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Author Archive | José Antonio Sánchez Iglesias

Harvested rice field full of storks and gulls

Doñana in november

Autumn brings us cooler but sunny days alternating with gray and rainy ones that transform Doñana without taking off its beauty but only change the background of a nice scenery. El Rocío Marshes, which have been flooded by the first rains, attract many birds like flamingos, spoonbills, storks, herons, geese and many species of ducks [...]
Collared pratincole in flight

Collared pratincole, the marsh acrobat

A visit to the Doñana’s marshes is only complete when you get to enjoy the sighting of one of these birds. They resemble terns and fly as agile as swallows, feeding often in flight like them but being closely related to waders. Long, pointing, narrow wings, deeply forked tail, short legs and a short bill with a bright red patch at […]

Female red deer with fawn in the high dry grasses

Doñana after the fire

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 […]

Familia de somormujo

Busy parents at the end of spring

Temperatures rise, grass wither and the marshes dry out. In the pine forests partridges protect their groups of 8-10-12 little chicks, the yellow rockroses still decorate the cork oak woods and female deer feed their fawns along the marshes edges. In the Hinojos Marshes, small puddles support the last families of black-winged stilts, lapwings and […]

Lynx lying down

Iberian lynx, an unexpected encounter

Enric and his companions were enjoying that cool morning the lush nature of Doñana. We had been stopping every few minutes to watch small forest birds such as robin, black redstart, serin and sardinian warbler, and some red deer we came across on the way. We were all excited thinking of meeting the king of [...]
Sunset in the flooded marshes

The perfect sunset, the power of nature

I feel privileged every day for being able to enjoy Doñana, an amazing piece of nature. I also feel fulfilled as a person for having the opportunity in my work as a guide to make people happy for a while by introducing them into it. It is a very particular feeling, you may know it, people can pass each other valuable feelings. But there is [...]
Jose A. Valverde heronry

Ecosystems of Doñana

The Guadalquivir River and the Atlantic Ocean shaped the old bay located at the mouth of the river and created the region known today as Doñana. The sediments carried by the river and the sands pushed inland by the sea currents and winds filled the shallow waters of the bay to build a territory made […]

Lince on the prowl

Iberian lynx hunting

Early in the morning when we were entering the Park, we found one of our iberian lynx lying on the ground under the pine trees about 50 meters from us. We stopped the car and the animal, who was paying attention to something in the bushes, looked at us for a second and continued looking [...]
Caño Guadiamar in summer

Caño Guadiamar in summer

A stop at Caño Guadiamar these days becomes an experience full of sensations. The old course of the River Guadiamar, passing through Doñana becomes every summer one of the few pockets of moisture across the northern marshland, an oasis that turns into a valuable refuge for thousands of waterfowl, raptors and passerines on migration during the dry season. […]

Spanish imperial eagle in flight

Doñana’s Spanish imperial eagle

The tough life of the queen of the sky It is midday and we return from one of our tours to the northern marshes of Donana National Park. Several hours ago, in the early morning, we found a fresh lynx track, but we were not lucky to stumble upon the animal. Several male red deer [...]
Antlion larvae on a hand

Antlion, the monster of the sands

Antlions are insects belonging to the order Neuroptera. They are not true ants, although their small larvae that can reach 1 cm in length may remind them. They are fierce predators of ants and other small insects that share with them the sandy soils in which they live. This small creatures, looking like something out of a […]

Flock of flamingos in flight

Summer is around the corner

Summer is knocking at Doñana's door. Meadows and forests edges are not green anymore although some Spanish iris, daisies, tassel hyacinths, larkspurs, fragrant virgin's bowers and particularly our halimium halimifolium, one of our yellow rockroses, persist on trying to put a note of colour to it. Rabbits jump around happily early in the morning, watched [...]
iberian lynx walking

Lynx at Ajolí Bridge

Look who was giving us access to the Park last June 1st. A male Lynx yawning quietly after drinking in the waters that still run under the Ajolí Bridge, next to El Rocío. He looked at us a few times as if he cared a hoot that we were there enjoying the sighting. While nightingales and […]

Front of male pintail sandgrouse

Pintail sandgrouse, a beauty out of this world

There is no bird sighting better than pintail sandgrouse in Doñana, from my point of view. Well, ok, a good Spanish imperial eagle, a squacco heron in full breeding plumage, a black-winged kite hovering, a male Montagu’s harrier flying low, a close view of a red-necked nightjar or a short-toed eagle, an oriole, a roller, […]

tamarisks full of egrets and ibis nests

José A. Valverde Heronry

The rain we had recently have flooded large areas of the marshes and that is encouraging more and more birds to join the colony and start breeding, a bit later than usual, but numbers increase day by day. Glossy ibis, purple heron, squacco heron, little egret, cattle egret, night heron are the most abundant breeding species, […]

