Baby B continued to charm during the morning, remembering the wriggle game he devised yesterday, and showing an acute (and only slightly violent) interest in my camera. Perhaps a little less charming was the extremely damp kiss he gave me, which turned into a lovebite on the end of my nose, and left me looking as though I’ve been punched in the face. But when he decided to take his parents back to Cardiff at lunch time the house and garden suddenly seemed very empty, and R and I felt rather bereft.
Dragons, I felt, would be just the thing to cheer me up, so I zoomed off to Croome – but to my surprise, dragons were there none. Well, not quite none: I did see a single teneral specimen lift out of a reed bed and fly up into the nearest tree, but I couldn’t see any better than to say that it was about the size and shape of a Chaser, and my camera thought I was ridiculous for even asking it to focus on something so small, pale, and distant. I pursued some Red-eyed Damselflies for a while, and managed to anticipate the point at which a group of people arriving at the lake would startle a grey heron into flight, but I wasn’t especially happy with any of my photos.
In the end, this shot of a male Eristalis tenax feeding from the willow-leaved cotoneaster in the garden turned out to be my favourite photo of the day – if only because neither the Meadow Brown (first of the year) nor the Banded Demoiselle (first of the year in our garden) I’d seen earlier had allowed me to get close enough for detailed images. R doesn’t like this Cotoneaster salicifolius because it keeps trying to expand its territory into the space where he parks his car, but I defend it fiercely because it’s such a good feeder of wildlife: during its (fairly brief) flowering period in the summer it’s a magnet for bees and hoverflies, and in the winter the birds love its berries.