Archive for March, 2008

Stork village

Monday, March 31st, 2008

I loved this photo in El País today Urbanización para cigüeñas. I think it’s somewhere in Extremadura. Someone correct me on this if I’m wrong.

Innovative breeding techniques for Lammergeier

Sunday, March 30th, 2008


Using a technique for the first time with this species, the Foundation for the Reintroduction of the Lammergeier hope to release a bird bred completely isolated from human contact. They’ve built a 6x6m platform at 1,500m in Ordesa which includes a heated nest with a “puppet” adult bird to feed the chick and, next to it, a cage which the chick will be moved into after 80 days to continue the natural imprinting process as in this area of the Pyrenees there is the largest population of the species in Europe. A feeding station next to the cage will provide opportunity for the chick (born in Feb.) to observe and learn natural adult behaviour. After 120 days the young bird will fly for the first time.
They say that this tecnique will be used in the “near future” for the release of three birds in the Picos de Europa, from which I guess will be next year, the only difference being that the birds will be relocated from the Pyrenees two weeks before their first flights in the Picos.

The conservation group are already using another technique of strategically placing caged adult birds in areas in which they hope to encourage the Lammergeier to return.

For more info go to the discussion on Iberianature forum

Posted by Lisa

Jerez zoo lynx pregnant

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

UPDATE: Pregnancy turned out to be phantom.

Tests have confirmed that Azahar, an Iberian Lynx from Jerez de la Frontera Zoo is pregnant and will hopefully give birth in mid-April. This would be the zoo’s first lynx litter. Azahar was brought to the zoo after being captured in the Sierra de Andújar as she had an injury which made her survival in the wild unlikely. There is a chance that the birth will coincide with the iberianature forum trip to the zoo’s facilities on April 13th. Terra

Worst drought in Mediterranean Spain since 1912

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Worst drought since 1912
According to director general of water of the Ministry of the Environment, Jaime Palop, Mediterranean Spain is suffering the worst drought since 1912. (El Mundo)

Oldest human hominid in Europe found in Atapuerca

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Oldest hominid in Europe found in Atapuerca
Scientists have discovered the oldest hominid remains in western Europe. A jawbone and teeth discovered at the famous Atapuerca site in northern Spain have been dated between 1.1 and 1.2 million years old. (BBC). The remains beat the previous record by 500,000 years (El Pais). Stone tools and animal bones were also found with tell-tale cut marks from butchering by humans.

Lynx cub news

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

This week has seen the first lynx cubs this year born in captivity.

  1. Brisa, a first-time mother gave birth, prematurely, to two cubs, one of which was still born. Lisa on the forum notes “If is not exaggerating Brisa spent a long time trying to bring it round but had to give up and ate it. Eight hours later, the second cub was born having shot out a metre after the last contraction  She rejected this cub (well, not an ideal first experience was it?) and the cub is being reared by experts in charge of the breeding programme. It’s still in a critical condition.”
  2. The second news is somewhat better. Brisa’s mother, Saliega, gave birth to her 4th litter on Saturday. Three cubs were born. One of the three has since died but far the other two are fine.

New species of reptile identified on La Gomera – Chalcides coeruleopunctatus

Monday, March 24th, 2008

 Chalcides coeruleopunctatus

Our understanding of the reptile world is in a constant state of flux as advances in DNA techniques continue. The latest is the promotion of a species of skink on La Gomera to full species. The joint study by researchers from France, UK and Spain is published in the latest issue of Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. They have baptised the new reptile Chalcides coeruleopunctatus, Lisa de Salvador in Spanish (Salvador’s or the Gomeran Skink in English), in honour of Alfredo Salvador, researcher at the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales de Madrid, who described it for the first time in 1975 El Mundo.

Abandoned villages in Spain

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008


I’ve just come across Pueblos abandonados, an interesting blog detailing abandoned villages in Spain with hundreds of photos and lots of detailed information. The photo above is from La Vereda, an abandoned village in Guadalajara, with classic examples of the black architecture (arquitectura negra) style. (more…)

natura ibérica: iberianature en español

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

In a spurt of madness, I’ve decided to publish a slimmed-down version of iberianature in Spanish. We shall see how this goes…

natura ibérica

And also a rural tourism section in Spanish should you be interested

Dupont’s lark losing song

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

A study has found Dupont’s lark (Chersophilus duponti) is losing its singing range because numbers are falling. Spanish biologists have found that when male larks had fewer birds from which to learn new notes or ranges their repertoire decreased. The number of notes a male uses is vital in attracting females.

Dupont’s lark, is only found in Europe in Spain where just 2,000 birds are thought to remain, as their natural habitat has been relentless destroyed by changes in land use, particularly the spread of irrigated dry land so we can all have cheap tomatoes in February, reforestation and above all by the growth of wind farms.

The scientists recorded the singing range and number of notes of 330 male birds, mainly in the Ebro valley region in north-east Spain. Using hidden microphones in places the birds usually inhabited, they taped mating calls. Paola Laiolo, who led the research team, said: “The female birds are attracted by the complexity and range of the male’s song.

“We found that the lack of variation of notes or scales corresponded to the areas where the population of larks was smallest. The birds which lacked tutors – or other male birds to learn from – had the smallest range.” Dupont’s lark has a range of 12 singing sequences or phrases. It is smaller than the skylark and its brown colour makes it hard to spot, so censuses are carried out by counting birds by their songs. The Guardian

More on Dupont’s lark on Iberianature

Note: SEO made Dupont’s lark its Bird of the Year for 2006.