Brazo del Este Natural Area
The Brazo del Este is located 20 km south of Seville in the Guadalquivir river estuary, which is an area with one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the Iberian peninsula. This former branch (brazo) of the Guadalquivir is east (este) of the river and is now a reed-fringed lagoon and wetland area surrounded by rice plains and farmland.
It is an outstanding ornithological site, where over 230 species of birds have been recorded. It is noteworthy for its high numbers of waterfowl especially in winter, while in times of drought birds from the nearby Doñana National Park flock here.
Within the protected area is Isla Menor, an island created when the Brazo del Este became cut off from the Guadalquivir river.
Exit 2 (Los Palacios de Villafranca) or Exit 3 (Las Cabezas de San Juan) from the A4 Sevilla to Cádiz motorway provide access to the area, which is situated west of the A4. A system of dirt tracks cover the area.
The vegetation comprises mainly reedbeds, rushes and reedmace, which fringe the lagoon. The area is surrounded by fields of rice paddies, a source of food for birds, and other crops.
Bitterns, glossy ibises, egrets, spoonbills and purple, night and squacco herons are among the most plentiful species here. Purple gallinules are especially visible, while in the winter months there are numerous waterfowl. In the reedbeds are great reed warblers and Savi's warblers. Around the border of the wetland are little crakes and spotted crakes. The rare red-knobbed coot breeds here.