O Rexedoiro reservoir (also known as Sabón reservoir, due to its location in the centre of the industrial estate of the same name) was built in 1970 and covers almost 40 hectares. It is home to an interesting number of breeding and over-wintering water birds. The dam is just a few metres from Alba beach, the start of the ‘Costa da Morte’ Special Area of Conservation (SAC), which includes the coastline from here to Fisterra. This initial stretch, part of the municipality of Arteixo and therefore included in the Mariñas Coruñesas e Terras do Mandeo Biosphere Reserve, comprises a succession of beaches interspersed by rocky cliffs, making it an ideal location for birdwatching and geology lovers as they follow the ‘Blue Trail’.
Bird´s route: O Rexedoiro reservoir and Arteixo coast
The shores of O Rexedoiro reservoir are dotted with large beds of bulrushes where a number of species build their nests, including the Common Moorhen and the Eurasian Coot, which is becoming an increasingly rare breeding species in Galicia. Little Bitterns have also been known to nest here on a number of occasions. In winter, the waters attract more than 200 water birds, including Mallards, Tufted Ducks, Eurasian Coots, Little Grebes and Grey Herons. Indeed, more than 180 species of birds have been spotted here.
Arteixo’s ‘Blue Trail’ (6.5 km) makes its way past the large Alba and Barrañán beaches, along a succession of rocky cliffs affording breathtaking views of the ocean, and the opportunity to observe numerous species that are common to both environments.
O Rexedoiro reservoir is a great place to visit at any time of year, although its appeal diminishes slightly in mid-summer. On spring days, flocks of Swifts, Swallows and Great Black-backed gulls feed in the middle of its waters, whilst the breeding species build their nests among the Bulrushes. In winter, the variety and number of birds rise considerably. In autumn, especially when the wind blows in a northwesterly direction, the ‘Blue Trail’ is perfect for watching seabirds. In turn, easterly winds at this time of year tend to bring small migratory birds to the bushes that line the trail.
What to see
- The best place to admire O Rexedoiro reservoir is from the wide pavement that runs along the final section along Avenida da Diputación. To get there, park your car nearby and walk the rest of the way. Find various spots from which to observe the birds on the water surface and among the Bulrushes.
- Gulls often use the nearby Alba beach as a resting place. Here it is possible to spot a number of uncommon species such as the Iceland, Caspian or Glaucous Gull. Use the car park when visiting this beach.
- At the far western end, the mouth of the River Arteixo also attracts small waders and other species during the migration season.
- If a long walk holds little appeal, the first two kilometres of the ‘Blue Trail’ are probably enough to get an idea of its ornithological interest. In spring, look out for the migrating Northern Wheatears. The same is true in autumn, where you may well catch sight of species such as Whinchats or Eurasian Wrynecks. Out at sea you may catch a glimpse of a Gannet, Sandwich Tern or other seabirds. As you walk, observe the striking geomorphology of this coastline, which is of great interest.
- Behind Barrañán beach, where the ‘Blue Trail’ ends, there is a large reed bed at the mouth of the River Sisalde. It is an interesting spot from which to watch the birds that are typically found in these settings, such as the Common Reed Bunting or the Eurasian Reed Warbler. A path leading from the DP-0514 road takes you round the western perimeter. You can also take a circular route that brings you back across the hillsides, partially clad with trees that attract an intriguing number of forest birds.
Getting there, accessibility and recommendations
To reach the birdwatching tower at O Rexedoiro reservoir, leave your car nearby; in front of the industrial units on Avenida da Praia is a good spot. The ‘Blue Trail’ that starts on Alba beach is fairly easy to walk along. Try not to stray off the path, as this will bring you too close to the cliff edge. If you wish to watch the gulls, it is a good idea to make an early start to avoid the dog walkers whose animals may disturb the birds.
The Muíño Vello Nature Centre, located on the outskirts of Arteixo, next to Rego da Bidueira, offers lots of information about this municipality’s biodiversity. Town Council’s website also has details of the ‘Blue Trail’: http://www.arteixo.org/gl/servizos/turismo/rutas. , and also the circular route that runs around the reed beds formed by the River Sisalde next to Barrañán: http://www.arteixo.org/gl/servizos/turismo/rutas/rio-sisalde.
Nearby sites of ornithological interest
In winter, gull watchers visit the inlet situated next to the small Suevos industrial estate. Monticaño Park is also visited by migratory birds, especially when the wind blows in a north-easterly direction.
Birds of the Mariñas
Other places to visit:
Useful telephone numbers and addresses:
For tide times and weather forecasts, visit the Meteogalicia website at meteogalicia.gal. For details of bus times, call A Coruña bus station on 981 184 335
Emergency services: 112
Arteixo Town Hall: 981 600 009
Arteixo Tourist Information Office: Avenida de Fisterra, s/n, 15142 Arteixo (A Coruña) 981 659 177. email@example.com.