South-west of Toledo, in Castilla-La Mancha, lie 40,000 hectares of wild Mediterranean forest and grassy plains – the National Park of Cabañeros, an area so abundant in wildlife that it is sometimes known as the “Spanish Serengeti”. The park is home to a variety of mammals including deer, wildboar, martens, foxes and otters, as well as several rare species of bird: the black stork, the Eurasian black vulture, and the endangered Spanish imperial eagle.
These images by nature photographer Jorge Sierra beautifully capture Cabañeros’s dizzying array of fauna. Jorge’s visit coincided with the berrea de ciervos – the deer mating season, when from September to October, the sound of clashing antlers, and the haunting bellows of male deer in heat, mark the arrival of autumn.
“Cabañeros can be tricky to explore on your own”, says Jorge, “but there are some trails in the north that are open to the public. I was able to get permission to spend 10 days inside the park with my vehicle, which gave me lots of freedom. My favourite shot is the one of two deer with the sun rising behind them. It was taken from my vehicle and it took a long time to get right, with lots of moving back and forward to achieve the right framing. In general the wildlife in Spain is still very wary of humans, and getting close to the animals without startling them requires a lot of time spent patiently waiting in hides.”
The images form part of Jorge’s ongoing project to visit and photograph all of Spain’s natural parks and spaces. “There are over 1500 in Spain”, he says, “of many different types and sizes, so documenting them all is a huge task, and I have still have plenty more left to visit in the coming years.” You can see more photos from Jorge’s trip to Cabañeros and keep up with all his latest work on his website: www.jorgesierrafoto.com
All images © Jorge Sierra