Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Laguna de Fuente Piedra

A 10 minute drive to the east of the Villa Cabreros, is another
Nature Reserve, the Laguna de Fuente Piedra .The largest lake
in Andalucia and is probably is better known for its population
of Pink Flamingos. The shallow saline waters of this salt lake
provide much feed for the flamingos and the shear size gives
added protection from predators.The ruins of the old salt works
has provided a safe nesting area for the birds to breed.

Over the last few years, a new visitors centre has been developed
just outside the town of Fuente Piedra, on the road to Sierra de
Yeguas and new vantage points have been developed along the roads,
that run adjacent to the lake. From the Visitors Centre, new
footpaths have been created,that take you into the marshlands
that surround this part of the lake.Take a walk along these paths,
listen to the chatter of the birds and listen to the different
alarms as others warn others of your approach.

As the water recedes and the warm hot summer approaches, the
marshlands become scrubland and the dry ground now becomes
home for small lizards, rabbits and other small rodents.
Occasionally you may disturb a weasel or a stoat or see a
fox in the distance. Small birds of prey can often be seen
hovering over this wasteland.

The lake has no outlet and is fed by a number of small
rivers and by seasonal rainfall. During the summer months,
much of the water evaporates,leaving a a layer of white
crystal salt across the lake. Oasis of water are still to
be found and so are the birds.

As well as the Flamingos,other wading birds can be be found
here.Cranes and Ibises are to name just two. Various types
of ducks,such as white headed ducks and mallards can be found
here in the winter months .A large variety of other
waterbirds can be seen here through out the year.
Much of this will depend on the rains during the
previous winter.

The Visitors Centre is open from 9am to 2pm in the
mornings and 5pm to 8pm in the evening