Donana National Park's significance was recognised with its classification by UNESCO as a "Biosphere Reserve". Imperial Eagles breed here and a small population of the Spanish Linx also survives. DoŇana is closed to the public and is only used for scientific purposes. However, it is possible to make a 70-kilometre trip in resilient buses and four-wheel-drive vehicles. Arranged by a private company, the trips can be booked a day before at the Acebuche reception. This is a good place to start to explore the park and provides an excellent glimpse of the different habitats. Even though it is not really a bird-watching trip, and you are driven around for four hours with only a few stops, it is well worth it.

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Interesting sites for bird-watchers are best visited on foot. Even though Donana is closed to the public, the surroundings give you plenty of opportunities to see numerous species.

The Village of El Rocio, situated at one of the best birdwatching bays of Spain

The bridge of El Rocio.

Some say it's one of the best sites in Europe. A sub-reception is located at the bridge and several good hides overviewing a part of the river offer you the chance of exploring this part of the park on foot. Purple Coot can be easily seen in the reed beds, as can various Herons, including the Purple Heron, Cattle Egret and Squacco Heron. It is often over-flown by Raptors such as Short-toed Eagles, Honey Buzzards, Buzzard and Marsh Harrier. Both Kites are abundant here and sometimes an Imperial Eagle passes by (DoŇana is one of the few places where they breed). Just 16 pairs are present here - and everything possible is done to prevent them from becoming extinct.

Centro del Acebuche

The Centro del Acebuche is also a good site, with the main reception located here. On sale are books and different items related to DoŇana and bird-watching. There is also a small exhibition room and you can walk through hides overlooking another part of the marsh. The reed beds hold Purple Gallinules, Purple Herons, Little Bittern and Raptors. Night Herons and Egrets breed in the marsh trees; during evenings the trees are full of them. Always present are flocks of the Azure-winged Magpie, which often feed on bread left behind by visitors. Smaller birds should not be overlooked, and the Spectacled Warbler is one that breeds here.

Always present at centro del Acebuche,flocks of Azure winged magpie. Where they often feed at the pieces of bread left behind by visitors. Smaller birds must not be overlooked here. Spectacled warblers breed.

Recepcion de Cerrado Garido

The Cerrado Garido reception is a difficult place to find. Go to Almonte or ask for a map at Centro del Acebuche. It's an excellent place in the middle of what is known as Marismas - flooded marshes that make Donana so famous. Thousands of Waders and Terns are present and the Imperial Eagle can also be seen here. The reception provides telescopes for free (fixed to the ground) and offers an interesting exposition on the history of Donana. Calendra Lark and Short-toed and Lesser short- toed Lark can be seen in the fields opposite the reception and sometimes the fields feature numerous Pin-tailed Sandgrouses. Walks are possible in the marshes - where everything can turn up. After turning right when reaching the reception (see map), you pass marshes containing numerous Waders and Ducks in migration periods, then reach the boundaries of the park itself - where the woods start. These are over-flown constantly by Raptors, including the Imperial Eagle.


Stork nests

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