Caño Guadiamar after the rain in May 2016

It came, it changed

A total of 160 mm of rain accumulated during a few days last week have changed everything in Doñana very quickly. Large paddles still make the driving along Raya Real difficult, although they get reduced day by day. in the adjacent pine forests, solitary female red deer that have left the group wonder about waiting for the […]

european nightjar perched on a branch

Nightjar, one of our lesser known birds

This bizarre nocturnal birds with huge mouths, large moustaches and sorrowful eyes begin to return from their winter quarters in Africa towards middle of April, although most of them are coming back now in the first half of May.  Occasionally we come across one of them on passage in the marshes, like the european nightjar on […]

male golden oriole perched on a branch

Migration progresses through Doñana

Spring goes by and migration keep coming through Doñana. Mixed flocks of small waders including ringed and some little ringed plovers, dunlin, little and some Temminck's stints , curlew sandpiper and Kentish plover are coming through and feeding in the scarce shallow waters in the Park and rice fields and mainly in the dry marshes. Good [...]
Flower of anchusa calcarea

An exceptional spring for flowers

Rain was not enough this year to fill our marshes properly, but we have been having some light rain, spread through the last few months, that have created the perfect conditions of humidity in our forests and meadows. The number of beautiful flowers this spring is enormous, filling with an explosion of colours all our [...]
Snakefly

Snakefly, a living fossil

You have to fine tune your eyesight to locate one of these strange creatures; perched on a leaf of a mastic tree, the bark of a cork tree or a flower of a rockrose. It is now in spring when small insects like these populate our countryside; most go unnoticed for many of us, but if you’re lucky […]

lesser spotted woodpecker building its nest

Migration time in Doñana

Migration keep coming through Doñana these warm days of spring with scattered showers and skies beautifully decorated with white clouds in between them. In the forests, wrens, serins, greenfinches, goldfinches, chaffinches, treecrepers, blue tits and great tits, among others, compose a varied symphony of sounds. They all keep themselves busy with display and other reproductive […]

Sunrise at the marshes edge

Beautiful Doñana in a dry spring

Even in a dry spring like this one, Doñana offer great birding opportunities, beautiful landscapes and an overall very good experience of nature. Warm temperatures, blue skies, green meadows decorated with flowers and espectacular sunrises and sunsets will fulfill your expectations. Flamingos, herons, eagles and harriers, colorful passerines like bee-eaters and orioles, red deer, wild boar […]

Owl dummy

El Rocío wildlife

The village of El Rocío support a whole range of wild animals. None of them is dangerous. They tend to go away from us and use the high strata but if you go out for a walk, with a bit of luck, you will come across them.

Caño Guadimar panoramic

Images of Doñana in spring

Beautiful skies decorated with clouds serve us these days as the ideal background for the bright colorful landscapes of Doñana this spring. Blue of the water and the sky, yellow of the goldfinches, daffodils and daisies, pink of flamingos, crane bills and orchids, white of spoonbills, avocets and egrets, brown of corn buntings, short-toed larks [...]
Bee-eater perched on a branch

Unusually early migrants this spring

An unusual warm and dry winter has just given way to a spring full of early events. I had some very early orchids coming out in the pine forest, the first ones were out at the end of february, several weeks earlier than normal. On February 28th I found the first pallid swifts flying over [...]
marshes with a carpet of yellow daisies and three bulls

Unusual winter

  In the forests things go right this year; forests and meadows look beautifully and the green is getting decorated with flowers day by day. Serins, goldfinches, great and blue tits, wrens and cetti's warblers, they all display restless in order to attract the nicest female for their own. Penduline tits, crested tits and long-tailed [...]
close up of a red knobbed coot swimming

Some come, others go

It was cold when we started at 7:30 but sunny and warm at the end of the tour around 14:15. I had a selected group of nice people willing to enjoy one of our shared bird tours today. Soon after we started we stopped at Puente del Ajolí to try Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. We did […]

White flower of the rockrose cistus salviifolius

Spring flowers in Doñana

Spring is here, no doubt, we have only to look at our fields and our skies and see how the green takes over our lawns and as the blue of our skies every day is more ornate with the increasing number of individuals of species such as Black Kites, Booted Eagles, House Martins and Swallows. […]

orchid flower

First early orchids in February

Towards the end of February many of our winter birds have gone back to the north although there are a good number of cranes and some geese still in the marshes. Robin, song thrush, meadow pipit, black redstart, skylark and chiffchaff are also still around in good numbers. Meadows in the forests are bright green [...]
Eucalyptus with nests

What a local guide is good for

I like my job, I love it, and these days I feel especially grateful to be able to enjoy Doñana’s nature. Today’s group was integrated by four enthusiastic young Dutch. They had spent the day before birdwatching around the park, trying to get as many species as possible out of their target list, but they […]

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