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R and I spent a lovely morning at Croome today. After coffee and scones we walked the lake, and though I didn’t find any dragonflies I was able to get photos of some of the damsels that are now emerging – including a couple of tenerals with very interesting colouring.

Then we went to the walled garden, which is open at weekends through the summer as a separate feature – the entrance fee, I think, being used to defray some of the costs of sorting out this section of the park. When the National Trust took over the property the walled garden was an overgrown ruin, but several years of hard work have tamed it, and the early planting is now beginning to mature. It’s a huge area, and there’s still a great deal of work to do (including rebuilding two of the glass houses), but it’s already looking quite impressive, and it will be interesting to revisit it from time to time, to see how it progresses.

On our way back to the café for another drink, I stopped outside the reception building to photograph some of the swallows that were zooming around it – including flying in and out of what looks like a storage area, where they appear to be nesting – and occasionally landing to rest and have a bit of a chat. I doubt that I’ll ever be closer to a swallow than I was to these lovely birds today; I’ve chosen this wide shot because the shadow on the bird has allowed the camera to pick up the colours of its plumage quite nicely, but if you’re interested I’ve put a few more photos here, some of which are much closer portraits.

Standing by the back door of the reception area with my camera and zoom, I attracted quite a lot of attention from other human visitors, and found myself having to answer the same questions repeatedly.

Just for the record:
It’s a swallow.
Yes, I’m sure it’s a swallow.
No, it’s not a house martin; though yes, there are house martins on the estate. But no, this isn’t one of them.
No, it’s not a swift. It probably wouldn’t be sitting there like that if it were a swift.
No, I don’t know how long a swift’s tail is.
No, I’ve never photographed a swift.
Yes, I’m sure it’s a swallow.
Yes, I am quite sure it’s a swallow. Because swallows are red, white and blue.
Yes, it is a big camera.
Yes, I do quite a bit of this.
Yes, I am absolutely sure it’s a swallow.

It’s not my habit these days to subject innocent civilians to my snark, but by the time I went to join R in the café I was breathing quite carefully, and needed a chocolate brownie to restore my equilibrium. That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it!