In an area of rolling hills between A Coruña and Santiago de Compostela there are two small reservoirs of ornithological interest: Vilagudín and Vilasenín.

A magnet for gulls and grebes

These bodies of water provide an opportunity for water birds to thrive in a large area in the heart of the province of A Coruña. Bird watchers can enjoy a large number of ducks, grebes, cormorants and gulls, especially in autumn and winter. The Vilagudín e Vilasenín reservoirs date from the early 1980s and supply water to the population of the region and to industry (Meirama thermal power plant). They are also intensive fishing preserves.

Thousands of gulls use these bodies as a resting place to clean their feathers outside of the breeding season.

The routes

Route by car: Vilasenín dam - Arcai de Abaixo


Between February and April


20 Km


2 to 3 hours


Any difficult


Cerceda, Ordes, Tordoia


Vilasenín dam - Vilagudín dam - Arcai de Abaixo

Key points on the route: 

  1. From the vicinity of the Meirama thermal power plant (1) the route follows a road to the south, bordering the slag heap of the lignite mine. In this area red-legged partridges and montagu's harriers can be seen.
  2. Following this road for about two kilometres, you reach the Vilasenín dam (2), from where it is easy to see the great crested grebe, black kite and iberian chiffchaff.
  3. While following the road to the southwest, the scrubland (3) may provide an opportunity to see red-backed shrike, dartford warbler and yellowhammer.
  4. Gaining altitude, the route reaches A Areosa (Danigal) where, taking a track to the right after a high point (4), it comes to an area of concentration of thousands of gulls, black kite, northern raven and, occasionally, white stork.
  5. Descend and continue straight at the intersection with the AC-413 to reach the Vilagudín reservoir through an area with meadows (5). Here it is possible to see montagu's harrier, black kite, red-backed shrike and northern raven.
  6. Once at the dam reservoir (6), look out for great crested grebe and crag martin.
  7. After crossing the dam, turn right while circling the reservoir (7) to watch iberian chiffchaff and various gulls.
  8. The road reaches the village of Arcai de Abaixo (8) where there are yellowhammer and, in winter, eurasian coot.
The birds

In particular, there are hundreds of yellow-legged gulls and lesser black-backed gulls and, in smaller numbers, black-headed gull, European herring gull and common gulls. Also making an appearance are dozens of great crested grebes, as well as Anatidae, such as eurasian teals, tufted ducks and grey herons. The black kite, montagu's harrier, eurasian crag martin and iberian chiffchaff in the area and, during migration, western osprey make an occasional appearance.

Tips and resources
  • Use of a telescope is recommended for watching water birds.

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

  • Be careful with traffic if watching birds from the dam.