A Look Upstream

Yesterday I confined my Odo hunting activities to the rock pools in the river as it flows through Jalón itself. With another day of wall to wall sunshine and temperatures topping out at 33°C, I thought I’d try my more usual haunt upstream towards Alcalalí.

My first port of call showed yet more Lesser Emperors (Anax parthenope) and Epaulet Skimmers (Orthetrum chrysostigma) doing what Odos do in the sunshine: hunt for food and couple to reproduce. Those two things are all that’s important biologically, food and sex. Neither species was being particularly cooperative but I did manage a distant shot of a perched Lesser Emperor.

Further upstream I saw more of the same with a scattering of the ubiquitous Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii) thrown in. This spot isn’t a great position for photographs, though, being high and looking down on the subjects.

Still further up was a pool close to my heart because it’s where I first saw a Violet Darter (Trithemis annulata) in Spain. I fought my way through a thicket of bamboo to get there again. Water, water everywhere. Yikes! There was precious little dry land for me to stand on but stand on it I did. Yet more Lesser Emperors and Epaulet Skimmers.

J15B0332 Anax parthenope maleI was keen on the Lesser Emperors, though, because they did seem to be perching every now and then. We have only two photos of them in our collection and good ol’ Francine snagged those. These seemed to perch only briefly, though, and my first attempts to bring the camera to bear were too pedestrian and failed. Eventually, I did see one land but it was behind intervening vegetation. I managed to focus on it and use the vegetation as a sort of old-fashioned centre-spot filter. I liked the effect. So, it seems, do many others ‘cos I got several complimentary web comments. 😉

J15B0337 Anax parthenope ovipositingI stood for some time watching and waiting. I saw what I thought was a couple of paired Lesser Emperors fly past but flight shots proved too difficult. Finally, a pair settled in the water close by and I did manage to capture them ovipositing, albeit with poor lighting conditions. These later turned out to be not Lesser Emperors but Vagrant Emperors (Anax ephippiger). Far from being concerned about my error, I’m delighted not only to have a third new species but also to have captured it on pixels. 🙂

J15B0345 Desert Darter maleI kept watching and eventually called it a day, here. I wanted to go and check on the two new species I’d found yesterday so I returned to the rock pools in town. I soon found my Desert Darter (Sympetrum sinaiticum) and today he was posing much more advantageously. By twisting myself all shapes and getting down low on the rocks, I managed to snag several better shots with a good, clear background.

Of my other new friend, the Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi), there was today no sign. In fact, there was no activity where I’d found him, yet yesterday there were at least four species at that location. It’s curious how things can be so different on two adjacent and similar days.

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One comment on “A Look Upstream
  1. Franco says:

    Oops, correction!

    The ovipositing pair in this post are NOT Lesser Emperors (Anax parthenope) but are Vagrant Emperors (Anax ephippiger), as has been pointed out by some of my Spanish Odo-nutter friends.

    This is a third new species for me in the two days I’ve been out looking. Being over the same pool as the genuine Lesser Emperor (the arty shot), I simply and incorrectly assumed these chaps were the same species.

    Both species have a distinctive blue “saddle” on S2 but I see it now and will cognisant of the differences should I see them again.

    Many thanks to my more observant Spanish friends. 😉

    [Text corrected.]

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