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Group of vultures next to a dead mare

Doñana in August

By José Antonio Sánchez Iglesias

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Summer progresses and with it living conditions in the park for animals and plants becomes even harder. Mammal activity concentrates in the first and last hours of the day. The bellowing of the stags can be clearly heard early in the morning, even from El Rocío; in the woods these animals become less shy and allow us a better observation

Ciervo macho berreando

 

Caño Guadiamar and J.A. Valverde Lagoons are also good places, if they still keep some water, to watch a good variety of waders, which have already begun to migrate. Flocks of egrets and glossy ibis can still be seen in the first half of the month. Pintail sandgrouse search for water in the drainage channels, rice fields and the few pools remaining in the marshes. A large number of house and sand martins, accompanied by swifts, decorate the skies of the dry plains every day. The last short-toed larks remaining still share cattle troughs and drainage channels with flocks of lesser short-toed larks. Spectacled warbler is another species that can be easily seen in August.

 

Fallow Deer are also found in parts of the marshland like Caño Guadiamar or Lucio del Lobo, where they lay down to rest under the tamarisks. Wild boars are easier observed in the lagoons around the José A. Valverde Visitor Center, looking for fresh vegetation and the last water pools.

 

Iberian lynx sightings are also abundant in August; cubs are fully grown and join their parents for hunting, which increases the chances to see them. It is not unusual at this time of year that the Lynx climb up the trees around the middle of the day looking for a little breeze.

Lince ibérico

Iberian lynx

 

In the forests now abound large groups of partridges, the number of black kites has fallen sharply and there are few booted eagles perched on the trees. Most of them are now flying south at high altitudes, sometimes accompanied by Egyptian vultures or a short- toed eagles. Passerine migration has also started; pied flycatchers and willow warblers are coming through our pine and oak woods. Most woodchat shrikes remaining are juveniles, which will leave later for Africa. Flocks of bee-eaters pass flying low all day and hoopoes also increase numbers in the area these days.

It is also easy to see groups of vultures feeding on a fallen cattle or rising mid-morning to explore from high in the sky. We often find red kites, that came to stay for the winter, and short-toed Eagles on passage perch often on the electric pylons along Caño Guadiamar and near Lucio del Lobo and may be not far one of the emblems of the Park, the Spanish imperial eagle.

 

Outside the Park, the reservoir at the Dehesa de Abajo usually keeps water and provides shelter to a large number of waterfowl, while the near Isla Mayor Rice Paddies support a large numbers of storks, herons, gulls and waders that use this vast wet extension to feed during the dry season. Pratincoles, whiskered and gull-billed terns also abound. At Brazo de la Torre and other areas with natural vegetation black-crowned bishops and common waxbills are easy, large groups of juveniles feed on seeds on the edges of the fields.

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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