The Council of Cariño as well as the neighbour councils of the geologic-destiny Ferrolterra-Rías Altas have several natural protected spaces and diverse habitats. Around 75% of the council relies on specific environmental protection.
The area of the Ría de Cariño-Ortigueira is defined as a Special Nature Protected space for Natura Area 2000, Special Protection Spaces for Birds (Z.E.P.A.) and including the International Wetlands Area (Convenio RAMSAR). There are different habitats (riverbanks, salt marshes, tidal flats... ), so there are several sentinel locations, offering a lot of options, as for it's worth walking peaceful area, including beaches and the wooded fields near the bay.
Cariño's port is an excellent place for seeing seagulls, undoubtedly one of the bests places in Southern Europe. Here we can sight so far 18 species of Laridae and in Winter we can sight some little seagulls known as Larus vegae or Larus hyperboreus. As well as European storm-petrel shag hibernates here that you can find in the breakwater. Other species as the “eurasian oystercatcher”, the “common roadrunners” and the “three-toed” are so usual.
Ortegal Cliffs is other area for birding new species. It represents the Communitary Interest Point (L.I.C.) Costa Ártabra that the highest place is called Herbeira Cliffs, from where we can appreciate its stunning landscapes. It belongs to A Capelada Range, and there are the highest cliffs above sea level of Spain and Southern Europe, exceeding slightly 600 m on the top. In this beautiful landscape raises the alpin water pipit, living in the highest level and we can see it easily all along the year. In April the evasives ring ouzels stop here before jumping to the British Islands and Scandinavia for nesting. During the autumnal migration, come from the sea the rock pipit and the eurasian skylark flocks, so as it is possible to see the european golden plover and mixt flocks of in Winter. Birds more difficult to spot finding them in the area are the snow bunting, the lapland bunting or the eurasian dotterel. A good option to visit the area is to approach to Vixía de Herbeira viewpoint and go all over the adjacent fields, although all the area offers good opportunities to see birds.
Is well known that today many ornithologists profit trying to watch a new wandering species , and they are known as twitchers. This activity, the “Twitchting”, takes some birdwatchers far aways during hundreds of kilometres to an specific place, where he can see a new species.
Due to its strategic geographical orientation, Cariño is a referent site for this kind of ornithologists, because there are indexed a lot of wandering species. Best places to try your luck are A Concha beach (Cariño), the Ría (estuary) and the fields next to, and the best season is Autumn with no doubts.
In the Ría (estuary) were watched Anatidae species as the American black duck (Anas Rubripes), American wigeon (Anas americana), Pink-footed goose (Anser brachyrhynchus), Goosander (Mergus merganser) or the Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus).
There were registered shorebirds as the Western sandpiper (Calidris mauri), Greater yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) or the Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius) , and the Forster's tern (Sterna forsteri).
With rough weather is good to approach to the port and Cariño beach, where there were watched rares Pine bunting (Emberiza leucocephalos) and the Laughing gull (Leucophaeus atricilla). Other species registered in Cariño are Common redpoll (Carduelis flammea), Puna Snipe (gallinago media) or, recently, the Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris).
Other places in the area for birdwatching
- Estaca de Bares Cape (Mañón)
- A Frouxeira lagoon and As Forcadas reservoir (Valdoviño)
- Ría de Ferrol (estuary)
- Fragas do Eume Natural Park (Pontedeume, Monfero, A Capela)