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Galicia

Kingfisher Alcedo atthis ©Nicolás Fernández Website

Galicia (occasionally Galiza) is an autonomous community in northwest Spain, and was one of the first kingdoms of Europe (Kingdom of Galicia). Its component provinces are A Coruña, Lugo, Ourense and Pontevedra. It borders Portugal to the south, the Spanish regions of Castile and León and Asturias to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west.

Geographically, a remarkable feature of Galicia is the presence of many fjord-like indentations on the coast, estuaries that were drowned with rising sea levels after the ice age. These are called rías and are divided into the Rías Altas, and the Rías Baixas. The rias are important for fishing, and make the coast an important fishing area. The spectacular landscapes and wildness of the coast attract great numbers of tourists. The coast of this green corner of the Iberian Peninsula is also known as the "A Costa do Marisco" (i.e., "The Seafood Coast" in Galician).

Galicia has preserved few of its dense Atlantic forests where wildlife is commonly found. It is relatively unpolluted, and its landscape composed of green hills, cliffs and rias is very different from what is commonly understood as Spanish landscape. Inland, the region is less-populated and suffers from migration to the coast and the major cities of Spain. There are few small cities (Ourense, Lugo, Verín, Monforte de Lemos, O Barco), and there are many small villages. The terrain is made up of several low mountain ranges crossed by many small rivers that are not navigable but have provided hydroelectric power from the many dams. Galicia has so many small rivers that it has been called the "land of the thousand rivers". The most important of the rivers are the Miño and the Sil, which has a spectacular canyon.

The mountains in Galicia are not high but have served to isolate the rural population and discourage development of the interior. There is a ski resort in Cabeza de Manzaneda (1778 m) in Ourense Province. The highest mountain is Trevinca (2127 m) on the Ourense eastern border with León and Zamora provinces (Castilla y León).

Galicia has no extensive natural areas and has had several environmental problems in the modern age. Deforestation is a problem in many areas, as is the continual spread of the eucalyptus tree, imported for the paper industry. Fauna, most notably the European Wolf, have suffered because of the actions of livestock owners and farmers. The native deer species have declined because of hunting and development. Recently, oil spills have become a major issue, especially with the Mar Egeo disaster in A Coruña and the infamous Prestige oil spill in 2002, a crude oil spill larger than the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska. Other environmental issues include gas flushing by maritime traffic, pollution from fish hatcheries on the coast, overfishing, and the highest incidence of forest fires in Spain, in spite of the wetter Galician climate.

Climate: Geographically, a remarkable feature of Galicia is the presence of many fjord-like indentations on the coast, estuaries that were drowned with rising sea levels after the ice age. These are called rías and are divided into the Rías Altas, and the Rías Baixas. The rias are important for fishing, and make the coast an important fishing area. The spectacular landscapes and wildness of the coast attract great numbers of tourists.

Finisterre on the Atlantic coast of Galicia The coast of this green corner of the Iberian Peninsula is also known as the "A Costa do Marisco" (i.e., "The Seafood Coast" in Galician). Galicia has preserved few of its dense Atlantic forests where wildlife is commonly found. It is relatively unpolluted, and its landscape composed of green hills, cliffs and rias is very different from what is commonly understood as Spanish landscape. Inland, the region is less-populated and suffers from migration to the coast and the major cities of Spain. There are few small cities (Ourense, Lugo, Verín, Monforte de Lemos, O Barco), and there are many small villages. The terrain is made up of several low mountain ranges crossed by many small rivers that are not navigable but have provided hydroelectric power from the many dams. Galicia has so many small rivers that it has been called the "land of the thousand rivers". The most important of the rivers are the Miño and the Sil, which has a spectacular canyon.

The mountains in Galicia are not high but have served to isolate the rural population and discourage development of the interior. There is a ski resort in Cabeza de Manzaneda (1778 m) in Ourense Province. The highest mountain is Trevinca (2127 m) on the Ourense eastern border with León and Zamora provinces (Castilla y León).

