Lebrija-Las Cabezas Natural Reserve
A total of six lakes make up this 949ha reserve: Pilón, Taraje, Cigarrera, Peña, Galiana and Charroao, in order of size with Pilón being the largest. The Laguna del Taraje is the only lake with water in all year round. These six lakes are the only ones left of a much bigger series of lakes that used to occupy this area around the Seville/Cadiz provincial border, which have dried up due to increasing irrigation for agricultural activities.
Ornithologically, it is a significant wetland reserve as an alternative habitat for breeding and migrating birds in the neighbouring Guadalquivir delta, as well as similar areas in Cadiz province like the Espera Natural Reserve and, in Huelva province, the Doñana National Park.
Head south of Seville on the A4 Cadiz motorway and take exit 3. The lakes are south of Las Cabezas de San Juan; two are located close to the left-hand side of the Las Cabezas-Espera road and the other four are just off the Las Cabezas-Gibalbín road.
The vegetation is typical of wetland areas, with reeds, rushes and tamarisk (hence the name given to one lake, Laguna del Taraje). The reserve is mainly surrounded by farmland, but there are a few remaining areas of Mediterranean scrubland.
The reserve has a few rare species of bird like the red-knobbed coot and white-headed duck The most common species are coots, purple herons, mallards and cattle egrets. Also here are great white egrets, marsh harriers, black-winged stilts, snipe (abundant in Doñana in winter), tufted ducks, purple gallinules, shovelers, hoopoes and bee-eaters.
In the Mediterranean scrubland are mammals like badgers and genets, as well as raptors.