Sun at last

2013-12-22 12.13.01 Jalon vineyardAfter a few days of damp weather that peaked towards indifferent, today dawned with crystal clear blue skies. We’d used the rubbish weather to seek out a half piglet for our freezer ready for the festivities but now we were looking forward to getting out into the surrounding countryside à pied. After a few necessary chores, I slung my camera and monopod over my shoulder and headed out into the vineyards lying between Jalón and Lliber [pronounced “Yee-bear”].

_MG_2061It really is amazing what difference a blue sky makes to ones demeanour. It makes a difference to the demeanour of the wildlife, too. I spotted a few Small White butterflies flitting around the hedgerows and lines of vines but I was toting my camera largely for the birds which are always there. Regrettably, the birds proved to be very skittish and always too far away, even with a 300mm lens plus 1.4 extender on a 1.6 crop factor camera body; I began to wonder why I’d bothered. The old vines still held a few small unwanted bunches of grapes. I don’t know if these were what the birds were after or whether their target were insects. Had I been able to identify them, maybe I’d have known their diet.

_MG_2070We continued back along the river towards Jalón, always keeping eyes open for dragonflies. Normally at this time in late December I wouldn’t have been concerned about dragonflies but host Chris claimed to have seen one fly through his garden not too long before we arrived. Other than a few more Small Whites in the surrounding fields, though, the river appeared deserted.

Back in Jalón, we headed for Casa Aleluya in search of a coffee. We wandered past a small pool in the river that seemed to be something of a sun trap and our eyes caught some movement. Lo and behold, not only dragonflies but ovipositing dragonflies. The path was too far away but a lengthy diversion and scramble over some of the river rocks got me to within shooting distance – Common Darters (Sympetrum striolatum), unsurprisingly, they are late season specialists, after all. Given that fellow Odo-nutters had been spotting Common Darters in Hampshire in the earlier days of December, I supposed I shouldn’t have been surprised that there was still activity this much further south in Spain. Curiously, I had not found this species here in August.

J01_4574 Common Darters ovipJ01_4587 Common Darter

Toting my camera was a wise decision after all.

Posted in 2013 Spanish Xmas
One comment on “Sun at last
  1. Blasr says:

    Good grief, there is somewhere warm & dry still left in Europe! Clever Darters making the most of it.

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