Spring in Spain 2013 – Disastrous Weather

We have had the most peculiar weather in Spain so far this year. February was cold, March was the rainiest March since 1940-something and then April carried on the misery with more rain, grey skies and cold North winds. It hasn’t been bad every day, there have been quite a few days in-between when Spring has put in a brief appearance, raised our hopes and then dashed them again. Expats and Spanish alike, we’ve all had a good old moan and felt sorry for ourselves.

 Have you stopped to wonder what affect this has had on wildlife?

Apart from the fact that everything is 2 to 3 weeks behind “normal” I heard some very sad news on Wednesday. All but 3 of approximately 20 Stork chicks at Sebes reserve have perished due to the plummeting temperatures and rain of last weekend. Just to highlight how variable the weather has been, scroll back to Weds 24th April – it was a glorious, sunny day and eager to feel the warmth of the sun we headed down to the beach. It was the first beach day of the year and this time we really thought we had seen the last of the nasty weather. No. The following day, I was back in a sweater and had the heating back on! It started to rain on Thursday night and continued until Saturday afternoon. When it brightened up for a few hours late afternoon, I took the opportunity to visit Sebes reserve. The Storks were busy feeding their chicks and I got the shot below:

Stork with chicks, Sat 27th April

Stork with chicks, Sat 27th April 

Just a few hours after this photograph was taken, the rain started again and it continued relentlessly until well into Tuesday. The maximum temperatures on Sunday and Monday here in Mora were 7ºC and 10ºC and at elevations as low as 400 metres there was snow! By Wednesday, the weather front had passed and once more I went to the reserve, and learned the bad news about the stork chicks. The photo below is of the same nest as above – this time without chicks.

2 adult birds.

2 adult birds – looking a little forlorn

Almost every nest was the same. How sad. As I watched, some of the pairs were engaging in courtship behaviour and I saw one pair mating. I wonder whether they will manage to raise another brood? They don’t have much time because the young storks usually leave the nest and migrate in June so it will be interesting to see what happens.

In addition to the Storks I also read a report of 2 Bonelli’s Eagle chicks perishing last weekend. An endangered species in Europe, two nests with a total of three chicks were being observed by webcam in one of the Natural Parks in Barcelona Province. Of the three chicks, only one has survived the brutal weather of last weekend. Makes you wonder how many birds and other types of wildlife have perished.

Yesterday and today have been more like normal Spring weather with max temps of around 24ºC. Surely, this time – here to stay?

Other posts about Sebes Nature Reserve:

Sebes Nature Reserve

It’s Not all About the Storks!

A Perfect Start to the Day

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