Galicia

Kingfisher Alcedo atthis ©Nicolás Fernández Website
Birding Galicia

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.

Contributors
Useful Reading

  • Where to Watch Birds in Northern & Eastern Spain

    | By Ernest FJ Garcia & Michael Rebane | Bloomsbury Publishing | 2017 | Edition 3 | Paperback | 384 pages, 30 b/w illustrations, 125 b/w maps | ISBN: 9781472936752 Buy this book from NHBS.com
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
    Informaci
Reserves

Abbreviations Key

  • Natural Areas

    WebsiteSatellite View
    There are several natural areas and natural parks in each province. We are only going to give some information about five of them
Guides & Tour Operators


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

  • Habitaq

    Guides
    Birding Guides to Northwestern Spain
Other Links
  • Galicia Birding

    Website
  • Identifying Birds

    Webpage
    Starting to identify birds is not difficult. You start by acquiring a range of skills that allow you to discriminate between a series of more or less similar species and, above all, to learn how to look for the field characteristics that enable you to rule out certain species.
  • 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.
Blogs
  • Amadeo Antonio Pombo Eirín - Aves de Baldaio

    BLOG
    Last updated 2013
  • Amadeo Antonio Pombo Eirín - Aves de la Mariña Lucense

    BLOG
    Last updated 2008
  • Antonio Sandoval - Aves de la ría do Burgo

    BLOG
    Este Blog est
  • Aves del golfo

    BLOG
    Last updated 2013
  • Aves en Galicia

    BLOG
    Last updated 2012
  • José Miguel Alonso Pumar - Galician Birding

    BLOG
    Last updated 2011
  • Manuel Sobrino Senra - 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.
Photographers & Artists
  • Artist - Nicolas Fernandez

    Gallery
    A wonderful sketch book of birds

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