Spain

230 species spotted by the ZEISS team

How many species can be recorded during a 24h race inside the WP? At the end of 90’s and beginning of this century, scores were increasing, especially in countries like Finland, France and Estonia. In the latter country the European record was set up by a Finnish team, composed by Mika Bruun, Sampsa Cairenius, Jukka Hatva and Jan Nordblad on 25th May 1998 with a total a 190 species. After these scores, the Tramuntana Birding Team won the Spanish bird race organized by SEO/BirdLife, several time arriving for first time at 200 species in 2004, then 202 species in 2005, 204 species in 2006 and 217 species in the race of 2007. This was the absolute best European record for the last ten years.

They offer detailed information of their races at their blog (www.tbt.cat), where many pictures and the chronicle of each marathon for every year is available from that Catalan team, composed by Jordi Sargatal, Oriol Clarabuch, Deli Saavedra, Aleix Comas, Ponç Feliu and Joan Carles Gimisó. This high diversity of species recorded during spring migration is possible in Europe because in NE Spain a wide array of habitats and altitudes are present, from the sea and coastal wetlands to high mountains with alpine pastures, and steppes and different types of forests, allowing to find more than 200 species during a whole day.

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Created in 1969, today the national park covers 50,720 ha and is the largest nature reserve in Western Europe. The diversity in biotopes is as varied as Doñana is large. Secluded beaches, huge flood plains, lagoons, wandering dunes, extensive forests of pine and spruce, and expansive heaths make it a safe place for migratory birds to rest and spend the winter. It is a unique breeding ground for endangered birds such as marbled ducks, white-headed ducks and rare mammals like the Iberian lynx.

People are only granted access to a very few areas in the national park. One of the finest experiences is to go on one of the rare four to seven-hour-long jeep tours of the park. These tours start from the El Acebuche visitor centre. From here you can start to explore the park's open countryside and small lagoons on short trails.

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