Archive for February, 2010

Archive of articles

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

I’ve just posted this new archive of blog articles, organised by month and year. Hope it’s useful.

Free range eggs in Spain

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

It is easier than it used to be to buy free-range eggs in urban areas in Spain. But beware of misleading bucolic pictures on egg cartons. Free-range eggs are often called huevos de granja (huevos de pagés in Catalonia) but if you don’t trust the seller, the best way is to check the first number of the codes on the eggs themselves:

0-hens raised outdoors ecologically

1-hens raised outdoors

2-barn-raised hens

3-battery-farmed hens

Spanish places

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

I’ve been working recently on a new guide to places in Spain using Google maps as a way of organising them spatially. I find it interesting to see how places I’ve visited and/or written about over the years, join up together on the map. I still don’t understand how to get the best out of Google Maps, but I think that building up this database will allow lots of new forms of representing information. Visit Places in Spain
Have a look for example at these places:

The second deepest natural harbour in the world

Monday, February 8th, 2010

A curiosity I heard today: Mahón, the capital of Menorca, has the second deepest natural harbour in the world – after Pearl Harbour. The harbour is 5 km long and up to 900m wide. Historically, it was one of the most strategically important harbours in the western Mediterranean. More from Wikipedia

Sparrows in Spain

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

The house sparrow is still probably the commonest bird in Spain with some 10 million pairs, and although they are certainly not threatened as they are in, say, Britain which has lost 5 million pairs in the last 30 years, some areas have shown alarming trends. The birds are less and less common in Madrid and have seen a 90% fall in the orange orchards of Valencia. Crónica Verde

The poet Miguel Hernández described sparrows as the “los gorriones son los niños del aire” – the children of the air,

Death of the macho ibérico

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010
Garfio cazando en una imagen del Programa de Conservación Ex-Situ. |

Garfio, the Iberian lynx who was captured in 2003 and begat the first brood of lynx cubs to be bred in captivity, has died this week from a chronic renal infection at the age of ten. In all he sired 11 little lynxes. El País

Photo of Garfio in action from Thanks to TP on the forum who I’ve paraphrased here.

Traditional agriculture in León

Monday, February 1st, 2010;topic=2864.0;attach=5785;image

Dave spotted this remarkable scene of “a working pair of Oxen  with a cart full of manure, which the driver was distributing over a small rectangle of newly ploughed land. Location: some 40km from León capital. More here on the forum.

Long legged buzzard in Spain

Monday, February 1st, 2010

A pair of long-legged buzzards (Buteo rufinus) have established themselves in the Tarifa area in Andalucia. Although the species is occasionally spotted as vagrant, this is the first time since  records began that a pair has settled in Spain. Long-legged buzzards are an African species, present across the Straits  in Morocco. It is thought that warming temperarures have brought them further north. El Mundo

Wolves in the Picos de Europa

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Lisa has written this well researched article on her excellent Picos de Europa page on the population and status of  wolves in the Picos de Europa, the only national park in Spain where they are present:

…an estimate of 5 packs within the park and its immediate surrounding areas. Of these family groups they estimate that each consists of between 5-9 family members, giving a minimum 25 and maximum of 45 individuals, not including the few probable loners. These figures are far below those claimed by local farmers.