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A great day for Doñana’s history

By Lucía Lozano Villarán

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Doñana gets better day by day, although the effects of spring are felt something later this year. The plants are flowering somewhat later, so that there is still orchids in our pine forests, now at last begins to increase the number of butterflies and dragonflies, the waters of the marsh are beginning to have an appropriate level for many birds, not only to feed but also to find suitable areas for breeding. But not everything is negative; there are also positive effects in delaying signs of spring: there are still very few flies and mosquitoes, and that, at least for us human beings, is more good than bad.
The migration continues these days, especially in regard to small forest birds and waders. These are ideal days to watch all kinds of warblers, some of which are only seen Doñana on passage. With a little luck and good trained eyes or a good birding guide you could see in one day: Willow Warbler, Bonelli’s W, Subalpine W, Spectacled W, Garden W, Whitethroat, Sardinian W, Blackap, Dartford W, Orphean W, Sedge W, Reed W, Great-reed W, Savi’s W, Zitting Cisticola, Cetti’s W and Melodious Warbler. We haven’t seen any Olivaceous Warbler yet but they must be just about to arrive.
We also see coming in these days other species such as Whinchat, Redstart, Wheatear, Pied Flycatcher and Grey Flycatcher. Yesterday we saw a beautiful male Rock Thrush and today we saw a female Ring Ouzel, rare sightings in Doñana. Continues to increase the number of Bee-eater, Woodchat Shrike, Montagu’s Harrier and Black-eared Wheatear. We haven’t seen yet any Roller (although we made a trip to the steppes of Castro Verde in Portugal last Wednesday and saw one) and Golden Oriole.
We also observed yesterday in the breeding colony of the Visitors Center Jose A. Valverde one of the rare Reef Egrets. There, the activity of more than 4,000 pairs of Glossy Ibis and several thousand pairs of Purple Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Squacco Heron and Night Heron among other species. The pair of Crested Coot breeding in the Caño Guadiamar is still being seen, but not as well as weeks ago as the vegetation is still growing and covering more and more area.
But if something is really good today for us here, those who work in Doñana, is that they have finally begun the works to clean up the roads in the northern marshes. We had been waiting for years, myself in particular  have the feeling that I have been waiting all my life, since is nearly 15 that I have been working in Doñana, and the regrettable tracks that I have to use every day are killing my back. The plan is to improve the entire stretch known as Wall of FAO, from Matasgordas Oak Forest to Huerta Tejada, the entire wall of the right bank of Entremuros and all the access to José Antonio Valverde via Dehesa de Pilas, Hato Raton, the 2 bridges and the Caño Guadiamar. We all, including you, are in luck!

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