|Woodland the colour of orioles (Martin Kelsey)|
|Glow-worm (Patrick Kelsey)|
|Golden Oriole (John Hawkins)|
For most of us this has been the wettest and coolest late spring that we can remember. The orchids have been extraordinary, with the late flowering species taking full advantage of such favourable conditions. Our very special variety of Bee Orchid, Ophrys apifera var. almaracenis, known only from a few sites close to the town of Almaráz is been putting on a glorious show at the moment.
|The Almaraz Bee Orchid (Martin Kelsey)|
But there have been losers as well. The long spell of cold weather and heavy rain struck at a critical time for many birds, especially those with chicks in the nest. Ángel Sanchez, the Director of Conservation here in Extremadura has advised us that perhaps half of the breeding pairs of Bonelli's Eagles have lost their chicks this year - and this is a species already showing poor breeding success because of shortages of prey. Ground-nesting birds will also have fared badly. May this year has been extraordinarily dramatic, with ink-black skies and billowing colours. The landscape pounds with vigour. Now as summer approaches we have a heady aftermath.
|Mid-May 2016: storms over the plains near Trujillo (Martin Kelsey)|