"Next to a parched wild olive tree..."

The Ermita environment is a unique place in Europe for the reproduction and survival of a large number of species.


All the brotherhoods passing through Doñana know that there are times when our roads are modified for nesting or breeding of endangered species. There are different threat categories, such as Extinguished (EX), Endangered (EN), Vulnerable(VU), and those species that do not fall into any of the above categories but are subject to a Special Protection Regime. All species that are in the categories of Extinct, Endangered or Vulnerable are the ones that make up the Andalusian Catalogue of Endangered Species.

Doñana is the largest nature reserve in Europe and is known worldwide for its biodiversity, this environment is home to more than 500 vertebrate species, among which birds stand out, due to their number and population density. Doñana is a unique space in Europe for the reproduction and survival of a large number of bird species.

Photograph: Antonio Ramos

At certain times of the year, especially in spring, we have to live with the restrictions caused by some modifications to our roads. There are numerous birds, mammals and reptiles that we can observe, however, we have to be especially careful with emblematic species such as the Iberian Lynx (Lynx pardinus) (EN), the red kite (Milvus milvus)(EN), the iberian imperial eagle (Aquila adalberti) (EN), that need peace and quiet during their breeding periods.

Iberian Lynx
Imperial Eagle

Another species in need of special protection is the European honey bee-eater (Merops apiaster) which burrows their nests in sand slopes (such as roadsides, stingrays and firebreaks) and do so by forming colonies (groups of nests). The breeding season is late spring and early summer, it is a species that comes from Africa to breed in our fields. It is important to be careful if we coincide with a colony and not to deposit anything or cover these holes, as eggs or chicks may be inside.

Mora Turtle

On our walk we may also encounter black turtles(Testudo graeca) (EN), we must act as with any wildlife we see, observe them without disturbing and continue on our way. In the event that they are in a deep vehicle rut, we can help them to get out of it, to avoid the danger of being run over unintentionally.

Abejaruco en su nido

General Recommendations

It is important not to leave leftover food on our trails as this alters the feeding of wild animals. Nothingis biodegradable within hours, which is how long it can take for the fox(Vulpes vulpes), the black kite ( Milvus migrans), the white stork(Ciconia ciconia), the gulls (Laridae) or the wild boar(Sus scrofa) in detecting the remains and “exploiting” them. These animals, which we call “opportunists”, because they eat everything, will get used to frequenting the areas where people pass by and will displace the rest of the species, more “specialists”, which normally have more problems to survive. Such as the Iberian lynx(Lynx pardinus) or the red kite(Milvus milvus).

We should know that burying excrement accelerates its decomposition. In addition, it prevents animals or humans from coming into contact with them, spreading their microorganisms. Regarding toilet paper, wipes and personal hygiene products, it is best to bring them back. You can carry some pipican type bags. They are inexpensive, take up very little space, and are perfect for this function. This way we can throw it away with the rest of our daily garbage. – Don’t even think of burning the paper. It is a great danger and cause of forest fires.

We assume that the privilege we have to cross Doñana on all four sides, is returned treating with due respect to our environment and the rest of rocieros and people with whom we share Doñana.

"And the shadows lengthened..."

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