I’ve been meaning to investigate a local spot for odes, a place that I bird regularly. Today I did and this time I was armed with my net, normally a cumbersome appendage that I miss dragonflies with, today (8/23/16) I was more successful. The trail is on Cape Sable Island, Shelburne Co, and is known as the Cripple Creek Beach Trail. Essentially it is just a rough path to Clam Point beach from Cripple Creek Wharf. It has a barachois pool and several tidal pools. Previous visits had seen me frustrated by inexhaustible darners, today I was earlier in the day and lucked in with a couple of emeralds and photographed a darner.
Emeralds can be tricky to identify, mainly because we have no illustrated guide along the Peterson line, instead we have mainly a collection of photographic guides which often fail to quite capture the insect you are looking at. Luckily the emeralds I found today have diagnostic appendages, although, even then you have to double-check everything.
The first insect I caught was a male Incurvate Emerald. It hung on a trail side branch long enough to photograph, then a swish had it in the net and being photographed in the hand. This is the first male I’ve ever seen following a recent female over our house (nearby), see previous posts for details.
A little further on this darner clung to a branch and was far enough away not to flush. Seeing the side of the thorax is the key to most darner identification. The thoracic stripes are pretty clear here and make the identification of Shadow Darner easy.
In another area of the trail I was trying to catch Seaside Dragonlets, several of which were around ATV (All Terrain Vehicles or awful toerag vandals, your choice) damaged saltmarsh. I did get a female (here) but then got distracted by a hawking emerald sp.
This female Clamp-tipped Emerald made several passes before landing where I could creep up on it. I again got photos before swinging the net, my net-work is less than stellar but getting better. The abdomen tip is diagnostic here.
I’d only encountered one Clamp-tipped Emerald anywhere before this one, so it was especially pleasing to see, photograph and net it.
Other species recorded on the ramble were: White-faced Meadowhawk; Green Darner; Wandering Glider; Spot-winged Glider; Twelve-spotted Skimmer; Ruby/Cherry-faced Meadowhawk and a bluet sp, probably Familiar.