Showing Doñana since 1990


Familia de somormujo

Busy parents at the end of spring

By José Antonio Sánchez Iglesias

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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 collared pratincoles, constantly threatened by overflying black kites, of which they defend with courage. Juveniles of yellow wagtails, crested larks, short toed larks and calandra larks, with less defined plumages than their parents, abound along the road that crosses the dry plains.

Small groups of flamingos feed on the shallow, warm waters that will soon dry out, not far from them a mixed group of little egrets and spoonbills do the same cooperating in order not to let any prey escape.


Flamingos feeding


Great reed warblers, little bitterns, swallows and little grebes compose a symphony of sounds around the bridge over Caño Guadiamar, used now by tens of thousands purple herons, night herons, squacco herons, little egrets, cattle egrets, and glossy ibis as the main flyway to get to their breeding colonies dispersed along the dense vegetation where purple swamphens hide with their offsprings.

In open waters, families of coots and great crested grebes work hard to feed their chicks while whiskered terns overfly them in search of food for theirs. All of them are watched by a juvenile short-toed eagle that, perched on a pylon, find suddenly something more interesting to look at in the vegetation below him. Parents also feed their chicks in the lesser kestrel colony, unaware of the presence of the large silhouettes of the griffon vultures flying high over Doñana’s skies.

It is essential these days to start early in order to avoid the heat of the central hours of the day but Doñana does not stop offering us a beautiful experience in nature.

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 ...