Archive for March, 2010

Guide to the Catalan Pyrenees

Monday, March 15th, 2010

Simon Rice who writes an excellent blog here on iberianature has put together this comprehensive and original guide to the Eastern Catalan Pyrenees (and Pre-Pyrenees) which he calls “The Book”.

Scroll down for sub links in to wildlife, history, geography, food and culture.

The region of the Pallars Jussà and Sobirà, that is to say, the valley of the river Noguera Pallaresa, contains an extraordinary variety of environments within a relatively small area, with an abundance of associated wildlife. The fact that the region has until recently been isolated from the built-up areas around Barcelona and Catalonia’s coastal strip means that these environments remained in pristine condition while more accessible areas suffered the depredations of modern times, such as the use of pesticides, forest clearance, etc. Notwithstanding the fact that Catalonia’s star turn, the wonderful Parc Nacional d’Aigüestortes I Estany de Sant Maurici, was founded during this period, in 1955, the region now hosts dozens of large protected areas.

Visit Simon’s guide to the Catalan Pyrenees

Miguel Delibes dies

Sunday, March 14th, 2010


The great Spanish author Miguel Delibes died on Friday 12 March. His love of the rural life and landscape of Castilla and hunting surfaced repeatedly in his books.

He won the Spanish-speaking world’s top literary award, the Premio Cervantes in 1993, along with the Premio Príncipe de Asturias de las Letras, and was a member of the Spanish Royal Academy. The Cervantes Institute said Delibes’ passion for the countryside — and hunting — had given him a true feel for the decline of rural life and the fragility of the environment. “It is not going too far to say that this hunter who writes measures his passions with a shotgun resting on his shoulder, and in this he finds joy, anxieties and even fineness of spirit,” the institute said in a biography of Delibes.

TP notes on the forum

“The recurring theme of his works was social injustice and the contrast between rural life and modernity. His ability to portray the harshness of rural life in Castilla and the language of its people was amazing. Many of his novels deal with hunting – deeply rooted in Castilla – and his famous essay justifying his love of hunting, “La caza: mi punto de vista” , and in which he vehemently criticises the mass slaughter of captive pieces, which will undoubtedly strike a chord among some iberianatureforumers, expresses very well the sentiment of many people, hunters and critics alike.”


Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente

Sunday, March 14th, 2010


Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente, (Poza de la Sal, March 14, 1928), the great Spanish naturalist and broadcaster, died 30 years ago today. He was killed in a helicopter accident while filming in Alaska on his birthday March 14, 1980.

He was an expert in falconry and animal behavior and spent many years studying wolves, but above all he was a great communicator who captivated Spain in the 1970’s, doing more than anybody to promote natural history among the general public. He is best known for the highly successful and influential series El Hombre y la Tierra (1975–1980), which you can watch online here. Millions of homes in Spain were captivated by the series, and there are possibly apocryphal tales of the streets being empty when the episodes were broadcast. The series and his other work played no small part in the change in attitude towards wildlife in general and wolves in particular. Rodríquez de la Fuente used wolves he had raised himself from cubs living in a semi-wild fenced estate for the film. They were different times with inferior cameras than today. But, for all its trickery, the episode on el lobo still stand out as superb and beautiful piece of nature documentary and holds a rightful place in contemporary Spanish folk memory. And his work inspired a whole generation of young Spanish naturalists who work in nature conservation today.

The legacy of his work is continued with the Fundación Félix Rodríguez .

Hermann’s tortoises for Valencia

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

More than three hundred Hermann’s tortoises, many previously kept as pets, have been released into the Sierra de Irta (Castellón). They appear to have adapted well to the area and may already be breeding. The aim is to build up a stable population in region. Although the only original population of Hermann’s tortoises in mailand Spain is in Sierra de L’Albera (Girona), other populations in Catalonia have been reintroduced in Delta del Ebro, El Garraf and Sierra del Montsant. There is a also a population on Mallorca and Menorca. (QuercusVia Wild Spain

Wettest winter for 51 years in Spain

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

The rainfall records for Spain keep tumbling. According to the latest provisional figures from Aemet, this winter has the wettest in Spain for the past 51 years (since 1959), and 43% more than the average for the benchmark period of 1971-2000. Andalucía, Catalonia and Castilla-La Mancha have seen the most precipitation (rain and snow). Reservoirs are now at 72% of capacity, which is 27% more than the average for the last 10 years. And more rain is expected. Público

Weather records in Spain in January

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

A number of weather records were smashed in Spain in January 2010. There will be more for February when they are published. (more…)

Tabernas in flower

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

This lovely photo of Tabernas Desert in bloom was taken by Andrés Ivorra and posted originally on the forum. He notes:

“An exceptional amount of rainfall looks like snow but it isn’t. Linaria nigricans is in full flower in the desert of Tabernas. A joy for your eyes.”

I’m not sure how much it has rained in Tabernas itself but Andrés informs me that rainfall records have been smashed in Almeria capital this winter with some 400mm falling in just two months.

Check out Andrés’ site on Wildflowers of Almeria

Browsing through his site I can see it is not only about flora. It is also the best guide in English on the nature and geography of Almeria in general.

Three lynxes killed in Doñana

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Three Iberian lynx have been run over in the last month in Doñana, one of the worst figures for years. The latest animal was a male found dead on the road connecting Matalascañas with El Rocíos. He is thought to have been dispersing in search of new territories. Almost three lynxes a year (26 in total) have been killed since 2000…And three in a single month is an utter disater. Clearly the traffic signs aren’t sufficient.  Crónica Verde

Laguna Negra and the Urbion Glacial Circuit Natural Park

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

The Natural Park Laguna Negra and the Urbion Glacial Circuit is to be declared Soria’s second Natural Park. The park will cover a total of 4617 hectares of land and include two villages (Vinuesa and Duruelo de la Sierra).  The area includes the glacial lake of Laguna Negra, which inspired Antonio Machado, and also includes the source of the Duero. Soria’s other Natural Park in Soria is the Canyon Rio Lobos, which was declared in  1985. More on the forum

A blog about Burgos

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

I’ve just come across  Memorias de Burgos, an excellent blog about the secret corners of the province with its abandoned villages and abbeys, oil fields and salt workings, forgotten history and stunning nature. Above photo Portillo de Canta el Gallo from the site.

It’s inspired me to add The Ayoluengo petrol field and Rioseco Abbey to the Places in Spain section.