Refuge Attempt

Having suffered from swarming humanity yesterday, but having previously had a relatively calm and successful visit to the marjal de Pego-Oliva, today we thought we’d try another one of our wildlife haunts, another marsh, the marjal de Gandia. It’s up the coast a step towards Valencia.

Our route out would take us past Ondara. The former Eroski supermercado there has recently been taken over by Carrefour and I’d seen something on their website that implied it was open on festivals, like this Easter Sunday. The Carrefour n Benidorm certainly is open on Sundays and festivals but any alternative to Benidorm would be a welcome addition. We’d call in to check it out.

Well, that was quick: firmly shut. In case of emergency, resort to Benidorm, still. Bother! (At east you only have to pop off the autopista and can avoid the town itself.)

We found our way to Gandia and parked. There’s a rough stone track that we have to saunter down to access the area of interest. It’s usually traffic free. Today, however, a few cars headed in but had to make way for a few other cars heading out. Curious. We did spot some Common Bluetails (Ischnura elegans) hovering about in one of the watery ditches while we waited for the vehicles to sort themselves out. The cars cleared and we continued. More curious.

Rounding a curve in the track, ahead of us near the main entrance, we spotted a lot of parked cars. Passing a few more Bluetails, we eventually arrived and the entrance to find masses of parked cars. Many of the massed parked cars were disgorging people armed with chairs, tables and cool boxes, etc. Oh dear. On Easter Sunday, my little wildlife haven had become a picnic ground for the population of Spain.

J17_0709 Uid HoverflyApproaching the first of two modest lakes, every piece of grass was home to a family out enjoy lunch al fresco in the sun. Fair enough; it was just an unexpected shock. We’ve never seen the Spanish out picnicking en masse before. We picked our way through them studying the margins of the first lake but found nothing more than the good ol’ Bluetails. Well, I did find a nice hoverfly to play with, as yet unidentified.

J17_0715 Crocothemis erythraea, I thinkHaving drawn what essentially amounted to a blank and with massed humanity disturbing much of the nature, I almost didn’t bother with the second lake. We did look, though, and it’s a good job we did. I soon scared up a teneral dragonfly with very shiny wings. Fortunately, it was so freshly emerged that it didn’t fly far so I could snap it. It’s a female Broad Scarlet (Crocothemis erthraea).

J17_0721 disappearing EmperorOut over the lake, we spotted a couple of Blue Emperors (Anax imperator) cruising back and forth hunting. The wind was not in a favourable direction (they tend to fly into the wind) so they never faced me but I did get an id shot of one flying away from me, enough to distinguish it from a coupe of congeners.

So, not a complete waste in the end. As we drove away, the stream of traffic heading, I imagine, for the beaches, was extraordinary – I hope it was heading for the beaches because the marjal de Gandia was already most certainly full up.

Bloody religious festivals. 😀

Posted in 2017-Spring Spain

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