Archive for April, 2009

Monegros thoughts

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009


Simon has this interesting post with photos of Los Monegros. “It’s been over twenty years since I was last here, and lately I just seem to view Los Monegros from the luxury of the High Speed Trains that wizz through the region at over 300 kilometres per hour. What I see is that the term ‘desert’, often used by protagonists on both sides of the debate, is far from the truth; the region is farmland, although the living there is clearly very hard.”
Read on Simonblog

Note: I wrote this on the high-speed view of the Monegros a couple of years back.

Barcelona blog

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

The new iberianature Barcelona blog is starting to take shape…More on our walking tours shortly.
Barcelona blog

A guide to Wild Spain

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Teresa Farino, iberianatureforumer and probably the most knowledgeable English guide to Spain’s flora recently published her latest book: Wild Spain: The Animals, Plants and Landscapes. This is something I would have liked to have written but she beat me to it, so fair play to her. An essential read which you can buy from our Amazon bookshop at no extra cost here.

Here’s the blurb:

Spain is one of the richest countries in Europe in terms of flora and fauna – its mammals include wolves, bears and the endemic Iberian Lynx, it has the highest number of breeding bird species in Europe, some of the best butterfly sites and an outstanding array of wildflowers. The range of habitats is vast, from the snow-capped mountain peaks of the Pyrenees through evergreen forests, olive groves and wood-pasture to freshwater wetlands and the arid sub-desert of the south. Few other European countries can rival its appeal to those interested in wildlife and the environment. “Wild Spain” celebrates the landscapes and natural history of this surprisingly diverse country, including the Canaries and Balearics. Expert naturalist and landscape historian Teresa Farino examines the geography and climate, the many different habitat types and the remarkable variety of wildlife, including the many endemic species and impressive list of rarities for which Spain is a last refuge. More than 230 superb colour photographs bring alive their dramatic world. The past 20 years have seen a revolution in Spain in terms of wildlife conservation and environmental awareness, and the final section of the book looks at the country’s protected areas, the development of green tourism and where to watch wildlife.

One customer has written:

This is a wonderful book, containing many superb photographs of Spain’s tremendously varied wildlife by a well-known photographer of many years experience who lives in Spain. However, it is not just a picture book (like so many photographic books are), but a detailed and authoritative guide to the habitats and fabulous and often unexpected fauna and flora of Spain. It is currently the best book available on Spain’s wildlife and habitats in terms of the type of information it provides, and an absolute visual delight. Thoroughly recommended.

When Teresa isn’t writing books, she does these very popular tours with her outfit Iberianwildlife.

Latest lynx news

Friday, April 17th, 2009

This year’s Iberian lynx captive breeding programme is going well. Here is a quick round-up the latest figures.

11 females have so far given birth to cubs . There are now 19 surviving cubs born this year, 17 of which are being raised by their mothers and 2 are in intensive care at  El Acebuche. More detail here

On the negative side, I’d missed this bad news from Doñana in March reported on Dan Ward’s Lynxblog.

Theo, a seven year old female lynx, pregnant with two cubs, was killed by a motor vehicle on 13 March on a road between Algodonera and Laguna de San Lázaro, within the Doñana protected area. This incident follows a number of similar lynx deaths in the area in recent years, including just six months ago when a lynx was runover on the busy Almonte – Matalascañas road alongside the National Park. Moreover, Theo was killed on an agricultural road that had been recently re-surfaced and upgraded to allow traffic to drive much more quickly. Read complete article

The above photo is from the ex-situ website and is of one of last year’s cubs.

Lynx in the Sierra de Andújar

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

Some stunning photos here of Iberian lynx in the wild in the Sierra de Andújar by Pete Oxford, who notes “I set myself up, not with the eco-tourists, but instead, on a private ranch owned by the Junta of Andalucia – prime lynx habitat and the center of a scientific conservation effort organized by LIFE.”
Wild Wonders of Europe

Hvala awakes

Sunday, April 5th, 2009

Hvala, the bear who bit a hunter last year in the Vall d’Arán, has woken from her winter slumber. She was probably pregnant when she went into hibernation and the biologists monitoring her suspect she may have a cub or two, as she is staying in the same area (Bossòst, Vall d’Arán). Let us hope she is left in peace to raise them.
El Periodico

Galician fishing industry

Saturday, April 4th, 2009

I liked this photo report of the fishing industry in Vigo by Ian Berry of Magnum Photos. The above image “ Gulls follow the trawler in the hope of picking up any fish left uncovered. 2008″
All photos here

The recovery of the Imperial eagle

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

The Spanish imperial eagle (Aquila adalberti) has recovered “spectacularly” over the past 30 years, and is one of the success stories of conservation in Spain, increasing from 38 pairs in 1974 to 253 in 2008. The latest figures are from a study published recently in the journal Oryx and in this interview from Science Daily.

“This study shows that the species has recovered and has responded well to conservation initiatives. Although it has been known for a long time, the study shows once again that this species is highly affected by changes in adult survival rates”, Santi Mañosa, one of the authors of the study and a researcher at the University of Barcelona, tells SINC. Some of the most important reasons behind the failure of the Spanish imperial eagle (Aquila adalberti) to increase its numbers have been premature adult deaths resulting from electrocution on electricity lines and the consumption of poisons used to control predators.lthough the major threat to the birds differs from region to region in Spain, Mañosa says that habitat conservation is essential in order for the bird to be able to nest and hunt. For this reason “it is essential to manage the rabbit population well, because this is what makes up its diet during the breeding season in all areas”, adds the researcher.


“Things have gone well over these past decades, but this could all be lost within five or ten years if things start to go wrong. It is a question of making improvements – electricity lines continue to pose a serious threat to this species, and efforts to resolve this problem are going very slowly,”

Read complete story in Science Daily

See also: Una red para proteger al águila imperial (El Mundo). “Una hembra de águila imperial ibérica (‘Aquila adalberti’) ya está incubando en el nido que puede verse, en directo en Internet, gracias a una cámara instalada por SEO/Birdlife en el Parque Nacional de Cabañeros. El macho está buscando la comida. Es una de las 253 parejas reproductoras contabilizadas en la Península Ibérica, un número que se quiere aumentar ahora con una Red de Custodia para que esta majestuosa ave deje de estar en la Lista Roja de especies vulnerables.”

  • Photo above from SEO/Birdlife