This lagoon is located eight kilometers away from the town, following the dirt road that starts at the village of Puerto Alegre. This is a protected area declared a Natural Reserve by the Regional Ministry of the Environment since 1984, forming part of the so-called Wetlands of Southern Cordoba next to the Cordobilla Reservoir.
It is located in an area of countryside where irrigated crops predominate. It occupies an area of 13 hectares and its maximum length is a little over 500 meters. Their water is salty or brackish due to the minerals in the soil.
This lagoon is called temporary because it has no water all year round, except during periods of heavy rain. This is due to its shallow depth, around half a metre, so that when the high temperatures of summer arrive, a strong evaporation takes place and it dries up quickly. In normal rainy years the lagoon has water from December to May. The rest of the months it appears as a big white sheet due to the salt that is deposited on the surface of the soil.
In this space we can find two observatories and a house for the guards, which corresponds to the farmhouse of El Comandante. An observatory is the “scientific” one, which is located at the edge of the lagoon and serves to make studies and census of the birds, so it is only used by authorized people. The other observatory is the “public use” one, which is located in front of the lagoon at the top of a hill and that anyone can visit throughout the year to observe the birds without disturbing them.
On the contrary, the fauna is abundant and at present it is the lagoon with more species of aquatic birds of the whole province. Depending on the time of year we can observe wintering birds, which use the lagoon in winter as a resting place during their migratory journey; and summer birds, in spring and summer. The most abundant species is the mallard. The easiest to see are:
Wintering birds of passage:
- The northern shoveler (Spatula clypeata)
- The common pochard (Aythya ferina)
- The grey heron (Ardea cinerea)
- The cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis)
- The pied avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
- The common sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)
- The lesser black-backed gull (Larus fuscus)
- The black-headed gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
- The mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
- The Eurasian coot (Fulica atra)
- The little grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
- The black-winged stilt (Himantopus himantopus)
- The white stork (Ciconia ciconia)
- The American flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber)
In the lands surrounding the lagoon, reforestation has been carried out with native species, such as holm oaks, mastics, gayombas, tamarix and white poplars. In this way, it is intended that the lands where cereal was once cultivated will now recover the native vegetation that was once destroyed.
The flora is scarce since it has been cultivated since ancient times up to the very shore, finding two main species, the tamarix and the salicornia. Both species can live in these salt-rich soils. We can also observe other species of birds typical of the countryside and living in the surrounding areas, such as the red-legged partridge, the crested lark and the common kestrel.