Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Footprints in the sand

Moving away from the marsh, towards the Atlantic coast the landscape of Doñana changes abruptly into a tangle of Mediterranean shrubs with scattered cork oak trees

Above: pajarera with Spoonbills and other waterbirds giving way to shrubland 

This place is a favourite for Wild Boars (above and below) which can hide in the tall vegetation and dig for roots at leisure

Black Kites hunt from perches (above) while passing Bee-eaters sweep the air for insects (below)

Herds of Fallow Deer graze in the safety of cover

Towards the coast shifting sand dunes begin to take over between the flowering Halimium

Stone Pines cope best with the shifting sand and replace the oak trees

But the sand wins in the end, surrounding the pines into traps known here as Corrales

...and eventually the pines succumb. This photograph shows the crown of the tree. The rest is under the sand, yet the tree clings on for life

death on the mobile dune

"between the devil and the deep blue sea" - pine wood with killer dunes in front and the Atlantic behind

but there is life here, even though it may not be obvious. Hares leave their footprints in the sand

that keeps the raptors interested, soaring high above the ground in search of prey. Black Kite and Booted Eagle (above), Red Kite and Short-toed Eagle (below), Buzzard (lowest)

where the water table is high temporary pools and bogs form (above) and in more permanent situations they become seasonal lakes (below)

...and the footprints in the sand give away a hidden presence: ducks, herons, stone curlews, deer and boar have all passed through here earlier in the day

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