Laguna del Conde o Salobral Natural Area
The 89ha shallow, seasonal Laguna del Conde is part of a group of lakes and wetlands dotted around southern Cordoba province called the Lagunas or Zonas Húmedas del Sur. These lakes are the principal breeding site of the white-headed duck and are rich in birdlife, especially during winter and migration periods. During the summer months there may considerably less to see, since the lake usually dries up.
It is one of six wetland sites in southern Cordoba, all of them natural reserves. The others are: Laguna de Zóñar, Laguna del Conde, Laguna de Tíscar, Laguna de los Jarales, Laguna Amarga and Laguna de Rincon.
The Centro de Visitantes Zóñar is at the Zonar Lagoon reserve and has information on all the lakes so is a good place visit first. It is located on the A-304 just south of Aguilar de la Frontera. Leave the A-304 at the roundabout at km 4.3 and follow signes for Zoñar lagoon on the old road. Tel: 957 335 252. It has a car park, bird hides and information on the lake. There are also two trails around the Zonar reserve, the Sendero Botánico La Carrizosa and the Sendero del Observatorio, both at the visitors' centre.
The Laguna del Conde is also known as the Laguna Salobral, or Salty Lake, a reference to its saline water.
From Cordoba take the A-432 south to Luque. About 2km after the A-318 turn-off for Luque look out for CO-6204 (was CP-104) on the left hand side towards Albendín. You can also walk or cycle from Luque to the lake along a 5 km-long stretch of the Vía Verde of the Subbética, a route along a converted railway line.
The Laguna del Conde has halophytic vegetation, such as glasswort, which is characteristic of saltwater lakes such as this one. There are also a few areas of tamarisk. Around the reserve are fields of cereal cultivation.
Winter is the time with most birds. Ducks such as shovellers, pochards, wigeons and shelducks are here then, as well as flamingos, grey herons, black-winged stilts and avocets. In the cereal fields are little bustards.