For our April 2018 count, that is.
On a pleasant Saturday with a little cloud cover that appeared to be clearing, we headed back to my favourite close spot for dragonflies, the Marjal de Pego-Oliva.Francine had seen a new spot with a bird hide that could be worth investigating. “Why not?”, we thought.
We parked at a gravel lane and set off on foot down the 800m track to towards the bird hide. First species encountered was the ubiquitous Common Bluetail (Ischnura elegans). Shortly afterwards, though, we saw our first couple of “crocs”, Broad Scarlet (Crocothemis erythraea). I took some time snagging a fluttery immature male, not yet red. The poor thing had one malformed wing, its right fore-wing, which probably explained its apparent reluctance to fly far.
Further on I spotted what I assumed to be another but, once seen through my lens, this was obviously another immature male, this time a magnificently perfect Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata). I just love these characters and the dramatic colour change that the males go through to get to their mature gaudy pink is quite startling. [The mature pink male is from last year.]
Once we got to the boardwalk leading to the bird hide, things quietened down a little; there were certainly no birds from which to hide. Most of our interest had been along the track leading to it. The boardwalk was very well done, though. We were particularly taken with his sign encouraging observation without interference.
We returned to the car to transfer to the parking spot for our favourite river on the northern boundary of the reserve. Actually, this proved strangely quiet. There was no sign of either of those two new species that we’d seen on the way to the bird hide, oddly. Conditions were quite windy, though. What we did see was a Blue Emperor (Anax imperator) which occasionally took a dive at a patrolling Green-eyed Hawker, a.k.a. Norfolk Hawker (Aeshna isoceles). Neither this one, nor any of the other 10 or so that we saw, were intent on settling so it was in-flight or not at all.
I had been wondering if we’d see Green-eyed Hawkers before we returned home and so we did. Always a delight.