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 numbers of small passerines like whinchat, garden and bonelli’s warbler, spotted and pied flycatchers come through every day and others like golden oriole, isabelline and melodious warbler are coming to stay. Late migrants like red-necked nightjar and rufous bush robin are coming back now. Larger birds like short-toed eagles are still coming back from Africa in large numbers, we counted yesterday afternoon up to 18 of them in only about 4 kms of route through the marshes.
Calandra, thekla, crested, short-toed and lesser short-toed larks keep on feeding their chicks; the earliest ones are already flying and making our identification a bit more difficult some times. Corn buntings also feed their chicks, hidden very well in the high herbaceous plants along the roadsides, restless.
Female red deer feed quietly along the marshes edges. Most are still pregnant and display their rounded and bulging bellies but some have given birth the first fawns that follow their mothers with difficulty through the high grasses.
Meadows and forests are still very nicely decorated with a large variety of flowers. Daisies, borages, thistles, thrifts, umbelliferae and rock roses compose a beautiful mosaic of colours. Rabbits feel themselves happy among some much food but are alert to the attack of the lynx and the booted eagle.
Small numbers of purple and squacco herons can be seen at José A. Valverde Visitor Centre, where some cattle and little egrets, night herons and glossy ibis are starting to build their nests. Along Caño Guadiamar some purple herons and great white egrets feed hidden in the reeds while short-toed eagles perch on top of the pylons watch from above by the nearby lesser kestrel colony.
Squacco herons and little bitterns can be found in the ditches at the rice field area north of the Park and stone curlews use the still dry fields to nest.