After the last few days of 'Is it a Scarce Emerald Damselfly or not', I looked at a number of photos on the internet last night and looked back through some of my photos of this species from last year, as well as reading up on some of the key features of Scarce Emerald. The weather forecast was not that great this morning, cloudy until mid morning but the wind had almost completely dropped out. I decided on an early morning visit to the private site near Reculver where I arrived at 5.30am. As I walked up to the lake, spiders webs were glistening with dew so on arrival at the lake, I decided to look for some early morning damselflies. At first the grasses looked empty but after getting your eye in, I soon picked out at number of Azure, Common Blue and Blue tailed Damselflies. I got into a position and took a few shots and whilst looking around, noticed a teneral Emerald Damselfly climbing up a stem near me. Its surprising how 'orangey' these are and I took a few photos which I will post in due course throughout the week. Moving on I searched the margins for any emerging dragonflies and soon found two newly emerged Emperor Dragonflies. One was still resting low down with its wings closed but the other was drying out and looked stunning in the early morning light as the sun caught the wet wings. A few more photos taken and I moved off once again.
Emperor Dragonfly (female)
A few Common Darter flew off as I walked through the grasses and I arrived where I had been seeing most of the Emeralds. I spent the next couple of hours searching carefully and eventually whilst looking at a Common Darter, a chunky Emerald landed nearby. I scrutinised it for a while with the binoculars and camera and noted some of the features for Scarce: no isolated spot, squares on S1, chunky appearance and long ovipositor. This, I was confident was a female Scarce Emerald Damselfly. I took a few photos of her and after a while, moved on in search of a male.
Scarce Emerald Damselfly (female)
More time spent looking through thousands of Blue tailed Damselflies as well as good numbers of Common Blue and Azure Damselflies paid dividend when I found a male at rest. One of the clinching features with the male Scarce Emerald is the inner anal appendages. In Emerald they are narrow and relatively straight but in Scarce Emerald, they are broad and curved in, rather like the base of a hockey stick. I managed to get nice views of them and they were indeed curved and broad. This was excellent news and it got better when I found a teneral Scarce Emerald Damselfly, this time I managed a kind of in focus shot of the curved inner anal appendages to confirm identification.
Scarce Emerald Damselfly (Immature male)
'Teneral' Scarce Emerald Damselfly (male)
Scarce Emerald Damselfly (male anal appendages)
3 Scarce Emerald Damselflies, what a result and with the teneral, pretty much proof that they have bred here. Fingers crossed that a small colony can now establish itself and thrive there. I would like to think I can make more visits there in the coming weeks and photograph a mature male on site, that would be good. With nearly 5 hours passed, I walked back slowly where I paused to view the lake and have a drink. 2 Emperor Dragonfly were patrolling as well as 6 Black tailed Skimmer noted. Despite the lack of sun which did appear for my last 30 minutes, a superb session once again. The Scarce Emerald Damselfly is a rare damselfly nationally so to have some near home is a real bonus. I shall post more shots from today throughout the week, hopefully I might get down to Westbere Lakes again to see and photograph the Norfolk Hawkers and capture a few magic moments.