Saturday, 20 February 2016

Spain 2016 - Donana and Palacio del Acebron

Not far down the road from El Rocio we drove through the gates into Danana which is a huge nature reserve. We drove for a while through a sandy, pine forest and then came to a parking lot and a sign for a palace. Well we had to investigate.
The gates and driveway to the Palacio del Acebron
We walked up the driveway.
It's quite impressive.
Nicola wanted her picture taken with the rather weather worn lion.
The door was locked but, according to the sign, it should be open in about 10 minutes so we wandered down to a path and pond that we could see from the palace.

Glossy Ibis roosting in bushes on the other side of the pond.
There were also a flock of Night Herons in the same area, all with their heads tucked down, facing away from us so their 2 white head feathers showed.
Mum decided to walk back to the car to keep Dad company and Nicola and I went into the palace, when it was opened up. It was not actually a palace but a hunting lodge. There are a number of them in Donana as the area was originally used by the large landowners, for hunting parties. This one was completed in 1967 but was fashioned to look much older.
The dining room with its huge table. We could just imagine the huge parties.
A party painted on the ceiling.
There were displays and information about the original inhabitants of the area, the wealthy land owners, the farmers who leased the land and the various ways they made a living; salt, farming, bee keeping, fishing, charcoal making, poaching.
A stuffed Lynx. There are still supposed to be wild Lynx in the park but they are pretty rare.
Another painted ceiling.
There were stairs up onto the roof and great views across the parks canopy of pines.
While we were up there we saw 5 birds up high, circling. We were able to get a pretty good look at them in the binoculars and have since identified them as Griffon Vultures.
Nicky, up ahead, walking back out the driveway.

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