A local excursion this morning was the order of the day with
a meet up with Jason Moule to have a look for Southern Emerald Damselfly at
Cliffe Pools in the sweltering heat of a cloudless sky.
There was somewhat more footwork than
expected due to a geographically misplaced Mr Moule but it gave us the chance
to check out the burgeoning Brambles and their attendant swarms of Common Blue
Damsels, Commas, Meadow Browns, Bumble Bees, common Hoverflies and a few Andrenas.
High pitched whining made us both say Shrill Carder bee but
we were wrong and it was in fact Anthophora
bimaculata – the Little Flower Bee making all the noise. Many of them were zooming from bloom to bloom
and taking a picture was quite tricky. A
slightly larger rusty Anthophora without
green eyes and that tell tale orange tip to the tail pointed to A.furcata that I saw in Ranscombe the
|Little Flower Bee - (Anthophora
bimaculata and an Eristalis tenax hoverfly|
I found my first Syritta pipiens of the year and there were
several Eristalinus aeneus nectaring too.
|Eristalis tenax |
| Eristalinus aeneus - you can just make out tat only the top half of the eyes are hairy|
Med Gulls drifted overhead with the Black-heads on their way
back from the chalk pits where they go for a freshwater bath and it was a joy
to be surrounded by that now common call of a Kentish Summer.
|Med Gulls |
Marbled Whites and Small Tortoiseshells were seen and
Skippers, Whites and the odd Red Admiral and Peacock added more butterfly
The Radar Pool had flocks of just fledged Black-headed Gulls
interacting all over it and we rescued one from the path and projected it back
to the relative safety of the water.
Common Terns dipped for fish and Sedge and Reed Warblers, Blackcaps and
Whitethroats were singing well from the ditches and bushes.
|Radar Pool looking towards DP World|
Teneral Ruddy Darters were hunting the Brambles for insects
with their golden wings shining in the sunshine and two Black-tailed Skimmers,
two Blue-eyed Hawkers and an Emperor were also seen and the scent coming off a huge bank of native Honeysuckle was intoxicating.
|Pyramidal Orchids - huge blooms for this species!|
|If only this was a scratch and sniff photo...|
It is now quite tricky to see into the damselfly ditches and
Jason had just commented that Southern Emerald Damsels will often sit up in dry juncus
away from water ‘like this patch in the middle of the path’ when one appeared
right in front of him.
The white-black-white pterostigma were the first feature
that we looked for. What a cracking Damselfly and my first since sometime in
the early 1990s (I think) on a long hot walk with Adrian and Hazel Kettle on
one of the sandwich Bay Golf Courses.
|Southern Emerald Damselfly|
|Southern Emerald Damselfly|
A Scarce Emerald briefly stopped in the same patch and we
then found a male Common Emerald on the not so onerous walk back.
|Tubular Water Dropwort (Oenanthe fistulosa) - I reckon!|
From here we drove the short way back to Cliffe Woods and
followed a path into Chattenden Woods in the search of Purple Emperors. Our
path led us to two fine Oaks – one English and one Turkuy and this is where
several had been seen in recent days by Frank.
The Master Oak was indeed just that and situated about 50 yards further
We both commented that it almost looked unreal, with major branches as if drawn
by a child. It was very open and airy
but the closeness of the path precluded much chance to check the canopy so we
walked a bit further on and bumped into Bob Knight who was watching White
Admirals and orange Silver Washed Fritillaries before the Oaks drew us
|Silver Washed Fritillary|
Shortly after midday Jason got his
wish and we had some great views as several Purple Emperors glided on stiff
wings around the oak opposite. The light
was perfect and it was a thrill to see this magisterial butterfly so close to
It was pushing 30c so we called it a day and went our
separate ways pleased with a ‘played for a got’ morning out in the field.
Another fab write up. If you want to meet up for a walk next week (any day but Tues) just let me know. Happy to learn about all aspects of wildlife.ReplyDelete
Will let you know Rich but sounds goodDelete