Archive for July, 2009

Mediterranean concrete

Monday, July 27th, 2009

There are currently a million homes for sale in the Mediterranean coast of Europe, half of which are in Spain. Phantom urbanizaciones extend all along the coast, with nobody to buy. 997,652 homes lie empty throughout Spain. The boom is over, but the coast will never recover until geology rends human greed and folly meaningless.

See also this article in El País on the end of the urbanisation boom of the Spanish Mediterranean and its effects.

Increase in brown bear population

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Good news – in part. The population of brown bears in the Cantabrian Mountains continues to grow. According to the latest bear census, a total of 19 female bears raised 37 cubs last year. The census was carried out in Asturias, Cantabria and Castilla y León by the Fundación Oso Pardo. However, the situation in the eastern populations of bears straddling Cantabria and Castilla y León continues to be “worrying”. Of the 37 cubs raised, just three cubs were raised in this area. The rest were raised by bears in the far healthier western population. El Mundo

In demonstration of the improved situation of bears in the western area, the World Conservation Union has just reduced the classification of the bears in this area from “Critically endangered” to “Endangered”. La Nueva España

Flamenco chick count at Fuente de Piedra

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

The Guardian has this nice slideslow of images and text on this year’s flamingo chick count at the Fuente de Piedra lagoon, near Malaga. Around 600 of the 5,000 chicks born at the lagoon this year were ringed. Fuente de Piedra is the most important breeding ground for flamingos in the Iberian Peninsula.

And check out a post on this on the forum by Peter

“The ringing of Greater Flamingo chicks is a highly organised affair and run with military precision. The group of volunteers, numbering somewhere over 300, embark during cover of darkness slowly and silently encircling the nursery of young. As dawn arrives the nursery is slowly and safely encouraged towards a fence line and bell mouth shaped entrance to a holding corral. Read

Cantabrian nature blog

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

One of my favourite Spanish nature blogs is Zona Osera (Bear Zone) written by Hector Ruiz from the Valle de Laciana, León. Superb photography and great natural history writing.

Spain’s conservation record slated

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

According to a new EU study reported in El Mundo, Spain has not determined the status of two-thirds of its habitats. The study looked at 1,182 species and 216 habitat types between 2001-2006.

Spain is the EU country which has provided least data, and it has no data for 64% of its habitats and for 44% of species despite this being against EU law.

Petition to stop parany hunting

Monday, July 13th, 2009

The illegal trapping of thousands of migrant birds in Valencia could become legal again as hunters try to get legislation changed. The bird are caught using the technique known as parany, which involves trapping birds using poles covered with sticky bird lime. Although illegal in Spain, its continuing practice is rarely prevented. Birders can help by supporting the campaign against it. Birdwatch

Beehives help wildlife

Saturday, July 4th, 2009

A scientific study by FAPAS has shown that the presence of beehives increases the production of wild bilberries by 80% on which bears and capercaillies feed. Fasas