Archive for June, 2008

New blog on iberianature by Lucy Brzoska

Monday, June 30th, 2008

I’m pleased to announce that iberianatureforum stalwart Lucy Brzoska has started her own blog on iberianature called straightforwardly enough, Lucy’s Blog. Lucy will probably concentrate on Barcelona and environs with forays into the Catalan Pyrenees and her beloved Leonese mountains.

Check out this frankly excellent post by Lucy, on Barcelona’s best kept secret, the heronry, perched in the trees above the city’s zoo. Read Citadel of herons

In the near future Simon Rice will be joining in with his own blog from the deepest hinterlands of Catalonia.

Tiger mosquito continues to expand

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

The tiger mosquito continues to expand in Catalonia, doubling its area of distribution between 2006 and 2007, and now present in 55 municipalities including Barcelona. El Periodico

See also arrival of tiger mosquito to Spain (2005)

Bear cub found injured on road in Somiedo

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

Injured bear cub found in Somiedo

A couple on holiday from Madrid found an injured bear cub by the side of the road near Villarín, Somiedo this Thursday afternoon, 26th of June. Disorientated, she was wandering from one side of the road to the other. After waiting a while to see if the mother would appear, the couple took her to the police station in Somiedo where the Guardia Civil contacted agents from the Natural Park to take charge of her. The 5-6 month old cub, who weighs 4 kilos, was examined by vets and found to have received a blow to the right-hand side of her head but otherwise appeared to be healthy so the decision was taken to try and put her back into the area where she was found, with help from personnel from Fapas and the Fundación Oso Pardo. Three attempts were made but each time the cub returned to the road. On the fourth attempt, the cub was taken further into the mountains but didn’t get out of the container she was transported in and stayed the night in it. First thing Friday morning her health had deteriorated so she was taken to a veterinary clinic in Oviedo where she was put on a drip in an incubator. Providing she recovers from the severe head injury sustained, the authorities are determined to reintroduce her into the wild and a search is on for the two female Cantabrian brown bears known to be in the same area, one of which has three cubs and the other just one. If all goes well, she’ll be tagged on release.

News from La Nueva España

Follow the Cantabrian brown bears on Iberianature forum

Update on the bear cub – After being moved to the Cabárceno safari park in Cantabria for a few weeks, where it was felt she would be better able to receive the correct treatment, the cub has now been moved again. This time, a step nearer home, to the brand new breeding centre for Capercaillie in Sobrescobio, Asturias. In the peace of this new temporary home, it is hoped that she will continue her recovery with even less human contact and the opportunity to forage for her natural food, hopefully leading to her eventual reintroduction into the mountains of Asturias.

The Wine Harvest by Goya

Friday, June 27th, 2008

wine harvest by Goya

The Wine Harvest (La Vendimia) was painted by Goya between 1786 and 1787. The painting’s other name The Autumn (El Otoño) is in reference to the fact that it forms part of a series of four paintings depicting the seasons of the year. The landscape is thought by some to depict Campo de Borja, in the province of Zaragoza, famous for its wines, and located at the foot on the imposing Moncayo, the highest peak in the Sistema Ibérica. See also The landscape of Goya 1

Barcelona swallow webcam

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

I’m pleased to announce the Barcelona swallow webcam is back on line after some technical hitches this year. Once again it is hosted by iberianature and organised by Galanthanus.

Press f5 to refresh every 30 seconds. There is no artificial lighting so it’s only clear between about 12:00-1600 CET.

The swallows appeared on 2nd April. This year they were given an artificial nest (by Schwengler) in which to nest but preferred to build their own on a wooden beam above. In early May the eggs were laid and on May 18th five chicks hatched of which two fell from the nest and died. On June 11th the fledglings flew for the first time. There is a possibility of another clutch. Information about last year’s webam.

Spain second in Europe in BSE cases

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

Europe has still not managed to eradicate Mad cow’s disease (BSE). last year 174 cases were detected, 65 in the UK and 40 in Spain. 500,000 animals were tested in Spain last year El País + EU reports here in English
The removal of livestock because of BSE has had a huge effect on Spanish wildlife. See archive on iberianature

Largest yew forest in Europe to be protected

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Unlike northern Europe where most yew woods were felled, northern Spain is still home to a few remarkable patches of yew forest, the biggest of which (and the largest yew forest in Europe), is in the Sierra de Sueve in Asturias. After years of campaigns, it is now finally to be protected. The wood covers 80 hectares and is home to a remarkable 8,000 yew trees, many of which are more than 1000 years old. La Crónica Verde

Medieval Spain exported much yew wood to Northern Europe which was in demand for boat and longbow manufacture. Iberian yew wood had less knots in it than northern yews because climatic conditions and was highly valued.

A poison from yew was used by the ancient Cantabrians and Celts as a poison to prevent their capture at the hands of enemies. As in much of the world the yew was venerated as a sacred tree and formed part of rituals, no doubt much of which was due to the yew’s extreme longevity. A vestige of this is the common presence of ancient yews growing in churchyards in Galicia and Asturias. Testament to the once more common presence of yew woods is the plethora of placenames – Tejeda/Tejedal/Teixadal – meaning yew wood.

See also Yews in Spain

Picos de Europa to relax BSE laws

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Livestock farmers in the Picos de Europa National Park are soon to be given the option of leaving dead ruminants as carrion instead of the, until now, obligatory and costly removal of cow, sheep and goat corpses due to the EU’s BSE laws. This is excellent news for carrion-feeding birds such as the area’s Griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) as well as for the future reintroduction programme for the Lammergeier (Gypatus barbatus), due to start now in 2009. It should also positively affect other occasional carrion-eating species such as Cantabrian brown bear (Ursus arctos) and Iberian wolf (Canis lupus signatus).


Follow the topic on Iberianature forum.

Prediction changes to hot dry summer for Spain

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

After the wettest spring for 57 years in Spain, the latest predictions, contradicting a previous long-term forecast, are for a hot, dry summer, though without the long extreme heat waves of 2003. El País

Andalucia Bird Society

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

September 2008 sees the launch of an new bird society for Andalucia. Basically, although not exclusively, the society aims to assist the non-Spanish speaking resident to become involved in regional and national census and survey work. However, a key role for the Society is to collect and hold the records of birds recorded in Andalucia. It is hoped their database will hold sufficient records for the data to be used widely by conservation organisations, local government bodies, academics and commercial consultants. As a member you would have the opportunity to participate in the Andalucia elements of national bird surveys, and to have your own bird records incorporated into our annual Andalucia Bird Report.

The objectives of the ABS are:

  • To record and study wild birds in Andalucia
  • To assist in the preservation of wild birds in Spain
  • To encourage by use of meetings, outings, books and other ways:

1. The study of birds in the field and ornithological science in general.
2. The education of the general public and its members in ornithological science and the need for the protection of wild birds and their habitats.

To find out more take a look at their website here