On Sunday I was halfway through the weekly shop at Sainsburys when I had a text from Matt telling me there was a Southern Emerald Damselfly in a localish dew pond.
I decided not to do what Matt had done when a rare bird had turned up when he was in a similar situation, abandoning the half full trolley in the middle of the shop and running out!! Instead I carried on and decided that as I was in the area the following day I would wait and hope it was still there.
So, on Monday I was to do my Wider Butterfly Survey, and this finished at the exact spot where I was hoping to see the damselfly.
As it was, it was the first thing I saw when I arrived at the dewpond. I managed to get some good views through the binoculars, but I decided I would need the longer lens on, so I changed lenses, and then the damselfly vanished. Of course, being such a rare insect I was keen to get at least a record shot so I kept on searching hoping it would re-appear.
After around 30 minutes it was suddenly there in front of me again. From then on it performed well for me until I decided to call it a day. By then I had managed several shots with both the telephoto and the macro lens. Being an Emerald Damselfly it typically held the wings out when settled, which makes it impossible to get the wings sharp. However, the diagnostic dark and light wing-spots were very obvious.
Well done to the person that originally found the damselfly on the Saturday. This is an extremely rare migrant damselfly and could well be the first Sussex record. Several have been found in Kent in recent years and apparently a few have also been seen in Hertfordshire, as with several migrant species of Dragonfly and Damselfly this is another that will probably soon be colonising this Country.
Southern Emerald Damselfly showing the two tone wing-spots.
Male Southern Emerald Damselfly.
Today, I decided to go and have another look for the damselfly, as the weather was a bit cooler and with some cloud about the lighting would be a little different. However, with a cool strong breeze blowing and heavier cloud while I was at the dewpond there was no sign of it.
On the way though I had a good hunt for Hawk Moth caterpillars. Generally this is a frustrating pastime and as usual I did struggle with just a few Looper larva spotted. I then came across a small group of Buff-tip larva which gave me a photo opportunity.
Buff-tip larva on Sallow.
On the return to where I had parked the car I had another search and eventually I found a half grown Poplar Hawk-moth larva.
Poplar Hawk-moth larva.