Laguna de los Jarales Natural Reserve
The Laguna de los Jarales is a saline lake located southwest of Lucena. The reserve covers 122ha and is noteworthy for its variety of aquatic habitats, as well as being an important breeding and overwintering site for wildfowl. Although it is a seasonal lake, in periods of high rainfall it sometimes contains water all year round.
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.
Take the A-45 or N-331 south of Lucena and turn right towards Benamejí. From the Benameji take the A-3228 north and the lake is after 4km on the right hand side.
Laguna de los Jarales is surrounded by a dense band of tamarisks (tamarisk canariensis, t.africana), interspersed with occasional stands of the halophytic rush juncus maritimus and reeds (phragmites australis). On the northern shore is the spiny rush (juncus acutus) and roundhead bulrush (scirpus holoschoenus).
There is extensive underwater vegetation like strawberry stonewort (chara fragifera).
The lake is surrounded by olive groves.
The lake attracts many ducks in winter, as well as coots, mallards and moor hens all year round. In the autumn you can usually see waders. There is also a significant population of frogs and toads here.