Archive for February, 2009

Reed Bunting named bird of the year by SEO

Friday, February 27th, 2009

The reed bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus) has been named bird of the year by SEO. There are just 400 breeding pair of the species in Spain.  Two sub-species are present: Emberiza schoeniclus lusitanica, an endemic of the Iberian Peninsula and clasified as in critical danger and Emberiza schoeniclus witherbyi which only breeds in Spain, soutrhern France and northern Morocco which is considered as endangered.
List of previous birds of the year

Tracking a lynx

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Caribú, the lynx from the Sierra Morena which was released in Doñana in November 2008 with the aim of increasing the genetic variability there, has travelled almost 200km in three months. There is no evidence that it has mated yet as it is a sub-adult.
El Mundo

Geological sites in Spain to be protected

Friday, February 27th, 2009

From a geological point of view, Spain is extremely varied with sites as old as 600 million years and showing rare examples of the planet’s evolution. Two parallel projects now seek to document this national heritage. The aim of the first project is to include 144 Spanish sites on the Unesco world list of outstanding geological sites. The second project seeks to create a Spanish catalogue of geological sites of interest, which will then allow them to be protected by law, and include sites in Abella, Isona and Camarasa, in Lérida; Punta Aitzgorri in Zumaya (Basque Country), and the Sorbas reefs in Almería. Other interesting places to be protected include the amber deposits in Peñacerrada, El Soplao, in Cantabria, the carboniferous forest of Verdeña, and the ichnite (dinosaur track) sites found in a number of areas.
El País
List of sites

Disappearance of glaciers in the Pyrenees

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Another study has highlighted the likely disappearance of the glaciers in the Pyrenees in the next 40-50 years.

Since the first study by French geographer Franz Schrader in 1894, the Pyrenean glaciers have lost 88 percent of their 1,779-hectare surface area, according to a report by the Spanish Ministry of the Environment. Low rainfall and the rise in temperatures is leading to their rapid melting, and it is estimated that by the middle of the century, they will have vanished altogether. This has accelerated in recent years with the glaciers losing 72 hectares between 2002 and 2008. One of the most striking examples is that of La Madaleta glacier, one of the largest in the Pyrenees, whose thickness has shrunk by 180 metres since 1991 at an average rate of 11 metes a year. The absence of snowfall in summer in recent years has exacerbated this regression. Lower snowfall is also likely to spell long-ter, disaster for the skiing industry.

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Unusual river fishing method

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

Anyone know what this fishing method is called? Taken by Rafiki on the River Guadaira south of Sevilla. Answers please by email or join the forum.
Read on the forum

Spanish seas need more protection

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

According to a new report by Oceana, if Spain is to meet the deadline in three years imposed by the United Nations to protect at least 10% of the world’s marine areas, it needs to rapidly increase the paltry 0.5% currently protected. This means protecting almost 65 km2 a day.

The designation of new protected marine areas such as Seco de los Olivos (Andalusia), the seamounts of the Mallorca channel (Balearic Islands), the canyons of Palamos and Creus (Catalonia), the Seco de Palos (facing Murcia) and Cape Nao (region of Valencia), along with the expansion of other already protected areas such as Columbretes, Alborán and Doñana, are some of Oceana’s proposals in this report concerning approximately 50 areas in the Spanish Mediterranean and adjacent Atlantic waters….“Not only should new areas be afforded protection, but also many of the existing areas should be expanded. Nearly half of Spain’s marine protected areas barely reach a surface area of one square kilometre, making them inefficient for conserving certain habitats and species,” affirms Ricardo Aguilar, director of research and projects for Oceana in Europe and campaign director on board the Ranger.

The disaster of Lake Sanabria

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

Interesting documentary narrating the tragic events of 9th January 1949 when a dam upstream of Lake Sanabria, the largest in lake in Spain, burst. A wall of water swept down the Tera Valley and engulfed the village of Ribadelago. Around 100 people were killed. The Francoist authorities covered up the report on the defective construction of the dam.

More on Sanabria including contemporary news report by Time Magazine (iberianature) “One night last week all was quiet in Ribadelago. In the tavern men were playing cards. At the church Father Plácido Esteban-Gonzalez had just arrived on his motor scooter from the provincial capital of Zamora. An electrician named Rey was working late in his shop. Shortly after midnight the lights in the village flickered out. At the tavern, irritated cardplayers lit candles, went on with their game. Suddenly, a distant, muffled roar was heard..Read

Wind power boost for Spain

Monday, February 9th, 2009

From The Guardian: “Spain’s investment in renewables is paying dividends for distributors whose costs have plunged this year as winds buffet the country.”

Otter watching in the Catalan Pyrenees

Monday, February 9th, 2009

Simon chanced upon this beautiful otter in the Catalan Pyrenees.

There could hardly seem a less promising place to go naturalising than the stretch of the Noguera Pallaresa just downstream from Tremp, ‘capital’ of the Pallars Jussà comarca in the Catalan pre-Pyrenees.

Read on iberianture

Giant waves predicted for Spanish Atlantic

Friday, February 6th, 2009

The inhabitants of Spain’s Atlantic and Cantabrian coastline will have to get used to more storms and giant waves as a result of global warming. Two waves of 26.13m and 24.64m hit the coast near Santender on January 22nd, the largest every recorded anywhere along the Spanish coastline Both form part of general tendency detected of ever greater waves.