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Female red deer with fawn

Summer in Doñana’s forests and marshes

By José Antonio Sánchez Iglesias

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Summer in Doñana’s forests and marshes also offers rewarding experiences in Nature. When we enter Coto del Rey Pine Woods early in the morning, we always hope to meet one of our Iberian lynxes. When we do, we realize the cubs continue to grow day by day thanks to the loving care of their mothers.Female deer also continue to take care of their fawns, which still show their youthful coat decorated with white spots. And our partridges, whose chicks are now difficult to distinguish from their parents, still walk in family groups in the clearings of the pine forest.

 

When we reached the marsh edges, we stop to contemplate large groups of red deer; herds regroup knowing that the mating season is coming soon. Males already show their antlers devoid of the velvet that has nourished them for the past 5 months. In the nearby cork oaks we often take a walk to look for the traces that its inhabitants left the night before. Deer, badger, fox, rabbit, wild boar and even the lynx often leave their tracks on the moldable sand of the forests. Wolf spider nests, consisting of a several centimeters wide hole in the ground, surrounded by a small enclosure built with small pieces of grass and the large webs of the tiger spider are also common finds during this walk.

 

Once deep in the marsh plains, the strange effects that hot air produces on the landscape never cease to amaze us. Herds of mares and groups of trees seem to float on distant nonexistent lakes.

 

Booted eagles, short-toed eagles and black kites are becoming scarce in our forests because once their reproductive work is finished they leave us to undertake the annual migration to their winter quarters in Africa, they will return next spring. However, we can still observe them with easily flying over the marshes and taking advantage of their resources for stopping to eat. Young woodchat shrikes in good numbers, still showing their characteristic brown plumage, do the same. Swallows, martins, and swifts also go across Doñana as they travel south.

 

To find our waterfowl now in summer, we have to go to the rice fields near the Park, and we usually do this during our summer tours. On the way we stop to contemplate the curious concentrations of snails on the top of the fence posts around the cereal fields.

Snail grape on a fence post

The waters covered by a dense carpet of rice plants provide a large amount of food resources to a wide variety of birds. Among them we can usually find species such as spoonbill, glossy ibis, purple heron, gray heron, little egret, cattle egret, squacco heron, whiskered tern, gull-billed tern, green sandpiper and yellow wagtail, among others. Thousands of dragonflies of different species swarm everywhere, becoming an excellent source of food for Montagu’s harriers, bee-eaters and terns, which fly incessantly over the plantations to catch them.

 

Thousands of dragonflies of different species swarm everywhere, becoming an excellent source of food for Montagu’s harriers, bee-eaters and white-headed smokers, which fly incessantly over the plantations while they are captured. Doñana is also worth visiting in summer, because it always offers a beautiful experience in a wild nature rich in species.

Doñana is also worth visiting in summer, because it always offers a beautiful experience in a wild nature rich in species.

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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