I’ve been keeping an eye on the weather forecast to try and time a run down to see hw wildlife is doing at the Parque Natural el Hondo, south of Alicante. Today looked good so we left around 09:00, which would put us at Hondo by about 10:30.
Things looked quiet at first with just Common Bluetails (Ischnura elegans); swarms of ‘em but “just” Common Bluetails. Then, from right beside the lake, I scared a darter up into its maiden flight. At this time of year it just had to be a Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) but I followed it and snagged it just to conform what I already knew.
With Francine rapidly passing through the hot spot for mosquitos, we wandered along the excellent boardwalk with nothing further of interest.. On our return trip Francine did spot a lonely single Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope) but it disappeared before I could see it.
The mudflats on the other side of the lake produced more immature Red-veined Darters but that was essentially it for our visit. The species were not surprising but I really expected to see more activity, particularly on the Emperor front.
I had been planning to investigate a new location that was apparently home to Winter Damsels (Sympecma fusca), the Lagunas de Rebassa, just inland from Alicante. However, examining the map, Francine found another spot intriguingly named the Clot de Galvany. The size of water looked favourable and it was quite close so we headed for that instead.
Finding the entrance was a challenge. A sign on the perimeter fence proclaimed pedestrian access in 50m. We missed it. After a few hundred metres we backtracked. We’d missed it because it was beside a vehicle access but hidden behind the hedge. Duh!
Once inside, the habitat looked good. Unfortunately for dragonfly hunters, the smaller water bodies are surrounded by dense wattle fences so viewing and access were impossible. This was clearly managed with birdlife and twitchers in mind: a single bird hide built into the otherwise solid fencing enabled viewing at each pond; viewing of birds, that is. The odos are clearly a side issue; only if they fly in front of the bird hide are you able to see them. A mature Red-veined Darter did pose in the right location and a couple of Black-tailed Skimmers landed on the ground outside the water body. Unsurprisingly, the usual Common Bluetails and Lesser Emperors also put in appearances. Nice place but better viewing facilities for odos, please.
On our way back towards Jalón, we did make an exploratory exit of the autovia at Alicante looking for the Lagunas de Rebassa. However, missing the correct traffic light controlled junction, we got tied in a maze of one-way streets and failed to find our way through to the site. At least we know where we went wrong, though.
Next time, perhaps.