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Front of male pintail sandgrouse

Doñana in June

By José Antonio Sánchez Iglesias

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The dry season starts in june; rain becomes unusual and dry areas begin to dominate over flooded ones in the marshes. Bulrush and tule rush go yellow and in grasslands and meadows the green turns into ochre. In wet years the process is delayed but the unstoppable rise of temperatures will eventually give Doñana its parched and dusty summer atmosphere.

female red deer with just born young

Female red deer and fawn

Male red and fallow deer show incomplete antlers while females red deer that have just given birth come back from their retirement in the deep forests to gather again in small groups accompanied by their little ones, often concealed by the high carpet of dry grass that covers the marshes edges. The yellow rock rose still paints the scrubland in that colour. Ant lions are now very abundant and their traps can be seen all around in the dry areas. First adult start flying towards the beginning of the month.

Red-legged partridges chicks come out and it is not difficult to see large groups of them led by the mother, always alert to potential predators. Pintail sandgrouse, late breeder, is also now displaying actively and starting the nesting tasks, so it is now a good time of year to try them in the Hinojos Marshes, although they are always difficult targets.

Partridge with 12 chicks

Partridge with 12 chicks

Young short-toed eagles that have not occupied any breeding territorio can be seen daily perched on pylons and cables in the dry marshes. The first ospreys on migration are around now. Spanish imperial eagle chicks have turned their initial white feather bed into a yellow-brown one and increased size sensibly.

Whiskered terns are still very common in the still flooded areas of the marshes like Caño Guadiamar or the Mother of the Marshes, where they are still feeding some late chicks. Gull-billed and little terns can also be seen overflying the marshes. Caspian terns can be found where the Guadaira River joins the Guadalquivir, especially when tide is going out, when hundreds of gulls and waders gather on the sand backs at the junction. The first black terns arrived from the north showing up in the marshes.

Young great-spotted cuckoos, with their black tufts and reddish primaries, start having problems and disputes with their adoptive parents and neighbours, and it is not rare to see them chased by a magpies. Their genetics parents, adult cuckoos, stopped showing up long ago. Collared pratincoles keep on feeding their chicks. Around José A. Valverde Lagoons purple herons, little egrets and glossy ibis also keep on attending the latest chicks. A few young black storks can also be found along the Caño Guadiamar before the leave for northern latitudes and escape the summer heat.

Marbled teal continues its precarious survival in Doñana. Their late reproduction suffers the effects of climate change; the marshes do not offer suitable conditions towards the end of spring, when this species enters the reproductive phase. This bird is used as a clear example of the adverse effects of global warming on ecosystems and species.

 

 

Do not forget to check El Rocío Annual Festival dates, as it varies widely depending on the year and it is not uncommon to be held in June. Another event that takes place every June 26th is the so called locally “Saca de las Yeguas” (The Rounding of the Mares) during which cattle keepers from Almonte go into the marshes in the Park to gather their marsh mares into small packs which they call troops. About noon they pass through El Rocío on the way to the cattle market in Almonte. There is also something that invariably occurs every June, on the 13th I turn a year older.

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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