Archive for May, 2011

Peregrine falcon chicks on Montjuic get ringed

Written by Lucy Brzoska

The two agentes rurales had the difficult job of abseiling down Montjuic’s inaccessible cliff face and retrieving the three Falcon chicks from their nest, while one of the adult Peregrines repeatedly dived towards them, calling in alarm. The fiddly work was then in the hands of Eduard Durany, general overseer of Barcelona’s Peregrine population, with help from Josep García, an expert on herons among other things.

First out of the bag was a male, identified by its smaller size.  At just over three weeks old, it was still covered in sparse white down.

peregrine-falcon-chick-in-montjuic-barcelona

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Peregrine Falcon chicks stolen from Sagrada Familia

Shortly after being born, this year’s brood of Peregrine falcon chicks were stolen from their nest in one of the Sagrada Familia towers.  The robbery took place out of range of the web cam installed. Visitors have no access to this tower, but there are always plenty of workers milling around, since the Sagrada Familia is still under construction. Eduard Durany, responsible for monitoring Barcelona’s Peregrine falcons, emphasises the need for better security.  Last year suspicious individuals were spotted trying to take food up to the falcons, who fetch a high price on the black market. After the theft, two chicks born in a wildlife recuperation centre were placed in the nest, but sadly the intended foster parents rejected them.  See also the report on the ringing of Montjuic’s young falcons.

In the jungle – Mediterranean insects

Written by Lucy Brzoska

It’s the month of May and plants are fighting for space. In the dense, overgrown jungle roams a large yellow beast (well, 2-3 cm long). It has the silhouette of an anteater, except for those antennae sprouting out of the snout.  The Yellow Weevil eats plant matter with mouthparts at the end of its “nose”.  The length of the snout allows it to bore where other insects can’t reach.

yellow-weevil-in-thistle-lixus-pulverulentus

Two Longhorned beetles mate, antennae mingling.  They look a bit like chamois, except their “horns” are flexible and longer than their own bodies.

longhorn-beetles-mating-agapantia-cardui-suturalis

Flowers are for eating – this pollen-consuming jewel beetle (Anthaxia hungarica) is attracted to Compositae . . . .

anthaxia-hungarica-jewel-beetle

. . . . or for lurking in.  A napoleon crab spider, sprinkled with pollen, waits to ambush its prey.  It’s common to see the lifeless form of  a bee hanging from a flower, as the spider sucks it dry.  Sometimes the venom takes a while to work, and the spider clings on, going for a flight with its victim, not knowing where it will land.

napolon-crab-spider-synaema-globosum-covered-in-pollen

The vibrancy of this Spotted Fritillary (Melitaea didyma) reminded me of a tiger. On this windless cloudy day, the butterfly remained motionless.

spotted-fritillary-melitaea-didyma