Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Another chance failed to protect the Antarctic Ocean

It seems that currently both poles are on news. First, the 30 Greenpeace activists taken by Russian forces when they were protesting on Shell oil drilling. Now the focus has changed to the South Pole. Last week, 25 bodies (24 countries + EU) have met in Hubart (Australia) to discuss the future of the Antarctica and several possible Marine Protected Areas (MPA). As always, there are two opposite positions that threaten a possible agreement. Let's see who they are and what finally happened. 

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Austrian insects (I): beetles

Gastrophysa viridula
A few months ago, I had the opportunity to go to Austria to study the diurnal butterfly diversity. I spent several hours doing field work, going to meadows and grasslands, observing these winged bugs. I was focused on identify butterflies, however, I could not ignore the amount of other insects there were (some of them quite annoying, by the way). 

I would like to share with you, some of the pictures I could take to this spectacular wildlife. To avoid upload all the pictures in one post, I will split them in several posts. So, this one is the first of a series of posts about the insects I found in Austria.  First, I will show you beetles, bees, butterflies and others insects I found on the field. After that, I will upload pictures of bugs I found in my bedroom! My window was quite big, and front of it there were a few gardens and trees that pushed several insects to come to my room.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Why the Arctic is so important?

A few weeks ago, Greenpeace started a campaign to report the intentions of Shell in the Arctic Sea. We have seen them in several public actions, the last one with critical consequences for the activists involved (By the way, you can sign here to ask their release).

What they claim is the environmental catastrophe that an oil spill could cause in a such sensible place as the Arctic, specially for the biodiversity that live there. But I would dare say, that this problem is nothing in comparison to loss the ice permanently. Will have consequences to the climate, the permanent loss of the ice? How many species need the ice to live? Someone once suggested that we could move Polar Bears to Antarctica. I'm sure Penguins would be happy to have new neighbours.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Corvids in Innsbruck

Since I'm in Innsbruck I could observe different species of the family Corvidae. Species which I can't observe easily at home, so the first days I was surprised to see so many individuals of these species.

In the city itself I could see a lot of Carrion Crows (Corvus corone), they dominate the city, specially in gardens and green areas, together with Blackbirds (Turdus merula). First I thought they were Ravens (Corvus corax) but I realized that I was wrong when I saw the real Ravens on grasslands and meadows outside the city. Their size and grave calls made clear the differences.

Another species I find sometimes here is the Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius), always among the trees and forests, it's very shy and I've seen it only for short times. Fortunately, it's easy to identify by its characteristic call.

The last of the species I've gotten the chance to see here is the Alpine Chough (Pyrrhocorax graculus). They are in huge groups over Seegrube, a restaurant around 1900m over the sea level, and take advantage of the tourists and hikers who feed them.

Some Alpine Choughs asking for something to eat.
But where is the Queen of Corvidae: the Magpie (Pica pica)? I've hardly seen one all these months. Which are the conditions to make Magpies advantaged in Catalonia but not in Tyrol?

Finally, as it's usually said in English, last but not least, I want to share a video to show the intelligence of this kind of birds.

Just in case you don't get what it's doing, first it tries to grab a little box inside the tube (where there is food) with a wire. I find this already quite ingenious. But it can't, so it bends the wire to make a hook! I know some humans who probably are not so clever. There are a few videos like this in YouTube, I invite you to take a glance at them.

Do you know any other video like this worth sharing?