Marshland in Huelva: a journey to the home of bird life
There is a scent of salt and a sea breeze. Your feet sink into the sand. Just enough for you to leave a track and feel part of the surroundings. In the air, a flock of birds takes flight. On the ground, majestic flamingos adorn the marshes with their spectacular colour. Free your senses and look around you. You are in Huelva. You are in the heart of nature. The birds' chosen destination.
The province of Huelva is in the Region of Andalusia, southern Spain. It is washed by the waters of the Atlantic, home to the mouth of the Guadalquivir River and to one of Spain's most beautiful national parks: the Doñana National Park, which has the UNESCO World Heritage designation. At the mouths of two further rivers that reach the sea in Huelva you can find the Odiel Marshes Biosphere Reserve. Two stunningly beautiful areas of countryside, chosen by some 200,000 birds to spend the winter.
This trip is ideal for bird watching, but also to enjoy stunning sunsets, the morning dew and the transformation of the marshes. In winter, they are made up of beautiful lakes, a haven for many different birds. In summer, a broad clayey plain, cracked by the hot, dry weather. In spring, they become a fertile, green blanket that many water birds use to nest. In each season you will find a very different marsh.
Doñana National Park
The Doñana National Park offers many different options for you to discover it. Many companies work with the Park to organise a full range of services for tourists. You can explore it on river routes, in 4x4 vehicles, hiking or by bike. This is ideal to discover the different areas that comprise the Park: the dunes, the reserves and the marshes. On your visit you will have the chance to see a host of animals such as the Iberian lynx, an endangered species, horses, everyday visitors to the marshland, and golden eagles.
If you like bird watching, you will love Doñana National Park. If you are new to this sport, you can try it at the Park with the bird watching workshops organised there. This is an unbeatable opportunity to do so. There are moments, especially in spring, when the park is temporary home to half a million birds. They include species like the purple heron, stork, heron, little egret, whiskered tern...
Odiel Marshes Nature Reserve
It is located in the basins of the Odiel and Tinto rivers, around the town of Punta Umbría. We recommend you explore it on a boat trip taking in the estuaries that form the marshes. You will be able to enjoy a moment of peace and tranquillity, practically alone, in the spot chosen by a huge population of birds, including species such as the flamingo, spoonbill, heron and stork.
What is more, this marshland is one of Europe's most productive, with traditional activities like shellfish collecting and salt production still taking place. Why not see for yourself? Come and see the salt mines and the Salthish archaeological site on Saltés Island. At the reserve's visitor centre they will help you design your route. You can extend your trip with a visit to the marshes in Isla Cristina.
Marshes are unspoilt areas of countryside, and you can confirm this by just being quiet for a moment. You will begin to hear more and more sounds; your skin is cooled by the breeze; you will make out more and more birds and you will notice the scent of the sea nearby. Relaxed? This is how the animals that live on the marshes feel. Fancy some time out there with them?
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