Utrera Natural Reserve
Utrera Natural Reserve contains three saltwater lakes. Laguna de Zarracatín is around ten times the size of the other two, Laguna Arjona and Laguna Alcaparrosa. The lakes and their protected environs cover 1,161ha. Like the Lebrija-Las Cabezas Natural Reserve, it provides an alternative habitat for birds in the nearby Guadalquivir delta. Birds from the Embalse Torre del Aguila, which is about 3km east, also use the reserve. As the lakes are all seasonal, it is best to visit in winter or spring and not during times of drought.
The reserve is adjacent to the NIV Seville-Cadiz road, about 15km south of Los Palacios y Villafranca, and the village of Guadalema de los Quinteros. The A364 from here to Utrera crosses the reserve.
On the lake shores are reedbeds, rushes, tamarisk and glasswort. The underwater vegetation provides an important food source for birds. The native Mediterranean vegetation that used to surround the lakes has been largely destroyed.
Most commonly seen here, particularly during the winter months, are coots, mallards, shovelers, wigeons and pochards. Other birds are little grebes, white-headed ducks, purple gallinules, flamingos, purple herons, cattle egrets and little egrets.
Birds using the reserve as a stopping place during migration include waders and avocets. Also here are whiskered terns, gull-billed terns, black-headed gulls and lesser black-backed gulls.