Bird´s route: O Burgo ria

Oriented in a south-north direction and formed by the mouth of the River Mero, the ria takes its name from the parish of the same name, located in the municipality of Culleredo. The shallow waters have a silty, sandy bed, in some areas covered with patches of marshland that attract numerous waterbirds that rest there at high tide.

Ornithological interest

An outstanding location for coastal bird watching in particular, due both the diversity of species (you will be able to spot dozens in a single walk) as well as the opportunity to observe them close-up. The landscaped and urbanised setting also attracts a large community of birds that live in these habitats.

Phenology

Autumn and winter are the seasons that offer the greatest variety and numbers, conditions that last until mid-spring.

What to see

This walking route begins at the mouth of the River Mero, under O Burgo’s medieval bridge. From there, follow the coastal promenade that runs along the left shore of the ria, through the municipality of Culleredo, as far as A Pasaxe Bridge.

  • From O Burgo’s medieval bridge, look towards the AP-9 motorway overpass and you will be able to observe close-up a variety of birds including Gulls, Herons and Ducks, as well as the occasional Common Kingfisher. In summer, keep an eye out for Eurasian Crag Martins and Red-rumped Swallows.
  • Heading towards the red metal structure situated at the point where the ria begins to widen, it is easy to spot the Little Grebes that spend the winter here on the opposite shore. But before, you are sure to have seen Cormorants, Egrets and Grey Herons, as well as your first waders.
  • At mid-tide, to the left and right of the jetty there are excellent opportunities to observe close-up the Mute Swans and many other birds, especially waders such as the Bar-tailed and Black-tailed Godwit, Common Redshank and Greenshank, Dunlin and Common Sandpiper, and during the migration season, the Common Ringed Plover and Curlew Sandpiper. In winter, you should also look out for several rare species of gulls.
  • The marshland plays a key role in attracting numerous species to this area, which use it as a resting place during high tide, or as a feeding or nesting ground, as in the case of the Western Yellow Wagtail. When the tide rises, the shores are filled with Sandpipers, Redshanks, Eurasian Oystercatchers, Godwits, Ruddy Turnstones, Plovers, Whimbrels, Herons, Egrets, Cormorants, European Spoonbills and Gulls. If you look very carefully in autumn and winter, you may catch a glimpse of the elusive Snipe. Other species include the Zitting Cisticola, Water Rail, Eurasian Rock Pipit. The bluethroat has also visited this area on several occasions. In spring, it is a nesting place for Iberian Yellow Wagtails. Early in the morning, the promenade gardens are the ideal spot for watching Thrushes, Wood Pigeons and many other species, including the Pied Wagtail in winter. In this area, you can also often spot birds of prey in flight, such as the Common Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Goshawk, Peregrine Falcon and in winter, even the Booted Eagle.
  • It is worth stopping along the promenade to admire the Common Sandpipers, Ruddy Turnstone and other species. In winter, next to the artificial lake, you will also spot a number of Grebes. In the distance, the large silt island that emerges in the middle of the ria at low tide provides a feeding ground for countless birds. In the hedgerows and brambles close to the promenade, the Sardinian Warbler is a common sight.
  • At low tide, a large sandy island emerges opposite this section, on which Oystercatchers, Great Black-backed, Mediterranean Gull and Little Egrets can be seen.

Getting there, accessibility and recommendations

The area around the ria has a number of car parks and a frequent bus service connecting it with various places, including the city of A Coruña. The route proposed here runs entirely along a sea promenade, which means it is accessible to all. As you walk, watch out for the cyclists, and stay out of their desginated lane. If you are able to choose the time of your visit, go two or three hours before high tide. And of course, do not venture into the ria; you will immediately sink into the muddy bed!

Resources

During your walk, you will come across 52 information panels providing details of the ria and its birds, created by the Mariñas Coruñesas e Terras do Mandeo Biosphere Reserve. In addition, on the shore of the ria, the Juan Lembeye Botanic Garden and Nature Centre (part of the municipality of Culleredo) feature a large number of Galician trees, and organise regular environmental education activities. There are no specific birdwatching towers, but you will soon realise that there is no need for them: accustomed to the comings and goings of passers-by, the birds allow you to get surprisingly close. More info:https://www.baiasantacruz.org/es/panel/ria-do-burgo-culleredo-e-oleiros.

Nearby sites of ornithological interest

Santa Cristina beach
After crossing A Pasaxe bridge (a mere 20 minutes’ walk away), on your way to the beach you will be able to spot Common Ringed Plovers, Cormorants, Egrets and Sandwich Terns. Scan the groups of gulls at low tide and you may spot the odd European Herring Gull. Once at the beach, look out to sea and in winter months you may well discover Black Scoters, Loons, Razorbills and sometimes Black-necked Grebes, as long as the sea is not too rough!

River Trabe
Next to the AC-211 road, the tree-clad banks of the River Trabe are home to the Common Moorhen and a number of forest species. In winter, you may catch sight of the Redwing and Eurasian Siskin.

Birds of the Mariñas

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Andarríos chico
Scolopacidae
It is a small bird with fairly short legs and dark yellow feet.
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Common coalman
Paridae
It has yellow breast in contrast to the bluish tail and wings.
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Back common stone
Scolopacidae
It has a compact body, with its short legs, neck and beak. The legs have an intense orange coloration.
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Common correlimos
Scolopacidae
It is a medium-sized bird with a dark bill and legs.
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Martin common fisherman
Alcedinidae
Bright bluish green above, orange brown underneath.
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Curruca capirotada
Sylviidae
Curruca de tamaño medio, de aspecto robusto y de una tonalidad grisácea en general.
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European Robin
Turdidae
The plumage of the chest and face are orange.
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European aquatic mirlo
Cinclidae
Aquatic blackbirds are medium-sized plump birds, short tails and rather small wings.
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Common Zampullin
Podicipedidae
In the breeding season it has a bridal plumage in which the throat and neck stand out red, with a yellow spot on the membranous part of the base of the bill.
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Real Zarapito
Scolopacidae
The head of the Royal Zarapito is quite uniform in color.

Other places to visit:

O Burgo Romanesque church (12th century).

Celas tower and Monte Xalo ethnography centre.

The English Way of Saint James and the Rego das Xesteiras route.

‘Juan Lembeye’ Botanic Garden.

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
Culleredo Town Hall: 981 677 777
Oleiros Town Hall: 981 610 000
Culleredo Tourist Information Office: Rúa do Concello, 12. Culleredo. 15189. Tel: 981677777. turismo@culleredo.org http://turismo.culleredo.es/es/rutas/.

Oleiros Tourist Information Office: Avenida das Américas, s/n, 15172 Santa Cristina-Perillo-Oleiros (A Coruña). Tel: 981 904 052 / 981 631 706. turismo@oleiros.org. http://www.oleiros.org/web/concello-oleiros/turismo.