Doñana National Park

Monday, November 9th

We tried to book a guided tour to visit Parque Nacional de Doñana, along the coast south of Seville, which is one of Europe’s greatest wetlands.  It includes 50,000 hectares of marshes and sand dunes, which are home to thousands of migratory birds in the winter months. The tour company does not operate without a minimum of four passengers, and we are the only two, so we decided to visit the park on our own.  This turned out very well and we had a relaxing day, even though we didn’t see many birds.

Along the road to the park we pass acre after acre of these domed greenhouses. We aren’t sure what they are growing but they cover field after field sometimes as far as we can see in all directions!image

We also see lots of these coniferous trees.  They have been planted in rows and the bottom branches have been pruned as they grow, yet they don’t seem to be a tree that would provide lots of lumber.  I was not  sure about these either, but I love the rounded shape of the top of them.  After a little research I now know these are Stone Pines, they are grown for their pine nuts and in some areas they have become naturalized.   For more information see https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stone_pine  image

First stop is the Palacio Del Acebrón which was built in the 1960’s. The land around the Palacio was cleared, planted with Eucalyptus trees, gardens, paths and trails were built and a huge pond was dredged and lined so that plants would not fill it in.imageThe building is now an interpretation centre, and we get there in time for a visit before it closes at two.  These long Spanish lunch hours make it difficult to plan our day.  Seems things are always closed when we are out and about and then opening again when we are ready to head home!  Bob is checking out one of the displays.image

We go for a hike through along a little river and through some of the grounds.  What would a holiday be without at least one tree hugging picture?imageWe hiked along another trail to some bird blinds but only saw a few ducks in the distance.  We decide that the migratory birds either have not arrived yet, or it is too early in the day for viewing so we head for the ocean and the sand dunes. We walk a long ways down this beach, and I gather a few sea shells as souvenirs.
image

We also see this victim of a discarded fishing line.  If you look closely you may make it out wrapped around this bird’s neck.  We saw quite a lot of plastic debris washed up this beach.imageThese are sand dune cliffs that line the length of the beach, as far as we can see, and our version of a ‘selfie’.image

All too soon the sun begins to set so we head back to the car along this boardwalk through yet more sand dunes.image imageWe get to our car just as the sun sets.  We didn’t see many of the birds that this park is famous for, but it was still a very enjoyable day.image

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