Stormy Weather / Tempesta Inesperada

[English below.] Hace una semana, cuando fuimos a la parcela vimos estos chiquillos medio escondiditos, debajos del pecho de su madre. No nos fue posible ver cuantos más podría haber tenido ella por allí abajo. Nos fuimos contentos pensando que en un par de días estaría todo claro.
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El día siguiente es cuando llovío (medimos unos 65 mm). A ningún labrador de secano le viene mal la lluvia, y de hecho, el pulgón que estaba bastante mal ya se comienza a bajar después de tanta buena lavada. Pero… cuando volvimos el día después de la lluvia, la perdiz roja había desaparecido y los bebecitos también. Lo único que quedó fueron 8 cáscaras de huevos de los nacidos y tres enteros que no salieron.
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¡AYYYY!! Cuanto me habría yo gustado la idea de convertirnos en refugio silvestre, con una docena de perdicitos por todos lados comiéndome las garrapatas todas, que este año ha sido una infestación brutal. Buscamos pero no encontramos huella. Nunca vimos tampoco el macho y como estos aves suelen preparar dos nidos, a lo mejor allí han tenido mejor suerte en otro lugar.

Saturday a week ago when we went to the farm we spotted tiny baby birds peeking out from under our partridge; in all we spotted three, but we couldn’t see how many more she might have tucked under her. Content in our new status as wildlife refugee we cycled home, but in the course of the night, a big storm hit. What farmer isn’t happy when it rains? That’s particularly true for this area of Valencia which seems to be experiencing changing weather patterns, such that the typical strong pulses of cold rain along the Mediterranean coast of Spain in October may come late or not at all. This year we waited until January for a single storm of about 100 mm (4 inches).

There tends to be another chance in March/April. The season of 2016-17 was extraordinary, with three massive storms in December that totalled 564 mm (22 inches), another 167 mm (6.5 inches) in January and 138 mm (5.5 inches) again in March. This completely recharged the groundwater aquifer in our valley that had been sorely depleted by a couple of years of drought and flood irrigation.

But I digress. Sunday’s storm brought us a respectable 65 mm (2.5 inches), which is atypical for June. And the red partridge, when we checked on Monday, had abandoned her nest with eight (of eleven) eggs hatched. Neither she nor her 8 chicks were anywhere to be found, nor was there any sign of foul play, and a week later, the three unhatched eggs remain in the nest, which is odd as we definitely have snakes on the farm, though we haven’t seen much sign of the fox for at least half a year. I was so looking forward to the chicks cleaning the area of ticks which have been really brutal this year. There isn’t a day we don’t get back from the farm without discovering at least a couple crawling around on our clothing. But I have to say the relatively cloudy, cooler weather this last month is a welcome break from the brutal Spanish sun.