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Brazo de la Torre reed beds

The wind helper

By José Antonio Sánchez Iglesias

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Penduline tit feeding on a reed

Penduline tit feeding on a reed

A cold and sunny winter day, next to a reed bed in the rice fields of Doñana, a light breeze that is not even able to swing the elegant stems of the bulrush. Its tight cylinders of brown seeds have slowly and gradually fell apart in the last few months; rare is the one that still keeps its original shape intact.

Suddenly, rows of little fluffs fly towards us detached from one of them and a weak and distinctive whistle cuts through the tangle of vegetation. Flying bulrush seeds plus that whistle cannot mean anything else: a penduline tit.
After a short search we track down the origin and find the most expert bulrush spike breaker after wind at work; lovingly embracing one of them, it seems to choose carefully the seeds one by one before removing them with the accuracy of a surgeon. Another near whistle distracts our birds for a second out of its work; it is a male bird, with is typical wide black mask. It moves quickly among the stems to find the right one and then up and down and around it, exploring with meticulousness the broken structure, throwing away our best attempts to immortalize in our cameras that precious moment of Doñana’s nature.

Here, thanks to Stephen Portlock’s expertise, we give you away a little piece of our beautiful experience that day to prove that our male bird did not fully succeed.

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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