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Rooks in Leon in danger

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Offline Dave

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« on: February 16, 2007, 13:43 PM »
Dear all
Being fairly new to this country (4 years), I am a worried how to proceed with this but:-
On the N120 between Leon and Astorga, there are two villages, Villadangos de Paramo and Fresno del Camino that have substantial Rookeries 3 in total, with I guess 50 plus nests in each colony. I have noticed recently that many of the trees are being cut down, with the result that most of the nests in one rookery have all but disappeared.
I am aware  from my book, Guia de las Aves de Espana, Peninsula, Baleares and Canarias by Eduardo de Juana and Juan M. Varela, that the rook is quite a rare bird in Spain, only being strong between the rivers Orbigo and Bernasga, precisely the area I am concerned with. As a foreigner I am a little loath to approach the Ayuntimientos of these to villages directly as they may see it as interference. Therefore is there any way I can contact a local official of the SEO or similar organization to express my concerns.
regards
Dave
« Last Edit: February 22, 2007, 20:00 PM by nick »

Offline nick

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« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2007, 15:28 PM »
Hi Dave,

Strangely doesn't seem to be a SEO group for Leon, but I've passed you post on to some people who might know.

Cheers
Nick
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Offline nick

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« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2007, 17:44 PM »
Dave, an answer. Email both these two adresses below. If you don't have time let me know and I will

Hola Nick
No creo que lo haya SEO-León  pero es importante que pases la noticia a SEO en Madrid (seo@seo.org) , hay un responsable de conseravción que se hara eco del asunto.
También al grupo mas cercano de Valladolid
SEO-Valladolid
Coordinador
Manuel González García
E-mail: seo-valladolid@seo.org
 
Josele
« Last Edit: February 18, 2007, 17:46 PM by nick »
Nick
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Offline Dave

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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2007, 19:37 PM »
nick
I have also emailed this to you, we will now see what happens
Querido Senor
Llevo viviendo en este pais (4 años), estoy preocupado cómo proceder con esto:-
 En el N120 entre Leon y Astorga, hay dos pueblos, Villadangos de Paramo y Fresno del Camino que tiene colonias de grajos substanciales 3 en total, con mí conjeturo mas de 50 nidos en cada colonia.
He notado recientemente que muchos de los árboles se están reduciendo, con el resultado que la mayoría de las nidos en una colonia de grajos han desaparecido. leido en mi libro, Guia de las Aves de Espana, península, Baleares y Canarias por Eduardo de Juana y Juan M. Varela, que el graja es un pájaro raro en España, sólo siendo fuerte entre los ríos Orbigo y Bernasga, el área que mi refiere.Siendo un extranjero, no me atrevo a digirme directamnete al Ayuntamientos de estos pueblos como podrian verlo como interferencia.
Por lo tanto hay alguna manera que pueda entrar en contacto con un funcionario local del SEO o la organización similar para expresar mis preocupaciones
Saludos
David Keyte

Offline nick

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« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2007, 15:14 PM »
Good luck Dave,

Perhaps I could also send a mail too. Josele is the SEO cordinator for Huesca. I spoke to him today and he seemed to think it was very important

Cheers
Nick
« Last Edit: February 22, 2007, 19:24 PM by nick »
Nick
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Offline Dave

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« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2007, 14:13 PM »
Dear All
We went up to Torre del Bierzo, yesterday to do a a little pruning, on the way I took a few photos of the rookeries, I have included one, just to show the problem, the photo, which is not a good one, shows a number of rooks, close by their nesting area, with no new nests so far, but over 100 rooks, in the trees that are still standing, waiting to do , who knows what with what is left of their wood
Regards
Dave

Offline Dave

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« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2007, 14:15 PM »
Dear all
The photo

Offline Dave

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« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2007, 13:22 PM »
Dear all
I have not not heard anything yet from the SEO, but I guess things take time. However, today on a visit to our local Garden Centre, which is about 2 miles form home at Trobajo de Cerecedo, Leon, I was very encouraged to see what looks like the beginnings of a new Rookery, at present with only about six nests. Last year there was nothing there, but hopefully now they have discovered this site, the colony will expand, the surrounding fields are used for cows, it is also near the River Orbigo, so there should be plenty of food for them
Regards
Dave

Offline nick

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« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2007, 13:59 PM »
Hi Dave,
Just spoke to the guy in Valladolidad. He's going to phone me back. Thinks it's serious.
Nick
http://iberianature.com/barcelona/history-of-barcelona/spanish-civil-war-tour-in-barcelona/
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A guide to the environment, climate, wildlife, & nature of Spain
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Offline nick

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« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2007, 19:19 PM »
Dave,

I've spoken to guy from SEO-Valladolid who was very sympathetic ...but says this was a disaster waiting to happen.

