2 Images of Donana National Park
The Parque National de Doñana, sitting in the middle of the Costa de la Luz in western Andalucia, is the last great lowland wilderness in southern Europe (possibly having Europes highest density of sea birds) and is the largest National Park in Spain. The park, and the surrounding buffer zone known as the Entorno de Doñana amount to over 1,300 sq Km and encompasses three distinct ecosystems -
The whole area was a large delta of the Rio Guadalquivir, the great river that runs westward across much of inland Andalucia. However the normal delta patern of a river dividing into many smaller ones before entering the sea has been changed by the formation of a large sand bar, which the predominant winds of this coastline have slowly built into high dunes, capable of moving upto 5Km in a year.
The scrubland is home to deer, wild boar, the Iberian Lynx and the Spanish Imperial Eagle which, sadly is down to less than 20 breeding pairs.
The salt marshes provide perfect conditions in the winter for geese, flamingos, herons and ducks but in spring attracts a large number of breeding birds. Other birds to be found on the salt marshes or in the cork oaks include turtle doves, ring doves partridges, oxpeckers, cattle egret, storks, grey herons, lanner falcons and vultures.
The park is fenced and access is strictly controlled with much of the park being off-limits to independent walkers but there are paths with hides and guided tours allowing you to study the wildlife.
The main entrance and visitor centre is located in the western corner, near Matalascañas.
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