Archive for June, 2009

British isles nature

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

Totally unrelated to Spain, but yes with nature and geography, I’ve been busy working on the new britainnature section, a guide to the geography and wildlife of the British Isles.

Visit britainnnature

Bear cub photos

Friday, June 26th, 2009

Fapas have managed to capture some lovely photos of Villarina. the bear cub that was found alone on a road last year, and was later released back into the wild.
More on bears on the forum

14 killer whales spotted in the Canaries

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

14 killer whales were observed yesterday for almost eight hours by scientists in the Canaries off Tenerife.
El Pais

Iberianature – pagerank of 5

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Iberianature now been upped to a Google Page Rank of 5 and is now in Google Directory’s top ten travel sites for Spain. According to Google Analytics, iberianature (without the forum) receives every month over 70,000 visits, around 160,000 page views and 60,000 unique users

Google Directory

J.G. Ballard on the Costas

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

J.G. Ballard wrote some fine landscape pieces in Cocaine Nights (1996 ) on an imaginary but all-too-real Costa del Sol, the archetype of all the Costas. A frightening contemporary vision of the present-future of this part of Spain. Note Sotogrande does not exist.

The mountains had withdrawn from the sea, keeping their distance a mile inland, Near Sotogrande the golf courses began to multiply like the symptoms of a hypertrophied grassland cancer. White-walled Andalusian pueblos presided over the greens and fairways, fortified villages guarding their pastures, but in fact these miniature townships were purpose-built villa complexes financed by Swiss and German property speculators, the winter homes not of local shepherds but of Düsseldorf ad-men and Zürich television executives.

And later

The retirement pueblos lay by the motorway, embalmed in a dream of the sun from which they would never awake. As always when I drove along the coast to Marbella I seemed to be moving through a zone that was fully accessible only to a neuroscientist and scarcely at all to a travel writer. The white facades of the villas and the apartment houses were like blocks of time that had crystallised by the side the road. Here on the Costa del Sol nothing would ever happen again and the people of the pueblos were already the ghosts of themselves.

J.G. Ballard ‘Cocaine Nights’ 1996

Rufous Bush Robin display

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

I very much enjoyed these photos by Mark of a male Rufous Bush Robin (Cercotrichas galactotes) showing off to a female by Mark on the forum.
Read forum post
See all photos on his site

Los Llanos de Libar

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Steve has this very nice post on his Cornish Nature web with some lovely photos of a field trip to Los Llanos de Libar on the edge of the Sierra de Grazalema. Check out his embedded recording of Perezi’s frog calls.
Los Llanos de Libar – A Land of Reptiles, Amphibians & Mole Crickets

Save the Tajo

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Environmental groups are planning a large demonstration in Talavera de la Reina on 20th June to campaign for the recovery of the longest river in Iberia, the Tajo (Tagus).

Thanks to Damien Martin of the excellent Wild Spain for bringing this to my attention. He notes here:

The rally…seeks to bring attention to the fact that 80% of the Tagus is siphoned off to fuel industrial agriculture and urban development in the Spanish Mediterranean regions of Murcia, Alicante and Almería (fruit and veg for export, golf courses for ex-pats and tourists) and that the small portion which finally flows into Portugal is heavily polluted with effluent from Madrid.

The Tagus Network (Red del Tajo) have produced this PDF in English:

All Spanish and Portuguese children are taught that the Tagus, the longest river in the Iberian Peninsula, has its source in the Albarracín Mountains of Spain and runs westwards for over 1000 km, before flowing into the Atlantic next to the Portuguese capital, Lisbon. Sadly this schoolbook statement is currently fiction or, to be exact, only 20% true. The fact is 80% of the Tagus is siphoned off to fuel industrial agriculture and urban development in the Spanish Mediterranean. What remains of the natural mid and lower reaches of the Tagus are a shadow of their former selves, heavily polluted, and, in places, little more than open sewers. Read full text in English: Battle of the Tagus: Citizens of Spain and Portugal unite to save their greatest river

Osprey breeds in Spain

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Ospreys (águila pescadora in Spanish) have bred in mainland Spain for the first time in 80 years. Three chicks have been born in the Marismas del Odiel, in Huelva and two in Cadiz. Since 2003, 108 chicks have been released in Cádiz and Huelva from Germany (68 birds), Finland (20) and Scotland (20).  The young ospreys released in Andalusia have shown normal migratory behaviour of birds raised in their own nests in the region, and have begun to fly south to areas typical osprey areas. Radio-tracking has detected them on the West African coast along the rivers in Senegal and Gambia .The presence of huge expanses of water in Andalusia in the form of reservoirs built since then bodes well for the species future. The osprey never became extinct in the Balearics where they have clung on with 20 pairs and the Canaries with 12 pairs.

El País

Otters no longer threatened

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

The otter is no longer threatened in Spain and Portugal and now occupies almost the entire Iberian Peninsula, with populations only still under threat in Guipúzcoa, Almería and Alicante. As elsewhere in Europe, otter populations hit their nadir in the 1980s, but increased protection for wetlands and the animal itself, the banning of poisons such as DDT and the clean-up of rivers have allowed the nutria as it is known in Spanish to recover. The otter has for instance returned to the provinces of Barcelona, Gerona, Huesca, Navarra, La Rioja, Cantabria, Palencia, Segovia and Valladolid. ADN

See also lots of sightings of Spanish otters on the forum