Archive for August, 2010

A changing Catalan landscape: the Mountain Pine


The typical tree of the Pyrenees, Pinus uncinata, is spreading in Catalonia, as traditional agricultural and livestock activities decline.  In the last 50 years, the Mountain Pine population has grown by 16%, reports the  Centre Tecnològic Forestal de Catalunya (CTFC), after a comparative study of aerial photographs.  With income in mountain areas increasingly generated by tourism, the Mountain Pine has been free to colonise areas with good growing conditions, unlike the tree in the photo, surviving at the upper limit of its range in the natural park of Aiguestortes and Sant Maurici.

Bird data bank in Catalonia

Birders living or travelling in Catalonia can report their sightings on – a web page run by ICO, the Catalan Ornithological Institute.  While all reports contribute to a very useful data bank, it’s also fun to find out what people are seeing and where.  Access to precise data on the following species is restricted: Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus); Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Pterocles orientalis); Black-winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus): Bonelli’s Eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus); Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus); Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos); Lesser Grey Shrike (Lanius minor); Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus); Pin-tailed Sandgrouse (Pterocles alchata); Western Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) You can also decide to keep your own sightings hidden.  There’s a choice of languages – Catalan, Spanish and English – and an option to add comments and photos.

Walking on the edge