Doñana & winter wetlands

in Andalusia

Wildlife watching
Expert Nature Guide
Wildlife watching
Expert Nature Guide

Natural parks

Doñana, Fuente de Piedras, Sierra Morena

Seasons

February

À la carte

7 days sampling wetlands

Las Marismas de La Madre en El Rocío. Doñana National Park

– Birds and fairy schrimps

– Doñana National Park

– Nocturnal walk for amphibians

Region

Spain/ Andalusia

Meeting point

Seville

Specialized service

Small parties

The lagoons, marshes and ponds are at their highest level and will start to dry out over time until the vast majority dries up in late spring.

The wintering waterbirds are plethora and colonize the smallest water points and, obviously, sites of international importance such as Doñana, Laguna Fuente de Piedra and others.

Study in the field wetland’s biodiversity

They are not alone! 16 species of amphibians -10 Iberian endemics- populate Andalusian ponds and temporary streams. Just as extraordinary and much less well known, branquiopods (Tadpole shrimps, Fairy schrimps and Clam schrimps) are obligate inhabitants of temporary waters and are not uncommon in the region.

Other more generalist aquatic invertebrates accompany them. It is not uncommon to observe late in the season dragonflies (Sympetrum striolatum) or migratory dragonflies (Anax ephippiger). Some very specialized species of aquatic ferns complete this picture of the fauna and the flora subservient to Mediterranean aquatic ecosystems.

Rambling through the vast expanses of Andalusia to observe the fauna living in its wetlands of international importance is exhilarating for the naturalist.

Birdwatching at Doñana, one of the top European wetland, is allways rewarding

at the famous Doñana National Park and Andalusian lagoons

The lagoons, marshes and ponds are at their highest level and will start to dry out over time until the vast majority dries up in late spring.

The wintering waterbirds are plethora and colonize the smallest water points and, obviously, sites of international importance such as Doñana, Laguna Fuente de Piedra and others.

Study in the field wetland’s biodiversity

Birdwatching at Doñana, one of the top European wetland, is allways rewarding

They are not alone! 16 species of amphibians -10 Iberian endemics- populate Andalusian ponds and temporary streams. Just as extraordinary and much less well known, branquiopods (Tadpole shrimps, Fairy schrimps and Clam schrimps) are obligate inhabitants of temporary waters and are not uncommon in the region.

at the famous Doñana National Park and Andalusian lagoons

Other more generalist aquatic invertebrates accompany them. It is not uncommon to observe late in the season dragonflies (Sympetrum striolatum) or migratory dragonflies (Anax ephippiger). Some very specialized species of aquatic ferns complete this picture of the fauna and the flora subservient to Mediterranean aquatic ecosystems.

Rambling through the vast expanses of Andalusia to observe the fauna living in its wetlands of international importance is exhilarating for the naturalist.

Travel schedule “Doñana & winter wetlands in Andalusia”

 

Torre Sevilla
DAY 1 | Transfer from airport - Seville

We will meet in Seville, Andalusia’s largest town, full of clichés, vibrant and busy. Wintering Lesser kestrels can be spotted while walking in direction of municipal gardens (María Luisa, El Alamillo) where more birdlife is expected. We will spend two nights here to enjoy its typical Andalusian ambience.

Photo: David Saldaña Arce.
DAY 2 | Brazo del Este and temporary ponds

South of the city, the river Guadalquivir creates a vast complex of wetlands (Doñana). On the left bank, lie some of the most interesting localities although much less visited than El Rocio. Firstly, we will visit the most diverse temporary ponds for Large Branquiopods (Fairy shrimps, Tadpole shrimps and Clam shrimps) in Andalusia. Later, birdwatching at Parque Natural del Brazo del Este will provide a handful of water birds and waders.

Fleuve Guadalquivir et Mosquée-Cathédrale de Cordoue
DAY 3 | Guadalquivir valley lagoons and Cordoba

Day dedicated to explore one the largest European farming range, punctuated by wetlands (Osuna, Lentejuela, Fuente de Piedra, among others), an area where to sight both aquatic and steppe birds. We will reach the city of Cordoba in the afternoon, where we will spend three nights and visit the urban heronry at Sotos de la Albolafia. Winter is the best moment to sight otters at this place.

Echantillonage d'invertébrés aquatiques d'une mare temporarire méditerranéeenne
DAY 4 |Sierra Morena amphibians

Day dedicated to amphibians and their habitats (up to 9 species). We will visit ponds around Córdoba in the morning and early afternoon, and come back early for a break. Later, from 20:00 – 23:00, a nocturnal excursion will focus on detecting adults at their breeding sites. Sierra Morena Fire Salamanders are astonishing with their unusual pattern of coloration.

Common cranes (Grus grus) gathering ain Andalusia
DAY 5 | A flavour of Extremadura

We head north up to the Important Bird Area Alto Guadiato (at the border with Extremadura), where we will search for flocks of Common Cranes and Great Bustards and sample new ponds in order to complete our invertebrates / fairy shrimps survey. On the way back to Córdoba, we will not miss the cranes arrival at their roost (Sierra Boyera reservoir), an unforgettable experience.

Marais a El Rocio ('Marismas de La Madre')
DAY 6 | Back to Doñana, El Rocío

The morning will be free, either to rest from the intense previous days, either to hike along the river Guadalquivir and/or to walk around the old town and maybe to visit the famous Mosque-Cathedral monument. In the afternoon we will travel to the most prestigious Spanish wetland: Doñana. We will drive at El Rocio, the iconic village. We will rest two nights at a superb hotel with traditional thatched roof.

Photo: David Saldaña Arce.
DAY 7 | Classic birdwatching in Doñana

Doñana Norte. Visit of classic bird sites: Dehesa Abajo, Observatorio Valverde, Guadiamar.

Fougère d'eau pubescent (Marsilea strigosa)
DAY 8 | Transfer to the airport

Alas this wonderfull travel has just finished. We head to the airport in the morning in order to come home.

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INCLUDE

  • A wildlife watching travel lead by local nature guide. Groups 5-8 people.
  • Half board (picnics by the participants).
  • Double rooms (single room supplement).
  • Does not include round-trip flights by plane.

Bonus

The discovery of Seville and Cordoba, two historic cities with a rich artistic heritage and surprising urban biodiversity. Additionally we will stay two nights under a traditional thatched roof. We will visit one of the prime habitat for Great Bustards.

Aquatic ecosystems and Ecosystèmes et espèces aquatiques à découvrir en hiver en Andalousie