Archive for the ‘trip reports’ Category

A natural history trip across Spain

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

Lisa has posted this very interesting series of natural history reports on her journey across north-east Spain. Setting off from Cantabria she passes through Cañon del Rio Lobos, Gallocanta, the Valencian coast, the Oliva marshes, the Serra de Espadá, the Ebro Delta, El Garraf, Llobregat Delta and the Monegros, on which she notes: “Nothing had really prepared me for the subtle beauty of Los Monegros. I was expecting an arid, barren desert, although thanks to Insectarium Virtual’s “Testing Los Monegros” I knew it was extraordinarily rich in insect life. What I wasn’t expecting were the vast canvasses of colours, shapes and forms. Shadowy folds in the moulded, flat-topped hills, once dark with Spanish juniper and pines now almost denuded by man, contrasted with foregrounds of the palest of soils dotted with dark green mounds of wild herbs, all blanketed by that big blue sky.”

Aiguestortes trip report

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

Lucy has posted on her iberianature blog this fantastic series of five trip reports on her recent trip to Aiguestortes in the Catalan Pyrenees. Enjoy.

The renewed silence was broken by a piercing whistle, as if a referee had just stopped play. The first time I ever heard a marmot’s warning call, I was sure it was a bird. One tone warns of raptors and another of danger on the ground. The Pyrenean marmots didn’t survive the last ice age, but were re-introduced in 1948, and have been burrowing there extensively ever since. They are Europe’s largest and perhaps shaggiest rodents, preferring to stay underground on hot days, as well as hibernating throughout winter. This upright marmot was on lookout duty. Read

Collserola hike

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

Lucy has written another great post, this time on a walk we did in Collserola. Boars, botany, hedgehogs, spiders and these remarkable nightjars:

“Churring filled the twilight. Then close at hand came a soft quick call, and we saw the silhouettes of a pair of nightjars. Their long wings rose and fell as they encircled us. The reason was a fledgling on the path a few metres ahead, its eye gleaming in the torch light. The parents circled us even faster, like in a playground game, clapping their wings. As we approached, the bird on the path silently flew off.” Read

PS Thanks to Mónica for photo of boar.

Birding in Cadiz

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

John C. has posted this excellent trip report on the forum on his birding trip to Cadiz

He notes on crested coots:

It soon became apparent that we had a problem with this coot; JC advised that a lot of the Crested Coots had been neck collared, so all we had to do was find a Coot in a collar and bingo!. No one seems to have noticed an obvious aspect of Crested coot physiology, however. After extensive field work it is apparent that Crested Coots are actually invisible under ultra-violet light, so in daylight, you simply cannot see them. All you see is a sort of shimmering in the reeds. That is why the clever Spaniards put collars on them: find the collar, find the crested coot. Sadly, evolution being what it is, the coots take off the collars during the day and hide them in the reed beds ( or possibly in the mud?). So the best time to look for Crested coot is a moonless dark night, when these all-black birds would be easy to see on account of the white triangular, square-topped frontal shields. As mentioned in the very beginning, JC had identified it as a bright, sunny night, so we had no cooting chance!

Birding Trip Report to Cadiz Province + Here for forum thread

Trip to Catalan Pre-Pyrenees

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

02/03/2007. Trip to Catalan Pre-Pyrenees. We started out from the car park a couple of km from the Congost de Mont-rebei. Straight away we had raptors above our heads and read on forum