The biggest olive tree in the world

April 26th, 2018 by nick

The biggest olive tree in the world is reputedly the Oliva de Fuentebuena in Jaén. According to the Guinness Book of Records it is over 10m high with a girth of more than 4m.

More here


May 7th, 2017 by nick

Clay soils in parts of the Monegros are eroded easily leaving weird sandstone formations called torrellones, looking like something straight out of Arizona. This one is called Cabeza de Perro, Dog’s Head. 

Image by Rodriguem on Wikicommons

Lammergeyer continues recovery in Aragón

May 5th, 2017 by nick

The lammergeyer or bearded vulture is continuing to recover in Aragón, its Iberian stronghold, with 90 pairs recorded in 2017, up from less than 40 in the 1980s. More here

Chicks from Aragón are to be taken to teh Picos de Europa to help in the reintroduction project there. Here

Origin of the Pyrenees 

May 3rd, 2017 by nick

The Pyrenees, according to Greek mythology at least, take their name from Pyrene, daughter of King Bebrycius who was raped by Hercules, after which she gave birth to a serpent. Terrified by how her father would react, Pyrene fled to these hills, where she was torn apart by wild animals. Hercules later came upon her lacerated remains, and overcome with grief, commanded the surrounding mountains help create a tomb for her by piling up rocks. Thus, the Pyrenees were created. 

A more likely explanation is that the Iberian microcontinent began to crash into Europe some 55 million years ago causing a massive uplift and slowly and powerfully forming the range.

Andaluician coast, 1860 by Carlos de Haes

December 20th, 2016 by nick

Memories of Andalucía, (1860) Mediterrean coast near Torremolinos. by Carlos de Haes, Museo del Prado. Difficult to imagine today.

Eurasian lynx in Spain

December 15th, 2016 by nick

A couple of interesting recent developments on the old presence of the Eurasian lynx in Spain and its hopeful reintroduction. It is thought the animal would have co-existed with the very edge of the Iberian lynxes range in northern Spain and the Pyrenees.

The possible presence well into the 20th century of the so-called gatillop in the Catalan Pyrenees as the animal is known in Catalan has long been discussed. There is now a Catalan government plan, as yet to be carried out, to release Eurasian lynxes in the Vall D’Aran in the Pyrenees. More here (2016)

Evidence now shows that the Eurasian lynx existed in Northern Spain in the Cantabrian mountains until at least 400 years ago. (2015 RTVE)


Wildlife of the Sierra Morena documentary

December 14th, 2016 by nick

Stunning images in trailer for the WildMed documentary on the wildlife of Sierra Morena, the largest Mediterranean forest in the world.

Wildmed, el último bosque mediterráneo.

Iberian lynx distribution maps

December 14th, 2016 by nick

Maps showing changes in distribution of the Iberian lynx from 1900 to 2015, passing through the terrible low point of 2003. El País from here.

Iberian lynx news 2016

December 14th, 2016 by nick

A short summary of some news about the Iberian lynx in 2016:

On the postive side:

176 Iberian lynx have been released into the wild since 2009.

40 more will be released in different areas of Andalucia, Extremadura and Portugal in 2017. Specifically these areas are:

  • Portugal: Vale do Guadiana, Mértola
  • Spain : Valle de Matachel, Badajoz; Montes de Toledo, Toledo; Sierra Morena Oriental, Ciudad Real; Guadalmellato, Córdoba and Guarrizas, Jaén. More here

19 Iberian lynx cubs were born in 2016 in the subpopulation of Castilla-La Mancha. More here

48 cubs were born in captivity in 2016. Here

More worryingly:

13 lynxes have been killed on roads so far in 2016

Iberian lynx has the lowest known genetic variety in any mammal. Here

Amphibian stamps

December 11th, 2016 by nick

Stamps showing amphibians of Spain. 1975.

Common salamander, Marbled newt, European Tree Frog, Midwife Toad and European common frog.