Most of the rooks nested in poplars (chopos) and other commercial trees when these were planted from EU grants 10-15 years ago. They are now all maturing and are not considered as "trees" but as "crops" and are therefore unprotected. Although rooks are classified as a sensitive species in Spain they are not endangered at a European level and so legally there is little they can do.

However, He is going to pass me on some emails/contacts in the next few days. He says there are some active groups in Leon - including a rook expert at León University. More soon.
Nick
http://iberianature.com/barcelona/history-of-barcelona/spanish-civil-war-tour-in-barcelona/
Spanish Civil War Tours in Barcelona
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A guide to the environment, climate, wildlife, & nature of Spain
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Offline Dave

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« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2007, 20:14 PM »
Nick
Yes it makes a lot of sense now, more is the pity. The great shame is the Paramo, where most of the rookeries are sited, is quite thin on natural woodland except around the rivers and the 'chopo' plantations are far to regimented in their planning, to be aesthetically pleasing, like most 'crops'  planted by man. However I live in hope that people in the villages may see fit to leave sufficient trees for the rooks to survive. As I said in an earlier posting, the sight of a new rookery, today, perhaps shows that the rooks are actively seeking new sites, as the new colony is probably only 10 or so miles from the old ones. I look forward to hearing more, especially about the Rook expert at Leon university, as I have a couple of contacts myself in the Veterinary section of the university who could prove useful. I myself, have always had a great love of rooks, from childhood, the farm we lived on in England, had several rookeries, and I remember well, rescuing a couple of nestlings that had fallen from a nest, borrowing a tall ladder and returning them to safety, they were less than content and pecked me, but at least I think they survived. The activity and noise of a large rookery in Spring is a wonderful sight.
Regards
Dave

Offline Technopat

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« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2007, 20:43 PM »
Dave (and Nick),
Crops indeed!
Good luck with the rookeries and please keep us all informed as to developments.
Regards,
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline Dave

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« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2007, 19:13 PM »
Dear All
Went past all the rookeries today, and the birds are very busy indeed, with lots of new nests appearing,
I am pleased to say, they were cutting the maize stalks and the tractor and harvester was followed by
what I can only describe as a cloud of rooks.
Regards
Dave

Offline Dave

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« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2007, 17:30 PM »
Dear all
Just when I thought I was being ignored, I received, today, these two emails, 20 minutes apart
I intend to go that way on Monday and will contact Ana then


Estimado David,
Hemos recibido tu mensaje. En primer lugar pedirte disculpas por el tiempo
tardado en responder. Este es un asunto muy importante ya que la graja es
una especie amenazada que solo se localiza en una pequeña área de España.
Nos hemos puesto en contacto con la administración, Junta de Castilla y
León.
Espero poder informarte de algo en un breve espacio de tiempo.
Muchas gracias por ponerte en contacto con nosotros.
Un cordial saludo,

Ana Iñigo
Especies Amenazadas
Área de Conservación de Especies y Espacios
SEO/BirdLife
Melquíades Biencinto 34
28053 MADRID-España
Tel.: +34 91 4340910
Fax: + 34 91 4340911
Email: ainigo@seo.org <mailto:ainigo@seo.org>
Web: <http://www.seo.org>
Estimado David,

Acabo de responder a tu correo y llamado a la administración. Te comento lo
que me han dicho.
Resulta que han obligado al dueño de la chopera a talar (eliminar) la
primera fila de árboles cercana a la carretera por peligro de seguridad
vial. Tienen solo autorización para talar esa primera fila pero que el resto
del bosque de chopos no debería verse afectado, por lo que las grajas podrán
instalar sus nidos, quizá, en otro lado.
Te pediría que si pasas por allí o tienes ocasión de acercarte nos confirmes
si solo han talado esa primera fila o por el contrario están eliminando más
árboles.
También si están trabajando en estos momentos y cómo observas tu la colonia.
Toda la información que puedas facilitarnos en cuanto a localización exacta
de la chopera que están talando (por ejemplo puntos kilométricos) como de
los nidos que parezca que han desaparecido (número de nidos) etc... será muy
bienvenida para un escrito a la administración.
Muchas gracias por tu colaboración. Un cordial saludo,

