RVDs Restored

The most famous inhabitants at the Calpe lagoon, Las Salinas, are Greater Flamingos. It has also been a reliable home for one somewhat salt tolerant species of dragonfly, Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii), affectionately known as RVDs, often being found in coastal situations. Las Salinas is at least brackish – there’s a clue in the name. I don’t know how salty the water normally is and the water does look appealing enough to taste. :D.

On my last visit to Calpe in June this year, there had been a problem with the water at the lagoon, which was then very low indeed. I was disturbed to find no sign of any Red-veined Darters. Had the water become too salty for them now? The Flamingos were still in residence but then they survive on Africa’s toxic soda lakes so they are hardly a good gauge.

Today I took an opportunity to visit Las Salinas again to see how things were. The water level looked much better so perhaps the problem had been sorted out. I couldn’t see Flamingos at first but, sure enough, there they were on the very far side of the lagoon. As I wandered along the southern edge of the lagoon, I still wasn’t seeing any dragonflies, though. Worrying.

J15B0427 Sympetrum fonscolombiiJ15B0433 Sympetrum fonscolombiiEventually, at a small promontory that sticks out a little further into the water, in some low vegetation a movement caught my eye. There were at least three Red-veined Darters flying and settling here. Relief. I snapped what I could. The all looked initially like females but you have to be careful, immature males have the same colouration and one of these was just that, an immature male [left].

J15B0437 Sympetrum fonscolombiiI had to wander someway further before I found a more mature, red-coloured male and even this one doesn’t look fully mature, with yellow still showing on his sides.

The lagoon at Calpe is, I think, the best place I know for photographing these beauties. The sun is behind you and there is usually a nice clear background, either the lagoon water of distant vegetation, in front of you. I was much relieved eventually to find RVDs in residence again.

Posted in 2015 Autumn

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