Galicia has no extensive natural areas and has had several environmental problems in the modern age. Deforestation is a problem in many areas, as is the continual spread of the eucalyptus tree, imported for the paper industry. Fauna, most notably the European Wolf, have suffered because of the actions of livestock owners and farmers. The native deer species have declined because of hunting and development. Recently, oil spills have become a major issue, especially with the Mar Egeo disaster in A Coruña and the infamous Prestige oil spill in 2002, a crude oil spill larger than the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska. Other environmental issues include gas flushing by maritime traffic, pollution from fish hatcheries on the coast, overfishing, and the highest incidence of forest fires in Spain, in spite of the wetter Galician climate.

Contributor

Wikipedia

GNU Free Documentation License

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galicia_(Spain)

Useful Reading

Where to Watch Birds in North and East Spain

Michael Rebane, Stephen Message (Illustrator) Paperback - 295 pages (20 May, 1999) Christopher Helm

ISBN: 0713647000

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Birding Pal

Information

Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…

Habitaq

Guides

Birding Guides to Northwestern Spain…

Trip Reports

CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

Organisations

Grupo de Anelamento Andurina

Website

The blog of Spanish Association for the scientific study and conservation of wild birds and their habitats. Grupo de anelamento andurina is composed for more that 15 members who ring and watch birds every day…

Sociedade Galega de Ornitoloxia

Website

Información xeral sobre a nosa sociedade, os seus fins e o seu ámbito…

Reserves

Natural Areas

Website

There are several natural areas and natural parks in each province. We are only going to give some information about five of them…

Blogs

Amadeo Antonio Pombo Eirín - Aves de la Mariña Lucense

Blog

Este Blog tratará observaciones de avifauna en la comarca de la mariña Lucense (NE de Galicia), fundamentalmente de las rías de O Barqueiro,Viveiro y Foz y de áreas de interés para la observación de aves; playas, puertos, pequeños estuarios o grupos islotes que jalonan esta costa, además de algunas sierras del interior. El objetivo de este blog, es incrementar el conocimiento sobre aves en esta comarca lucense, con muy poca información publicada sobre todo en su extremo occidental…

Aves de Baldaio

Blog

Bids, NW Galicia, Spain…

Aves de la ría do Burgo - Antonio Sandoval

Blog

Este Blog está dedicado a mis observaciones de aves en la Ría do Burgo, en A Coruña (Galicia, España) y sus alrededores: ría de A Coruña, puerto y playas de A Coruña… Y a más cosas.

Aves del golfo Ártabro

Blog

Observación y fotografía de aves en la costa e interior de la provincia de A Coruña…

Aves en Galicia

BLOG

É un blog no que poño fotos, descricións e comentarios das máis comúns aves de Galicia…

El Naturalista Cojo (The Lame Naturalist)

BLOG

My name is Manuel Sobrino Senra, I live in A Guarda, and if I am lame. I move in a wheelchair since birth. But this circumstance has never prevented me from enjoying my great passion: nature. The trick is to recognize and accept your limitations. Because no need to walk to appreciate the fragile beauty of a flower in spring; because to marvel at the flight of a hawk indefatigable just look towards high in the sky for a few minutes.

Galician Birding - José Miguel Alonso Pumar

Blog

Nunca me cansaré de observar a las aves, bien sea en la vieja Gallaecia o más allá de Ancares. Con Galician Birding intentaré hacer llegar mis observaciones más interesantes realizadas en cualquier punto de nuestra geografía además de, siempre que la actualidad lo permita, el día a día de mis avistamientos en el territorio del concello de Cariño y su comarca: Ortegal… [Galician birding web site – for anyone interested in Galician birds]

Other Links

Aves del Golfo Artabro

Website

Marcos Suárez photo enhanced birding BLOG from Coruña…

Galicia Birding

Website

Natural Areas in Galicia

Website

Galicia is a patchwork of landscapes, where an endless number of places of natural interest unfold. There are several reasons for this: first of all, the wide strip of coast and continental areas; secondly, the great variations in altitude; thirdly, the contrasts in climate which give rise to biogeographic differences, and lastly, its lengthy history throughout which men and women have toiled, completely changing the landscape.

Photographers & Artists

Artist - Nicolas Fernandez

Gallery

A wonderful sketch book of birds…