Ana Iñigo
Especies Amenazadas
Área de Conservación de Especies y Espacios
SEO/BirdLife
Melquíades Biencinto 34
28053 MADRID-España
Tel.: +34 91 4340910
Fax: + 34 91 4340911
Email: ainigo@seo.org <mailto:ainigo@seo.org>
Web: <http://www.seo.org>


Will be keeping you all up to date

Regards
Dave

Offline Dave

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« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2007, 17:37 PM »
Dear All
Just found this via the bloobook, i am thinking of translating into spanish and giving it to the landowner (no only joking really)

Like many other members of the Corvidae family, the rook features prominently in folklore. Traditionally, rooks are said to be able to forecast weather and to sense the approach of death. If a rookery — the colonial nesting area of rooks — were to be abandoned, it is said bring bad fortune for the family that owned the land. Another folktale holds that rooks are responsible for escorting the souls of the virtuous dead to heaven. William Butler Yeats may be making reference to the latter tale in his poem The Cold Heaven.

Regards
Dave

Offline Technopat

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« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2007, 22:21 PM »
Greetings Dave (and All),
Congratulations!
Your bird watching, concern and initiative have been able to set the machinery in motion, and personally, I reckon Administrator Nick should add on another star as a reward for getting things done.

The stuff about rooklore is really interesting and I reckon you should find a way of approaching (in person or by handwritten letter) the landowner (or his/her land manager) and broach the matter. I have always found Spaniards, however religious or aetheist they might be, to be highly superstitious and over-awed about nature/death, etc. (it's cultural and an individual's beliefs tend to succumb to such things), and I would imagine this to be even more so in rural areas of Leon (let's leave out other regions for the moment).

I'm sure that if you mentioned how envious you, as a guiri, are of his/her magnificent rookery and how lucky he/she is to bla, bla, bla,  you would at least sow the seeds of doubt, and who knows what the future may bring! (Headlines: Europe's first rook sanctuary to be set up in Leon)

Look forward to seeing another star by Dave's name!
Good luck!
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline nick

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« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2007, 12:28 PM »
This is excellent news Dave. Well done!

I'm sure we all look forward to more updates

We could say this is the first tangible success of the forum
Nick
http://iberianature.com/barcelona/history-of-barcelona/spanish-civil-war-tour-in-barcelona/
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A guide to the environment, climate, wildlife, & nature of Spain
The Amazon/Forum Bookshop - lend us a hand
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Offline Dave

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« Reply #17 on: March 13, 2007, 17:52 PM »
Dear All
    Maria and I paid a visit to the rookeries yesterday, and we were happy to see great changes to the one at San Martin del Camino. What last time was a tree full of rooks and no nests, has been transformed into a rookery of more than 100 nests. The rooks have also moved into nearby tree groups, with 30 more nasts in one and 14 in another just over the road. Also around 100 metres away is another well established rookery with 80 plus nests, with another close by of 12 nests. This gives a total of more than 250 nests or 500 pairs of birds, if as my book informs me there are only 1000 to 1500 breeding pairs in Spain, then this is possibly the largest site in Spain for rooks.
    The noise and activity was a joy to watch, and as far as wildlife spectacles is concerned, must rank highly. I am in the process of replying to Ana Inigo of the SEO at Madrid, to inform her of developments, just waiting for Maria to check the email for grammar and spelling mistakes.
    I  have attached a Google map link and my hand drawn map to show the details of the site. The trees are clearly seen, although the trees that have been cut down still show, as the map of the area is a little out of date

http://maps.google.es/maps?f=q&hl=es&q=leon&layer=&ie=UTF8&om=1&z=16&ll=42.492337,-5.814922&spn=0.010838,0.027122&t=k&iwloc=addr

regards
Dave

Offline Dave

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« Reply #18 on: March 13, 2007, 20:04 PM »
Dear All
Latest photo of the rookery, 12/3/07.
compared with the first photo, see thread, we now have nests, we found a road that goes right next to the rookery, standing that close the noise is wonderful
Regards
Dave

Offline Sue

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« Reply #19 on: March 13, 2007, 20:47 PM »
Well done Dave,
great map and photo, sounds like you will be a regular visitor as the site developes.

Do you think it was pure chance that the trees were felled at the beginning of the breeding season rather than say, two months time???

Regards, Sue
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