Francine and I popped in to Calpe to see how the Las Salinas lagoon might be doing. There’s been quite a bit of development going on around it and the ground seems to be suffering, partly from being churned up and partly from discarded rubble. Things appeared a little worse when we arrived.
There was also a old palm tree that, standing taller than other vegetation, served as a useful landmark when searching for the start of the one modest boardwalk. It seemed to be dying on our last visit, presumably from being attacked by the accursed imported red weevil. It was now completely dead; a sad loss.
Maybe because there were few flowers, given the churned up ground, there was a distinct lack of butterflies, though one or two flitted by. Things were quiet until Francine spotted a female Red-veined Darter feeding beside the track near the lagoon side. She looked very fresh, unsurprisingly at the beginning of the season.
We were really here looking for signs of Bee Orchids at a spot we knew there to be a small colony. What Francine found sent her over the moon. There were no signs of her Bee Orchids, though it is very early for them, but there were a couple of stems of an orchid completely new for us, what we believe is a Small-flowered Serapia or Small-flowered Tongue-orchid (Serapias parviflora). Certainly, the flowers were diminutive, being less than a centimetre each. The stems stood about 12cms high, I’d say. You can’t beat something completely new. 🙂
Near the dead palm tree site, Francine did find some signs of orchids past on ground that we had not previously searched so this was noted for earlier in another year.
On our way back out of the walk, we spotted a maturing male Red-veined Darter – maturing because it is not yet quite fully red. It wasn’t far from the female, who was still on station, so let’s hope that they manage to get together. 😉
With a new orchid for the collection, we left very happy campers despite the worrying problems that Las Salinas might be experiencing. We’ve since seen some mention of plans for better footpaths so maybe things will improve.