The first week of our holiday was a wash-out, poor weather and a car crash put paid to that. Once we were mobile again we finally got down to Île de Ré for our 'week on the beach' with friends. This worked well and had the added wildlife bonus of a crack at the small Atlantic population of Lestes macrostigma. These enigmatic brackish-tolerant damselflies are found here in dense stands of sedges in old salt pans and were only recently discovered on the Atlantic coast of France. With such narrow habitat preferences and a naturally low density I was not exactly filled with confidence.
I need not have worried though because on our first bike ride, I stopped at the first suitable looking 'pool' and waded in to the vegetation, quickly finding that Lestes barbarus were abundant and turning up a fine male Lestes macrostigma. The 'pool' was as dry as a bone but the barbarus were busy ovipositing all the same. Nothing like optimism. This patch of habitat was in fact unusual and we only found one other like it during the week and this did not produce macrostigma despite extensive searching. A return to the original site produced a pair of macrostigma the next day and I left the island feeling rather pleased with myself.
My last European Lestes species - a female Lestes macrostigma - a splendid animal and hard to find on the Île de Ré.