Laguna de Medina Natural Park
This is the most important reserve of the lagunas (lagoons) close to the Bahía de Cádiz. Like the other lakes in the area (the Complejo Endorreico de Chiclana, Complejo Endorreico de Espera, Complejo Endorreico de Puerto Real, Complejo Endorreico de El Puerto de Santa María and Las Lagunas de Las Canteras y El Tejón), the freshwater Laguna de Medina is an important site for overwintering waterfowl and as a breeding ground for birds such as the white-headed duck and purple gallinule.
The lake covers 121ha, while there is an additional 254ha surrounding protected area. In times of drought the lake may dry up completely.
The lake is about 15km southeast of Jerez de la Frontera. Take the A381 from Jerez towards Medina Sidonia and the Laguna de Medina is on the left-hand side of the road at Km 10. It is well signposted and there is a car park. Around the lake is a bird hide and a signposted footpath inside the southern part of the reserve. The northern part is privately owned and is not accessible.
The lake is fringed with reeds, reedmace and rushes. On the northwestern edge is a stand of tamarisk. Around the lake are patches scrubland with lentisc, rockroses and dwarf fan palms, interspersed with cereal plantations. The reserve has many wildflowers and orchids in spring.
Winter is a good time to visit, when there are large flocks of waterfowl including some rare species like the marbled and ferruginous duck and crested coots. Breeding birds include white-headed ducks and reed warblers. There are raptors like marsh and Montagu's harriers, common buzzards and red kites.
The lake shores are popular with a variety of waders, including curlew sandpipers and little stints, particularly in migration periods and in late summer in dry years when water levels in the lake have fallen. Also around this time are large flocks of coots.
There are many butterflies and dragonflies. In the scrubland area are mongoose.