DOÑANA IN SEPTEMBER
The dry marshes wait for the arrival of the first rains. Most bird activity concentrates in the wide extension of paddy fields stretching to the northwest of the protected areas, so they should not be overlooked in a good birding day in the region, or anyone who wants to get an idea of what Doñana is in summer, taking in account that Doñana is a concept that goes far beyond the areas currently protected or classified as such in the region. The autumn migration or postnuptial, as it is called in ornithological terms is at its peak this month.
The "rice tables" , as they call them localy, have been flooded since May and 4 months later a myriad of dragonflies larvi and other insects, frogs, fish and tons of American Crayfish abound in the water, turning the area into a wonderful pantry and an excellent refuge for thousands of birds, among which stand out by their number, rareness, or spectacularity the White Stork, the first Black Storks, Glossy Ibis, Grey Heron, Squacco Heron, Nigth Heron, Bittern, Flamingo, Marsh Harrier, Purple Gallinule, the last Purple Herons and Collared Pratincoles and a good number of waders on passage.
Mammals come in a few water points that still remain in the woods and the "Vera" the strip that runs all along the contact zone between the marshes and sand in dunes and forests, which remains wet even in summer. Rut begins, the mating season of Reed deer followed soon after by that of the Fallow Deer.
The Caño Guadiamar is often the only spot in the marshes that may still have some water, and is usually a good place to watch birds like Flamingo, Spoonbill, Black Storks and Great Egrets, Marsh Harrier, Avocet, Godwit, Pratincoles and other waders. Ruffs come back still wearing part of their courtship plumage with ruffs and heads of different colours.
This is when we can see on passage birds like Rollers, Wheatears, Flycatchers, Redstarts, Winchats, Alpine Swifts, several kinds of Warblers including Willow Warbler. Yellow Wagtails and House and Sand Martins start gathering in large flocks to prepare the migration.
This is a good month for watching the Pintail Sandgrouse. The drought that dominates the marshes pushes them toward the few flooded areas, such as Caño Guadiama. Usually the temperatures are still high so it is advisable to start the tour at dawn in order to avoid the midday heat.
It is also a good time of year to try two of the emblems of the Doñana National Park, the rare Iberian Lynx and the impressive Spanish Imperial Eagle
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