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Lynx in the mist

Foggy days in Doñana

By José Antonio Sánchez Iglesias

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What happens on foggy days? In the beginning it’s a bit annoying, obviously the visibility is not very good, but then you realize that a little fog is not going to stop the unstoppable flow of life. The first change to the best that you feel when you go out on a foggy day is that the sounds are accentuated and travel farther, so that if you stop for a second, Doñana lives intensely also on foggy days and that life reaches your ears more clearly than normal.


Magpie ridding a deer in the mist

Lazy rabbits may take a little longer to come out of their burrows, but the lynx goes out to work equally on foggy days, there are tasks to accomplish until breakfast is ready. Serins, goldfinches, Sardinian warblers, great tits and blue tits offer their songs to the mist as if wanting to break it open using them. Red deer walk tiredly, as usual, transporting the usual magpie on their back, they have an appointment with some friends under the big cork oak.


In the marshes little owls are perched where they usually do it every day, although their yellow eyes stand out even more clearly in the black and white design of their head, blurred today by the dim light of the misty morning. You can hear the squawks of the crows, more intense than ever, as if they were flying over us at a low altitude, although you can’t see them. Other more distant squawks also come to us clearly, they are those of the several thousand geese that graze quietly hidden by a kilometer of a dense humidity. Kestrels seem to nail down their claws with more force today on the concrete post where they usually perch, in the absence of teeth they tighten their nails to get through the bad cold morning. Cows in the marsh also seem to moo with some discomfort these days. Even more distant trumpets sound, those of the cranes, looking for snails and worms between the salty bushes, trying to keep in contact with their wind notes.


Misty day in the marshes

Spiderweb on a thistleIt is also on these misty days when we can enjoy a wonderful nature performance in the marshes that goes unnoticed for us the rest of the days. The areas that remain dry are decorated by countless spider webs, which shine in the weak light of the morning like vertical chandelier lamps. The spiders have abandoned their useless silk traps to hide in the bushes from which they hang, waiting for the sun to rise and evaporate the drops that make them visible to everyone eyes. It never rains to everyone’s taste, I do not think our spiders wait anxiously for the fog to come.

Spiderwebs on thistles


Buzzards look at us as we pass by, shrunken on their perches, they will not eat much until noon, when their feathers dry out and recover their hunting skills completely. The flocks of calandra larks and skylarks do not seem to be bothered too much by the lack of visibility, they keep on feeding on seeds like every day near the water edges. When they set off give us their precious songs that sound even more melodic in foggy days.


In Caño Guadiamar, the closest reeds and phragmites contrast strongly over the waters that merge with the fog and work for us as a frame for a beautiful photograph. The calls of stilts and swamphens come to us clearly, although we do not see them. Marsh harriers, with a hunger looking face expression, remain perched on the tamarisks with their wet wings attached to the body. A group of glossy ibis may overfly us and let us hear clearly the sound produced by their wings against the dense air of the cold morning.


But there is always a sure winner in this battle between water and fire, the sun ends up imposing its unbeatable power and makes its way through the wall of low clouds to warm up the bodies and replenish the souls, allowing us to see again Doñana in full splendor.

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 ...