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The old lake of La Janda used to be one of the most important and extensive wetlands in the Iberian Peninsula. However, after being dried out in the 1960s it was turned into a huge farming area.
Today, La Janda represents a great diversity of habitats due to its many historical uses. There are large pastures, an important and unusual wild olive grove, rain fed crops, rice paddy fields and canals with marsh vegetation that together welcome millions of birds through the different seasons.
This unparalleled strategic situation, the last stop before leaving the continent, makes La Janda a paradise of great ecological interest: here birds must stop to rest and recover strength before or after their trip across the Strait of Gibraltar.
The area is a hunting ground, so many kinds of prey are present. Therefore, during the winter it is common to see Bonelli’s Eagle, Spotted and Lesser Spotted Eagle, Hen Harrier, Bluethroat, Short-eared Owl and the rare Pallid Harrier. In winter a large number of Common Cranes, Black Storks, Lapwings, Golden Plovers and even the elusive Bittern, are frequently seen around these fields.
In spring and summer we may find birds like the Montagu’s Harrier, the Collared Pratincole and the Common Quail, together with year-round residents like the Spanish Imperial Eagle, Purple Swamphen, Black-shouldered Kite and Glossy Ibis (a breeding colony was established in the area in 2012).