22 July 2012
Cliffe Pools, RSPB
|The wader roost at Cliffe|
After a full day laying a new oak floor in the studio on Saturday I needed a rest. I intended to head back to Oare for the high tide at 14:30, after a short walk out to the Cliffe track here I had seen Southern Emerald Damselfly last summer. I parked near the village and walked out - a good decision with huge pools and puddles in the many potholes along the track. Despite the beautiful sunshine I was surprised by the lack of butterflies and dragonflies along the main track. A Greenshank and a Green Sandpiper were feeding on the edge of the Radar Pool and a few Little Egret were evident out on the islands where Black-headed Gulls and Common Terns were still noisily breeding.
The Black Barn pool was very full, but the next two pools hosted a couple of hundred Black-tailed Godwit, the usual Avocets, nine Greenshank and four Ruff. Along the damselfly path with a little help I managed to find my first ever Scarce Emerald Damselflies. They were feeding low down on the far side of a ditch and sitting occasionally on some reedy stems, but never really close enough. Managed some reasonable shots with the 400mm zoom without falling in the ditch.
|Male Scarce Emerald Damselfly|
Further along I checked the grassy area where I found last year's Southern Emerald, but with no luck. Returning to the start of the bank I found a female Emerald sitting on a woody stem. It allowed some images at close range with the macro lens. I wasn't sure at the time but with the help of the brilliant Birdguides dragonfly ID app and some zoomed up images I am confident its a female Scarce Emerald Damselfly.
|Female Scarce Emerald Damselfly|
With the tide rising I headed back along the track noting similar birds on the pools. I checked the ditches near the Black Barn trying in vain to find a Common Emerald Damselfly, instead enjoying good views of a smart Marbled White butterfly, a distant Water Vole and a Small Red-eyed Damselfly.
|Small Red-eyed Damselfly|
|Avocets arriving to roost|