Laguna Grande Natural Area
The largest lake in Jaen province, the saltwater Laguna Grande and its surrounding protected area covers 206ha. An irrigation channel links it to the Torres river, which maintains its water at a constant level all year.
There is a signposted walk around the lake area. The Spanish Ornithological Society has a bird hide here and can provide information on birds in the reserve.
From Jaen take the A316 towards Baeza. About 40km from Jaen, just before the village of Puente del Obispo, is the lake on the left-hand side of the road.
The lake vegetation is typical of a wetland area: at the water's edge are reedmace, reedbeds, tamarisk and rushes, while beyond these are poplars, ashes and acacias. The lake is surrounded by olive groves, which provide a habitat for many birds in winter and during migration periods.
The lake is home to a significant bird population, with 128 species being recorded at this site. Waterfowl are the most numerous and include pochards, teals, little grebes, shovelers, mallards and gadwalls. Moorhens, herons and little ringed plovers breed here. There are also many cattle egrets, coots, little bitterns, black-winged stilts, purple gallinules and night, purple and grey herons. Over 700 great cormorants have been registered here.
Raptors include marsh harriers, common buzzards, red kites, kestels and booted eagles, as well as Scops, little and eagle owls.
In the olive groves are robins, blackcaps, Sardinian warblers, thrushes, goldfinches, great tits and blackbirds.
Mammals inhabiting the area are badgers and genets.