Natural Parks - Laguna Amarga Natural Reserve

Laguna Amarga Natural Reserve

One of six inland saline lakes in southern Cordoba province, Laguna Amarga and its protected environs covers 263ha and, like the other lakes, attracts numerous migrant birds in winter and for breeding. It is a permanent lake and is located between Puente Genil and Lucena. There is a footpath around the lake, which leads to a bird hide.

The other five inland wetland sites, all of them natural reserves, are: Laguna del Conde, Laguna de Tíscar, Laguna de los Jarales, Laguna del Rincón and Laguna de Zóñar.

The Centro de Visitantes Zóñar is on the A309 Puente Genil-Aguilar de la Frontera road, at Km 77.6, 957 335 252. It has information on all the lakes.

From Puente Genil take the Badolatosa road, then turn towards Jauja. The lake is a few kilometres northeast of Jauja on the CO753. It is well signposted from the road and there is a car park. At the lake is a bird hide.

The lake has a continuous belt of tamarisk (tamarisk africana, t. canariensis) on its shores, one of most outstanding in Andalucia. Reeds (phragmites australis), cattails (typha dominguensis) and giant reeds (arundo donax) grow next to the tamarisk. Also here is a wetland pasture, with branched centaury (centaurium pulchellum), Spanish sunflower (pulicaria paludosa) and ragwort (senecio jacobea).

Abundant submerged vegetation grows in the lake, like bearded stonewort (chara canescens) and widgeon grass (ruppia maritima), providing plentiful food for birds and other wildlife.

Beyond the lake shores is Mediterranean scrubland with Kermes oak (quercus coccifera), lentisc (pistacia lentiscus) and honeysuckle (lonicera sp.).

The best time to visit is in winter, then many wildfowl flock to the lake. White-headed ducks, purple gallinules, red-crested pochards, little grebes, great crested grebes, coots, mallards and moorhens can be commonly seen here all year round. You can also spot Montagu's harriers and Bonelli's eagles flying over the lake.

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