Between the villages of Villarquemado and Cella is an area that was a shallow lake until it was drained 300 years ago, for agriculture. A geologist, working with the mayors of the two towns, managed to get community support for a project to return some of this land to its natural state, despite the fears of some farmers. As of last year, the Laguna de Cañizar is now once again a "humedal" or marshy fresh-water lake. Thousands of cranes have arrived to overwinter, and dozens of other species of wildlife have returned or become more visible, including wading birds, ducks, swallows, raptors, frogs and toads, snakes, fish, otters, badgers, and other creatures. Because the canes can grow so quickly, an experiment with a few water buffalo is being conducted to see if they do well through the winter, and if their grazing will help keep the growth under control.
We had a wonderful walk, windy and cold, but with gorgeous clouds. Our lunch in Villarquemado was excellent. We went on to other adventures (a castle!) later in the day, but that's for another post.
This place is a birder's paradise. The most impressive sight for us were the clouds of cranes. My photos hardly give an idea of how many there were, or how loud they were!
This video gives more of an idea of the cranes we saw.