The site lies c.20 km north-east of Tehran at c.1,350 m in a steep-sided valley in the foothills of the Alborz Mountains, with the main massif rising abruptly to the north and the deserts of the Central Plateau stretching away to the south. The site comprises a short stretch of the Jajerud (a fast-flowing river with rocky and boulder bed), a small storage reservoir (Latian Dam) and a complex of gravel banks, small marshy creeks and mudflats where the river enters the reservoir, as well as adjacent small fields, orchards, Populus groves, rough pasture and rocky hillsides with steppic vegetation. Low cliffs border the south-west bank of the river. The area is used intensively for picnicing at weekends. Limited grazing, chiefly by cattle, occurs in the marshy areas, but the only large-scale exploitation is the extraction of sand and gravel from the river-bed. The area was a regular bird-ringing site of the Department of the Environment's Ornithology Unit in the 1970s.
See box for key species. The well-watered valleys in the southern foothills of the Alborz Mountains, with their numerous small fields, gardens, orchards and poplar groves, constitute an important resting and feeding area for migrant birds in spring and autumn. These areas are particularly important during the spring migration, when periods of bad weather in the high Alborz may halt migration. The Lashgarak area, in the valley of the Jajerud, is a good example of such a site, with the added attraction of a small reservoir and some wetland habitat. Although rather few species breed or winter in the area, no less than 267 species have been recorded at the site, including several scarce passage migrants which have seldom been recorded elsewhere in Iran. Phylloscopus trochiloides nitidus is a common autumn passage migrant. A very wide variety of waterfowl has been recorded, mostly in rather small numbers. The site seems to be especially important for Gallinago media, which occurs regularly in spring.
Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.
Data-sheet compiled by Dr D. A. Scott, reviewed by Dept of Environment.
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lashgarak and Latian dam. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 04/12/2021.