When a third of a region’s expected annual rainfall comes pouring down in under 12 hours, we could be forgiven for thinking that the apocalypse is coming to Spain.
As a wet front coming in from the Mediterranean hits the mountains of the Alcornacales Natural Park, it is being forced to unceremoniously dump its moisture on the Cork Oak cloud forest, turning roads into streams and reeking havoc as it tears through villages.
Coastal towns are being hit hard as the waters converge at the base of the hills. Parts of Tarifa were underwater, and there have been deaths in nearby Malaga. As a descendant of the Yorkshire town of Hebden Bridge, I am no stranger to scenes like these, but it doesn’t make them any easier to watch on the news.
Here at our base of Huerta Grande eco-lodge, it’s been torrential rain for 5 days straight and the Inglorious Bustards are preparing to reach for a hammer and chisel and the animal register.
Tucked up safe in our valley, we can only marvel at the tropical moisture-laden air and our beautiful bubbling stream which has by now become an awesometorrent.
There will be winners in Nature from this deluge as the soils, plants and streams are refreshed, Mediterranean Tree Frogs and Fiery Salamanders generally have a lovely time, and ground-feeding birds gather insects washed off the trees.
In the meantime we’ll sit and watch wintering Chiffchaffs valiantly looking for insects on the underside of leaves, and hope that we won’t have to shepherd Huerta Grande’s 126 recorded bird species two by two onto a shambolic Ark carved out of a fallen Cork Oak!