domingo, 5 de septiembre de 2010

Recent Developments at the Fuencaliente Saltpans

One of the island's key birding sites - the saltpans at Fuencaliente - has recently been equipped with lectern-style interpretation panels to create a self-guided, 30-minute walking tour of the complex.

Birders need not worry about possible access restrictions however, as entrance to the protected area is possible at all hours, no admittance-fee is charged, and the sign-posted route skirts all the pools of ornithological interest.
The official conservation status of the complex, as displayed at the entrance.
Above, the first lectern, dealing with general norms and advice, provides an overview of the self-guided route. The standard of the information found throughout the itinerary is generally high, with succinct accounts in three languages (Spanish, English and German) covering biological aspects of the saltpans, details of their construction and design, and an explanation of the salt-making process itself, etc.

Only one of the seven panels refers specifically to the significance of the saltpans for migratory birds. The English text is shown below:
Puzzled by that reference to the Snowy Plover? So was I. Apparently, it is the North American nivosus race of the nominate, European Charadrius alexandrinus or Kentish Plover. So, wrong side of the Atlantic, I'm afraid.

As to what a "strider" is, the translator was obviously looking for an equivalent English term for the Spanish andarríos, applicable to some of the Actitis and Tringa species. Unfortunately, I don't think there is one...other than "sandpiper".

And, of course, the small birds do not "remove mud from the bottom of the ponds": that is a classic mistranslation of the Spanish verb remover, which simply means to move, turn over, or "stir up" something -mud in this case - but not to take it away or clean it off!

These inaccuracies apart, the self-guided route makes an interesting addition to the island's tourist infrastructure and will prove highly instructive to most visitors.

The position of the birding panel, together with its contents, can be appreciated in the remaining images.

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