Each year, in spring, thousands of birds get to Cantabria ready to spend summer in itsmarshes and natural parks; when autumn arrives, they get ready to fly to hotter places where to stay for the winter: it is time to do birdwatching.

Birdwatching in Cantabria

More than 10 million European tourists enjoy this activity each year, according to theUNWTO. Countries like the UK, Netherlands or Germany have been doing birdwatching for years now.

But, what is Birdwatching? It is an activity based on the study and observation of wild birds. This leisure activity consists basically on countryside journeys to identify different species of birds from their plumage, colors or song.

An activity practiced by country tourism lovers and nature fans looking for relief, that in some cases make a list of species living in one place or, in other cases,the list is made with the different species they have seen in their life time.But most of us just go on a birdwatching guided tourlooking for a special day.

There are several places in Cantabria with birdwatching guided tours or guided routes through marshes, inlets or natural parks, both on the coast or inland. They all supply the material you will need to fully enjoy this experience.

Birdwatching in Cantabria:

You can book a specialised route to get to know the aquatic birds that live in Santander´s Bay. It is compulsory to book in advance (Bahía de Santander. Ecoturismo – Carlos / 942 236 988 – 630 258 513 / info@bahiasantander.es)

The Santoña, Victoria and Joyel Natural Park, in the area of Trasmiera, is also a bird refuge all year long. At Santoña, you will find the Marshlands Interpretive Centre (museum) where you can book a birdwatching route (Red Cántabra de Desarrollo Rural / 942 32 12 83 / info@redcantabrarural.com)

From November to March, you can go on a guided boat tour of the Asón estuary, in the heart of the Marshlands of Santoña, Victoria and Joyel Natural Park, for the observation of wintering water birds. Observations will be made with binoculars and telescope, making stops when the most interesting species are located. (Aves Cantábricas / 647 225 234 / avescantabricas@gmail.com)

Naturea Cantabria organizes several birdwatchig routes. They are carried out in the area of Campoo-Los Valles (Embalse del Ebro), the marshes of Santoña or Oyambre Natural Park (Naturea Cantabria / 942 049 438 / naturea@natureacantabria.com )

Finally, some recommendations to keep in mind when doing birdwatching:

–      Don’t force birds to fly, nor get too close to them when taking a picture

–      Never get close to a nest and by no means touch an egg or an offspring

–      Be respectful to the environment, don’t litter

–      Use the adequate footwear and clothing to spend a day on the countryside

–      Respect private properties