With an overcast day in prospect and chores having taken up a fair chunk of the morning, we thought we’d head over the mountains south to investigate the Fonts de L’Algar, a tourist attraction/trap waterfall uncomfortably close to Benidorm. Since it’s only early May and Benidorm may not have got into gear yet, perhaps things wouldn’t be too bad. Water tends to flow fast near waterfalls so I wasn’t expecting much but I took my camera along just in case.
Getting up to the top of the mountain pass at the coll de Rates meant negotiating swarms of cyclists making their way up, too. Bravo chaps but lengthy strings of relatively slow moving cycles can be a bit of a challenge on roads with many hairpin bends. The view from near the top down over Alcalalí was worth testing the patience, though.
Descending the opposite side towards Callosa was easier and, after missing a weird Spanish junction affair once, we finally arrived at some attended parking (€3) for the Fonts de L’Algar.
Expecting little, I didn’t have my camera out and ready as we approached. Our path in took us beside a very small concrete drainage canal, about half a metre wide. I immediately spotted two tussling dragonflies locked, literally, in combat. I didn’t immediately recognize them – they just looked a bit stripy – and stared mesmerized instead of getting my rucksack off and camera out. Eventually I woke up by which time they’d disappeared. Kicking myself, we continued towards the ticket booth (€4 each)
Right beside the ticket kiosk Francine spotted what I was pretty sure was a female Copper Demoiselle (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis) sitting on a particularly unattractive bright yellow, plastic control barrier. I snapped it for the record but what a yucky shot that would be. I was right, though, the unmistakable male soon perched in the nearby tree. As I was snapping away and getting close to admire this wonderfully coloured creature, it took a shine to my camera atop the extended tripod and perched on the hot-shoe. This was clearly not a camera shy Calopteryx.
This was only the second time I’d encountered these beautiful critters – the others were in Provence – so I was already very content, especially considering all the blanks we’d drawn so far in Spain. Given the torrential nature of the water here, I was very surprised, though. Easily pleased, some people.
With this luck, I almost didn’t bother with the €8 to get us both in. I couldn’t honestly bring Francine this close and not take her in, though. It’s a good job I did, because we soon found an Emperor (Anax imperator) zooming about over a pool of water at the top of the falls. despite my waiting patiently, that one didn’t cooperate but I did manage to snag a distant flight shot, good enough for identification, of another individual further up the falls. (This is a 1/16th crop of the full frame.)
On our way back down, another dragon landed on the ground close by. I’m pretty sure this is a Blue-eyed Hooktail (Onychogomphus uncatus). I was also now pretty sure these were the characters we’d seen tussling on our way in.
At least this little haul indicated that things are, indeed, more advanced this far south, if only one knew where to look. This place was a very pleasant surprise.