Rare birds in Spain


This video from Honduras says about itself:

Phalaropus tricolor

Wilson’s Phalarope

Falaropo picudo

Reserva Hábitat/Especie El Jicarito, Choluteca, Honduras

27 diciembre [December] 2013

The Wilson’s phalaropes on this video are the smaller birds which keep turning around.

They are in winter plumage, like the bigger birds on the video; marbled godwits, I’d say.

From Rare birds in Spain on Twitter:

29.7.2014 Phalaropus tricolor 1 ind[ividual] + Phalaropus lobatus 1 ind[ividual], Punta de la Banya, Delta de l’Ebre, Tarragona (Jordi Martí-Aledo).

Phalaropus lobatus are red-necked phalaropes.

Good seabird news from Spain


This video is about Látrabjarg seabird colony in western Iceland.

From BirdLife:

Great step forward for seabirds in Spain

By Elodie Cantaloube, Tue, 22/07/2014 – 16:17

Spanish landmark legislation increases 20-fold marine protected areas

Spain has officially established 39 new marine protection areas. The new sites are ‘Special Protection Areas for Birds’ (SPAs), designated under the European Birds Directive. The SPAs will offer protection to seabirds whilst they are at sea, complementing the existing network of sites on land.

Spain, with its Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines and islands, is extremely important for European seabirds. This includes Europe’s most threatened seabird – Balearic Shearwater, and other species endemic to the Mediterranean, such as the Yelkouan Shearwater and Audouin’s Gull.

The announcement is the culmination of many years of hard work by BirdLife’s Spanish Partner SEO/BirdLife, who has played a major role in this process: each of the 39 sites closely mirrors the Marine Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas identified by the organisation, following nearly a decade of scientific research.

Previously, Spain’s network of protected sites for seabirds was made up mostly of small sites at colonies and along coasts and islands. These sites mostly protect seabirds whilst on land, but do not protect them in the environment where they spend the majority of their time: out at sea. These new sites, many of which are large in size, and include areas offshore, will add an additional 50,000km2 to Spain’s protected area network for birds, a whopping 20-fold increase.

“The announcement is extremely important”, said Asunción Ruiz, Director of SEO/BirdLife “Now seabirds can be protected when they venture away from the Spanish coast. Carefully managed, these sites could make a real difference to the recovery of our threatened seabirds.”

The ground work carried out by SEO/BirdLife to identify these sites, involved many years of research tracking seabirds and understanding their behaviour at sea. The information on Marine Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas is collated on BirdLife’s Marine E-Atlas. Across Europe, these sites act as a ‘shadow list’ of sites which should be protected under EU law.

“It is extremely promising that Spain has moved to designate offshore sites and it is imperative for seabird conservation that other countries in Europe follow their example”, added Marguerite Tarzia, European Marine Conservation Officer at BirdLife “the addition of these sites means that Spain has gone from lagging behind other EU countries, to being one of the regional leaders in seabird protection at sea. It is important that the next steps include strong and effective management of sites, to ensure that the positive gains made today are followed through for real conservation outcomes.”

London solidarity with Spanish women


This video from Belgium is called Thousands protest in Brussels on planned anti-abortion law in Spain.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Human rights group targets Spanish embassy over abortion Bill

Saturday 28th June 2014

HUMAN rights activists descended on the Spanish embassy yesterday in protest at the right-wing Madrid government’s plan to roll back abortion rights.

Dozens of campaigners from My Belly is Mine have taken action against Spain’s anti-abortion draft Bill discussed in the country’s parliament on Friday.

This video from London, England says about itself:

British Spanish Society Reception at Spanish Embassy, London Wednesday 25th of July

On Wednesday the 25th of June, 2014, the Spanish Ambassador in London, Federico Trillo, hosted a reception for the British Spanish Society. We turned up uninvited alongside direct action feminist group Speaking of I.M.E.L.D.A and the Spanish Women’s Assembly from the 15M movement in London. We wanted to remind the ambassador, his guests and passersby that the rights of women are under serious threat in Spain.

The Morning Star article continues:

“Women have fought for their rights with great spirit and determination,” said one of the organisers Jade Hope. “For their rights to now be taken away from them is a disgrace.”

The campaign has emphasised how almost 50,000 women die after unsafe and regulated abortions every year across the globe.

Ms Hope added that abortions should be exclusively a woman’s choice.

“No one else has the right to impact on such a tough decision and the Spanish government thinking they can is to deny human rights,” she said.

Women’s rights activists in Britain stood alongside protesters in Berlin, Vienna and Lisbon in solidarity with Spanish women.

JIM JEPPS interviews abortion rights activists Cristina Rios and Mireia Gargallo about feminism and solidarity among migrants in London. CRISTINA RIOS and Mireia Gargallo are both Spanish immigrants living in London, both are political activists working in the My Belly is Mine campaign and they’re also good friends — even though, in many ways, they come from very different places: here.

Neanderthals ate vegetables, new research says


This video is called Neanderthals Decoded (full documentary).

