Archive for November, 2013

Asian predatory wasp in Spain

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

Beekeepers and fruit orchard growers in Spain are facing the serious threat of Asian predatory wasp (vespa velutina nigritorax), which has spread from France. The species was first detected in the Basque Country three years ago from where it has spread to Castilla y León, Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia . In 2013 it was found in La Garrotxa (Girona) in Catalonia having spread from a separate French population. Honeybees make up some 80’% of the wasps diet. Even more worryingly, the wasps also pose a considerable risk to biodiversity in Spain as  many plants are dependent on honeybees for pollination. As far as humans are concerned, people have been hospitalised in France after suffering anaphylactic shock as a result of multiple stings.

More here from El País

Hundreds of specimens of Vespa velutina, a species of hornet known popularly as “the Asian predatory wasp” or “the Asian hornet,” were found last month in the Vall d’en Bas, a valley in the Catalan municipality of La Garrotxa. The find has sent all kinds of alarms ringing among rural officials and local beekeepers, who know time is running out: if the nest is not found and destroyed by November, the females growing within will fly out and start their own colonies elsewhere in the region.

“Before the fall is out, the more than 200 wasp mothers now germinating inside the nest will seek new locations to create new hideouts and hibernate,” explains Josep Vilar, chief of the rural agents of La Garrotxa. Each female can produce over 12,000 offspring.

Ospreys as a tourist attraction

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

The reintroduction programme which was begun in 2003 of the osprey in Andalucia is proving a success. This year the nine pairs of osprey have raised 31 chicks. Now the Andalusian government plans to use the birds to attract tourists, following the UK examples of a Welsh observation post, Rutland Water and Sutherland in luring visitors.  More in El País

Young horseshoe whipsnake

Monday, November 4th, 2013

We came on this very young horseshoe whipsnake this morning on the stone steps of Guadi’s Bodega Güell in El Garraf built as a winery for the slave-enriched Catalan industrialist Güell. Albert, our toddler, was very excited by his first snake. Not venomous but this one was certainly feisty.

Pyrenean bear cubs

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013

Image taken by camera trap of female bear with two cubs born this summer in the Vall d’Aran in the Catalan Pyrenees. The adult bear is called Hvala, a Slovenian bear released in the Pyrenees in 2008. Source: cronicaverde

Iberian lynx distribution

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013

Distribution of the Iberian lynx in Andalucia in 2012. The latest census (2013 but figures for 2012) give some 305 lynxes in the wild and 85 females with territories. Source Crónica Verde