Season’s First

The sun was shining in a clear blue sky; my favourite conditions. We thought we could try our usual leg-loosening walk up to the cross above and behind Senija, but we began by calling into a breakfast bar in Jalon for coffee and tostadas con tomate – toasted baguette spread with crushed tomato and drizzled with olive oil and salt. By the time we got there it would do us for brunch.

Before continuing to Senija it would be rude not to check out the local river to see if any odonata might yet have put in an appearance. At first things look quiet but clambering up to an access point to overlook a back pool, I was delighted to see a Blue Emperor (Anax imperator) cruising back and forth. He wasn’t stopping for pictures, though.

We headed off towards Senija which meant driving through Lliber. The road through Lliber was cordoned off, though, with a diversion through its narrow side streets. A run/walk was in progress but after only a short delay we emerged on the far side of the village and continued.

We drove into Senija only to find that the road in which we needed to park was also blocked. Senija was hosting a mountain bike event. I guess it just wasn’t our day.

Following swarms of road cyclists back through Jalon we decided to try retreating to the Marjal de Pego-Oliva in the hope that somewhere more rural might prove quieter. Mercifully it did. It would, after all, have been a shame to waste all our lovely sunshine. There was another car parked but it gave it a wide berth (we have a brand new rental car) and set off on foot.

Francine soon spotted a Common Bluetail (Ischural elegans) flitting about on the far side of one stream. I snagged it as best I could, i.e. not very well.

Continuing along the river we found more Bluetails and a couple of Lesser Emperors (Anax parthenope) who were definitely not pausing to pose for pictures.

J18_1861 Egyptian GrasshopperWe took a different track thinking that we might find the so-called Font Salada, a pool supposedly warm all year round, about which we’d been told. We’d seen a sign pointing to it on a previous visit so this time we followed the sign and walked further. We saw no more odonata on this stretch but we did see an Egyptian Grasshopper ovipositing in the track.

Eventually, we came to a bridge and the dividing of the ways. Was there another sign indicating the direction of the Font Salada? No, of course not. I do hate signing that doesn’t continue to the destination; it’s so frustrating. Uncertain of which of the three directions to take, we began our return wander. We’ll have to resort to Google Earth.

J18_1862 Western Clubtail femaleThings remained relatively dull until a freshly emerged dragonfly fluttered across the path and settled in the grass opposite. I managed a single shot, albeit with some grass across one wing, before it took to the air again. I tried to track it but lost it in the vegetation. It was an immature female Western Clubtail (Gomphus pulchellus) which, I am now told, is quite a rare find in the Alicante region.

That made the day.

Posted in 2018-04 Spain

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