Poor Francine has had to return to the UK for the classic family emergency. I dropped her at Alicante airport last night for a dreadful 11:50 PM flight back to Luton getting in at 1:20 AM. Strewth!. Dropping Francine off went fine but then I managed to miss my north-bound slip road onto the autopista and ended up going south for two more exits before I could turn around. (The first exit muttered things like “A31” and “Madrid” so I thought I should avoid that. Everything looks different in the dark. I flipped a U-turn and got home eventually and Francine was on her way shortly thereafter.
I’m left here with the car and, next week, a dog to look after. It’s a lousy job but someone has to do it. Today I am being descended upon for dinner. Before that, I decided to use the sunshine to investigate the Jalón river for potential Odos.
Since the river was all but dry on our last visit, I was surprised to see a very healthy amount of water. There has been quite a bit of rain in Spain during August, unusually. It’s still more of a series of pools than a flow but it looked quite healthy. So did the Odo populations.
The first things I spotted were several Epaulet Skimmers (Orthetrum chrysostigma) and a lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope), though the latter was definitely not in the mood for a photograph. Eventually I got a decent shot of the skimmer, though, when one decided to pose with a sense of theatre.
A darter caught my eye. There are lots of Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii) around but this looked more like a Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum) but a little different. I snagged it on pixels and dared to dream what it might be. Sure enough, I’d had my first ever brush with a Desert Darter (Sympetrum sinaiticum). I know it’s sad but I was beside myself.
I came to Spain this time with a target in mind, intent on making up for what has been a lousy summer in northern Europe. I wanted to see an Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi). I had even researched a place just north of Valencia, about two hours away, where I might find them. As it turned out, there, just down the Jalón river a little way and perching, as advertised, on a rock beside the water, was a delightfully bright orange-winged creation. I had my second new species of the day, the one I was after, right on my doorstep. Ecstatic! Ground shots aren’t the best but this seems to be what this species likes to do.
I returned to push my luck even further by preparing dinner for 6 using a recipe I’d never done before on a bit of cooking kit I’d never used before. It all seemed to go swimmingly well, I’m relieved to say.