From PLOS One:

The Neanderthal Meal: A New Perspective Using Faecal Biomarkers

Ainara Sistiaga, Carolina Mallol, Bertila Galván, Roger Everett Summons

Published: June 25, 2014

Abstract

Neanderthal dietary reconstructions have, to date, been based on indirect evidence and may underestimate the significance of plants as a food source. While zooarchaeological and stable isotope data have conveyed an image of Neanderthals as largely carnivorous, studies on dental calculus and scattered palaeobotanical evidence suggest some degree of contribution of plants to their diet.

However, both views remain plausible and there is no categorical indication of an omnivorous diet.

Here we present direct evidence of Neanderthal diet using faecal biomarkers, a valuable analytical tool for identifying dietary provenance. Our gas chromatography-mass spectrometry results from El Salt (Spain), a Middle Palaeolithic site dating to ca. 50,000 yr. BP, represents the oldest positive identification of human faecal matter. We show that Neanderthals, like anatomically modern humans, have a high rate of conversion of cholesterol to coprostanol related to the presence of required bacteria in their guts.

Analysis of five sediment samples from different occupation floors suggests that Neanderthals predominantly consumed meat, as indicated by high coprostanol proportions, but also had significant plant intake, as shown by the presence of 5β-stigmastanol. This study highlights the applicability of the biomarker approach in Pleistocene contexts as a provider of direct palaeodietary information and supports the opportunity for further research into cholesterol metabolism throughout human evolution.

Neanderthals ate barbecued pigeon. Charred bones suggest our ancient relatives cooked the ancestors of feral pigeons on the embers of their fires: here.

Spanish republicans organize referendum on monarchy


This video is called Spaniards insist: ‘Referendum now’.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Spanish activists launch street referendum over future of monarchy

Unofficial poll in days before coronation of Prince Felipe will ask Spaniards if they want an elected head of state

Ashifa Kassam in Madrid

Friday 13 June 2014 11.23 BST

Emboldened by the tens of thousands of Spaniards who have taken to the streets to demand a say in the future of Spain‘s monarchy, activist groups have announced they will be holding their own referendum in the five days leading up to the coronation of Prince Felipe.

The idea came about on the night King Juan Carlos announced his abdication, after an estimated 20,000 people dressed in the red, yellow and purple of the former Spanish republic descended upon the Puerta del Sol square in Madrid calling for an end to the monarchy.

“It seems absurd to us that in a democracy nobody is asking the citizens if they want a monarchy or a republic,” said Kike Castelló of ¡Democracia Real Ya! (Real Democracy Now!), one of the dozen or so collectives involved in organising the referendum.

The referendum will begin on Saturday morning and run until 19 June, the day of the coronation. About 60 polling stations staffed by volunteers will be set up along major streets in cities across the country, with voting also taking place online.

A recent poll for El País found that 62% of Spaniards believe a referendum on the monarchy should be held “at some point”. Nearly half, said the poll, would prefer a monarchy headed by Felipe, while 36% would support a republic.

Participants will be asked to answer yes or no to two questions: whether they agree that the head of Spain should be elected and if they agree that a constitutional process should be opened so that citizens can decide how the Spanish state is governed.

“We just want people to express their opinion – whether it’s for a monarchy or for a republic. We want to hear what Spaniards want for their country,” said Castelló.

He brushed aside concerns about the legality of the referendum. “Asking people for their thoughts isn’t illegal,” he said, pointing to a line in the Spanish constitution that stipulates that “transcendent decisions can be put to a consultative referendum”.

Under Spanish law, he added, permission is not needed for this kind of initiative. The only obligation is that those setting up polling stations notify the delegate from the central government in the region. The necessary forms are provided on the group’s website, he said.

Measures are being put into place to avoid people voting more than once, said Eduardo Robles Elvira, who is working on the technical aspects of the poll. Independent organisations are being recruited to monitor and tally the results. “We’re doing all of this so that it’s the most transparent and legitimate referendum possible,” he said.

The group has yet to decide what exactly they will do with the results, said Castelló. “We know that the government isn’t going to say, ‘hey, look how many people want a republic, let’s do that.” He said he saw the effort to take the pulse of the streets as more symbolic than anything else. “We want people to realise that it’s possible for us to have a say in how our country is run.”

The plebiscite is open to Spaniards living anywhere in the world, and a group in Paris has signed up to host a polling station on the streets of the French capital. “Spaniards are the ones who will be affected by this monarchy. If you want one as well for the British, we can organise one for your Queen,” Castelló joked. “But that might seem a bit weird.”

More than 85% of the Spanish parliament on Wednesday voted to move forward with the law that will pave the way for the crown to be handed from King Juan Carlos to Prince Felipe. The law will now move to the Spanish senate where it is expected to be approved early next week.

As leftist deputies waved signs calling for a referendum, Mariano Rajoy, the prime minister, defended the monarchy during the debate, saying: “Spain is a parliamentary monarchy with deep roots because Spaniards want it to be so.”