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Female red deer with fawn in the high dry grasses

Doñana after the fire

By José Antonio Sánchez Iglesias

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At the end of June, fire caused by accident in a local charcoal company fueled by strong winds and high temperatures, destroyed around 8,500 has in the Doñana area, 6,500 of which belonged to the Doñana Natural Site. The Doñana National Park was not affected but some valuable areas within the Natural Park were razed by the flames. Our working area in the northern forests and marshes in the National Park was not affected so we kept on running our 4×4 tours to Doñana as usual. Soon after the fire was extinguished, we begun working on the restoration of the area with the support of national and local administrations.

But Doñana kept moving on and might even turn stronger and better in the future. In most of Doñana live progresses and struggles through the hard summer as usual. Our impressive Iberian lynx keep on raising their cubs in our forests and we keep enjoying them some lucky days. Our elegant booted eagles keep on enjoying the early morning sun from their usual perch and we still see them doing it. Our woodchat shrikes still feed actively on small insects and look at us when we pass along during our tours. And our families of red-legged partridges still feed quietly in our meadows unaware of the disaster.

 

Families of hoopoes keep on exploring together pine forests for food so we can easily find 4 or 5 of them at a spot.  Kingfishers are still taking advantage of the shallow waters under Ajolí Bridge as usual at this time of year and get easy catches perched on wires or branches strategically located over the water. Female red deers haven´t stopped finding the best feeding spots in the forest for their fawns.

 

In the cork oak forest, young black kites have left the nest as they normally do in summer and practice hunting technics together as they are supposed to be doing now. Young storks have done the same and, unaware of the unwanted event as they are, they don’t expect food from their parents anymore as always happens at this time of year. Last flowers of our yellow rockrose and the purple ones of our larkspur (delphinium gracile) still put a note of color in the undergrowth as usual in July.

 

In the Hinojos Marshes, larks, sandgrouse, ravens, spectacled warblers and black kites are still trying to find the way to live through the hard summer as every year and small groups of little and cattle egrets share the last ponds of water left with white storks, just the same as they do every middle of summer. Marsh mares also demand a place around the last green spots in the cracked marshes and foresee an even harder time coming soon. Collared pratincoles also struggle through the hard conditions in the marshes.

 

 

Despite of the unfortunate incident that happened just a few kilometres away from here, nature keep going strong and successful around Caño Guadiamar and there are still thousands of birds feeding chicks in the heronries spread all along this water way. Glossy ibis in large V formations, cattle and little egrets, purple herons, squacco and night herons fly up and down the last remaining oasis of life in the whole northern marshes to attend their offsprings, almost ready to fletch. Numerous great crested grebes and coots keep on feeding their grown up chicks in the open waters as usual at this time of year while purple swamphens chicks remain hidden among the reeds being feed by their colorful parents.

Purple swahphen

Purple swamphen

 

Groups of young barn swallows and sand martins still get together in groups and seat on the fences over the water to rest and wait for their parents to come and feed them; little bitterns keep on flying across the reeds with food in their beaks to disappear among the reeds not te be seen anymore. Great reed warblers still sing actively from the reeds and in the near lesser kestrel colony youngsters are starting to explore the surroundings watched by a short-toed eagle form its usual perched on the electric pylon next to it.

 

Doñana’s nature has been disturbed but is still offering a great outdoor experience to those who plan to visit us this summer. Come and enjoy Doñana with us.

About José Antonio Sánchez Iglesias

José Antonio Sánchez se licenció en Biología por la Universidad de Sevilla en 1985. Más tarde, durante varios años, se dedicó a organizar y guiar rutas de senderismo y naturaleza ...

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