I was feeling a little spiky by lunch time today, after R and I had paid our bi-weekly visit to Croome in dour and drizzly conditions. It’s wholly understandable that the National Trust still want to control visitor numbers, and therefore I support them in continuing to make everyone book in advance – but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t drive me up the wall not to be able to make snap decisions on any given day, as to whether it’s worth going over there or not. The best things I can find to say about this morning are: steps, and shortbread.

Arriving home with photos of precisely one damselfly and two butterflies, I reconciled myself to the fact that I’d probably have to post something this evening that I didn’t like all that much. But at 3.30pm, quite unexpectedly, the sky cleared and the sun appeared – so I leapt in the car and zoomed off to Grove Hill in search of dragons.

There wasn’t all that much around at the lower pond, Odonata-wise, but there’s always something to see at Grove Hill, and I bagged some reasonable images of a buzzard and a few bees, along with a handful of flight shots of Common Darters (one of which I’ve added above, just to prove that I can still do it). Then I walked on up to the top pond, where there were both Southern and Brown Hawkers out hunting (fast and uncooperatively), and where I spotted this Common Darter basking on a fence. He wasn’t delighted to find that he was the object of my affection, and I didn’t manage to stalk him to within macro distance, but the long lens did a good job for me, with nice background separation, and I ended up with several photos of him that I like quite a lot. This, which was the very last shutter click of the day, has turned out to be my favourite, but there’s a second portrait of him in a more relaxed pose over on Facebook, if you’d care to take a look.