August 2013 broke our mould in several respects. Firstly, we were straying away from home during the height of rugrat season. Secondly, we would be experiencing the height of summer in Spain, our ultimate destination, for the very first time. Thirdly, rather than flying, we were re-using a missed ferry booking and driving the 1200 mls/1900 kms to Jalón, taking three days to complete the journey.
As we would otherwise be missing out on France this year, we took a slightly circuitous route down to Spain enabling us to call in at Arçais in the Marais Poitevin to visit friend Mike. We stayed two nights in a very frugally priced gîte (€20 each including breakfast) run by a former mayor and, on our full day there with him, Mike led us on one of his favourite walks through the marsh.
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As if it were needed, this visit really did stress the importance of visiting ones favourite haunts, of which this is most certainly one, at different times of the year. In a location that we have previously visited quite frequently, we added three new species to our list for this location. Most exciting of these for me was the addition of White Featherleg (Platycnemis latipes), since this seems to be the north-westernmost limit of its range. Hitherto, I had not realized that it could be found this far north.
The following is what we spotted this time around, rather than our complete hit list for Arçais.
- Winter Damselfly (Sympecma fusca) – NEW
- Blue-eye/Goblet-marked Damselfly (Erythromma lindenii)
- Blue Featherleg/White-legged Damselfly (Platycnemis pennipes)
- White Featherleg (Platycnemis latipes) – NEW
- Blue Emperor/Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator)
- Western Clubtail (Gomphus pulchellus)
- Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum)
- Southern Darter (Sympetrum meridionale) – NEW