The birding tour of Doñana
We are honoured to lead birdwatching tours to Doñana, widely considered the most important bird hotspot in Spain. Due to its strategic location between the continents of Europe and Africa and its proximity to the Strait of Gibraltar, Doñana's large expanse of salt marsh is a breeding ground as well as a transit point for thousands of European and African birds (aquatic and terrestrial), and hosts many species of migratory waterfowl during the winter. With over 260 different species of birds annually, birding in Doñana is a must for those birders visiting Spain. Doñana is so big, that we have designed a few itineraries on each day of our tours. In this way, we can explore very different areas (rice fields, lagoons, marshes, plains, scrub, forests, shore) and maximize our wildlife encounters.
BIRDING SITES WITHIN DOÑANA
One of our first places we may go birding is the Dehesa de Abajo nature reserve, which provide great views of White Stork, Black Kites and Bee-eaters in spring and summer. The village of El Rocío offers one of the most typical pictures of Doñana, starred by the flamingos and the hermitage of El Rocío.
The visitor centre José Antonio Valverde is one of our common stopovers while birding to have a snack or coffee. The surroundings are one of the best places to find elusive birds in the area, which is by the border between the Natural and the National Parks.
The left -Southeastern- bank of the Guadalquivir river in the vecinity of Seville city is known as the Brazo del Este (Spanish for Eastern branch). It is a great site for Squacco Heron and Black Stork and a great choice to scour the rice fields around. The equivalent on the other shore is known by locals as Entremuros, another incredible site on the Natural Park, where we can find Cranes, Spanish Sparrow and Black-crowned night Heron.
Right close to El Rocío there is La Rocina visitor centre, another important bird hotspot that offers a few bird hides. Further on we find the Palacio del Acebrón, a great place to take a stroll along its bosky paths in the search of forest birds. The surroundings shores of Matalascañas offer some sand dunes of a extreme beauty and the possibility to see the most representative mediterranean gull: the Audouin's gull.
Please be aware that the restricted areas in Doñana are vast and just one company operating big busses have the permission to enter it. Extended information on Doñana National Park can be found here.
WHAT IT IS INCLUDED
- Transportation is on a courtesy basis
- Local Bird guide: Álvaro Peral
- Use of binoculars and scope
- Birdguides in English
- Bird checklist
- All taxes
WHAT IT IS EXCLUDED
- Meals and drinks
- If you prefer direct pick up and drop-off outside either the Sevilla or El Rocío radius of 20 km, AN EXTRA FEE WILL BE APPLIED
Rates for one guest:
Two-day guided trip: 350 €
Three-day guided trip: 500 €
Four-day guided trip: 650 €
Five-day guided trip: 800 €
* Longer tours including the Odiel marshes, the Aracena mountains and the Algarve (Southern Portugal) can be arranged upon request
Rates for two guests:
Two-day guided trip: 180 € p.p.
Three-day guided trip: 270 € p.p.
Four-day guided trip: 350 € p.p.
Five-day guided trip: 420 € p.p.
Rates for three guests:
Two-day guided trip: 140 € p.p.
Three-day guided trip: 190 € p.p.
Four-day guided trip: 250 € p.p.
Five-day guided trip: 300 € p.p.
* Larger groups by prior arrangement
BEST TIME TO VISIT DOÑANA NAT PARK
Doñana in Spring
The spring is widely accepted as the best time to go birding in Spain. It is then when most of the summer visitors and residents will be very active. The landscape would simply look great and the fields covered with green and wild flowers. If you ask us, our favourite month in Doñana is April.
Doñana in Summer
Summer can be also great for bird counters. Although it will be generally too warm, summer offers great birding opportunities during early mornig (from dawn till 11) and also before dusk (from 7pm till 10pm). It is the best time of the year to see and hear more specific birds such as Red-necked Nightjar, Golden Oriole, etc. Early summer would be better.
Doñana in Autumn
Autumn can be interesting because the weather would allow longer birding ventures. Although the area would probably be more dry than any other time of the year, late August and September can produce some interesting sights on passage. We would recommned the end of the season.
Doñana in Winter
It is in winter when Doñana homes massive numbers of central and northern Europe birds that stay here during the coldest days of the year. Between 300,000 and 400,000 birds settle within Doñana every winter, which leads to great birding opportunities then, with the addition of a wide variety of waterfowl, passerines and wintering raptors that can be seen in great numbers. All the winter period will produce great bird watching holidays in Doñana.
TOP BIRDS IN YOUR DOÑANA CHECKLIST
Within Doñana National and Natural Park we can find around 260 species of birds throughout the year. This is exlcliuding the rare sights. Our standard bird list of Southern Spain would be perfect when birding in Doñana. From a practical point of view, we list below the main birds that from our experience will provide more satisfactioin to our guests. Please note that the birds in bold are difficult and real crackers!
Residents: Glossy Ibis, Spoonbill, Cattle Egret, Night Heron, Flamingo, Squacco Heron, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Red-crested Pochard, Hoopoe, Red-knobbed Coot, Stone Curlew, Spanish Sparrow, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, White-headed Duck, Marbled Duck, Bittern.
Winter birds: Greylag Goose, Pintail, Shoveler, Wigeon, Great Egret, Osprey, Hen Harrier, Short-eared Owl, Crane, Black-tailed Godwit, Black Stork.
Summer birds: Purple Heron, Bee-eater, Short-toed Lark, Little Bittern, Gull-billed Tern, Short-toed Eagle, Black Tern, Collared Pratincole, Roller, Isabelline Warbler, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin.
On passage: many other birds can occasionally been seen on passage.
Based in the Costa del Sol? Arriving from Malaga airport? Send us an email and we will help you find out the best way to arrive!
If you have a car and you only need a guide and optical material, we can also arrange those services. Please contact us.