Arxius mensuals: Desembre de 2011

New species in winter time in Ebro Delta

Due to climate change or to local features it is a reality that every time more species of birds, formerly though as a summer visitors, are spending winter time in some areas of South Europe.

I have been absolutely surprised by the view of a Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava) in Ebro Delta. It was on Sunday November 4 and I was spending the day with a couple just arrived from Switzerland. We had nice views of many birds but we saw five different species that until few years ago were summer visitors and now are becoming more common during the winter.

First was the Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava) leaving the reedbeds at raisang with tens of White Wagtails (Motacilla alba alba). Later a group of Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) (5 of them) flying over the fields with some Crag Martin (Ptyonoprogne rupestris). Barn Swallow is coming up in numbers every winter and its presence is considered “not rare” in Ebro and Llobregat deltas. We counted 6 Hoopoe (Upupa epops) in different areas. Hoopoe is a quite common summer-but-also-winter bird in Catalonia, specially along the coast. In the paddy fields we saw one White Stork (Ciconia ciconia), though this species is specially common in winter in Lleida Steppes. Finally a number of  Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides) were spending the day alongside channels, reedbeds and on paddy fields.

60.000 finches to be captured in Catalonia

The Catalan Government has approved a new edict that is allowing to hunt over 60.000 finches in Catalonia next winter. All green associations in the country have protested against this crazy law but was approved in the Parliament by the three main political parties. This appointment arrives three years after the abolition of hunting this kind of birds in Catalonia.

The species to be hunt includes Goldfinch (6.504), Greenfinch (3.490) and Linnet (3.367) but are Chaffinch who is gonna take bigger piece of all since 46.800 of them will be killed. The populations of some of these birds are growing last years (overall Chaffinch) but Linnet is a more scarce species every time.

This hunt is related about old southern Spain tradition to hunt singing birds and make sing contests with these birds. It is a deep-roots tradition in many areas of southern Europe. Different green associations in the country have started different actions to protest agaisnt this edict.