substantial numbers of birds of prey. You can also go to the highest parts of the Serra dos Ancares and Montes de Cervantes or the Serra do Eixe.
  • Hiking in the Serra do Xistral and other nearby locations is also recommendable. In the pine forests we continue to find citril finches in groups and in the high areas there are common vultures and mountain birds such as the water pipit.
  • Now is a fine time to visit the capes to observe the passage of seabirds. In a visit to the best option, Estaca de Bares, the key place is outside the bird observatory, an exceptional balcony to observe the migratory path. Any other cape can also provide an impressive panoply of seabirds: Punta do Roncudo or Cabo Touriñán on the Costa da Morte, Cabo Silleiro, etc.
  • The large coastal wetlands should not be missed. From the Bay of Biscay with the Rías de Ribadeo and Foz, to the Miño estuaryon the border with Portugal, there is a range of spaces where many water bird species can be seen: particularly attractive are the Ortigueira, O Burgo, and Ponteceso estuaries on the Costa da Morte or Enseada do Vao in O Grove.
  • The areas surrounding the small inland villages, particularly those with chestnut groves, frequently host many small birds, as do many groves in the Macizo Central or O Courel. We can easily see them by simply taking walks.