Given the atrocious spring weather being suffered by the UK this spring, we were delighted to be asked to pop over to Spain to look after our favourite perrito [little dog] and house in Jalón between 24th April and 11th May. This is a gig that we’ve done several times before but our previous trips have been in either winter or early spring, so dragonflies have not been a realistic option. With the season being about to start in the UK, at last with this trip, maybe I’d find some Odos in Spain, though I wasn’t approaching this as a specifically dragonfly-oriented visit.
The Spanish weather started badly – it seemed to have taken an unwelcome cue from England – but it eventually settled down, Finding suitable habitat locations in Spain by staring at a map and looking for bodies of fresh water is tricky, too – there don’t appear to be many. On a couple of suitable days, though, we id stumble across just a couple of locations where I got lucky.
View Dragonfly Sites, Spain in a larger map
The first of my two locations was a bit of a surprise, initially. On the Costa Blanca coast at Calpe is Las Salinas, which is a salt water lagoon whose most noted inhabitants are Greater Flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber). However, there are a bunch of other interesting birds and the surrounding scrub tends to attract butterflies, too. Being salt water, these attractions were really why we were there. Part way round our walk through the scrubland, though, I was surprised to disturb a pair, one male and one female, of Red-veined Darters.
- Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii)
Les Fonts de L’Algar are a tourist attraction/trap waterfall uncomfortably close to Benidorm. It’s been on our “potentially interesting diversion” list for a while but we’d hitherto never made it. Since it was now only early May and Benidorm may not have got into gear yet, we were hoping things wouldn’t be too bad. Water tends to flow fast near waterfalls so I wasn’t expecting much but I took my camera along just in case.
Good job I did, too! As we approached the tourist trap, we spotted a couple of medium sized dragonflies tussling on a concrete walkway but failed to identify them. Then, even before paying the entrance fee, I was thrilled to spot Copper Demoiselles (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis) perching near the ticket kiosk. This was only my second encounter with these stunningly coloured creatures, one of which decided that my monpod-mounted camera made an advantageous perch.
Once inside, we saw a couple of Emperor Dragonflies/Bluer Emperors (Anax imperator) and a Blue-eyed Hooktail/Large Pincertail (Onychogomphus uncatus), which Is what I suspect we’d seen tussling on our approach.