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.
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
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.The 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.
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?We 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.
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.These are sand dune cliffs that line the length of the beach, as far as we can see, and our version of a ‘selfie’.
All too soon the sun begins to set so we head back to the car along this boardwalk through yet more sand dunes. We 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.