Archive for May 31st, 2010

As I was laying in bed, early in the morning, I could see the sunny day at its dawn, hear the birds singing their morning chorus and smell…a campfire? The unmistakable, mellow smell of a wood fire was wafting in the window. I figured a neighbour was burning some wood debris and was happy to enjoy the scent, a reminder of happy days spent camping with the kids when they were young, relaxing days in the great outdoors.

I got myself up and dressed and headed outside for my morning routine of looking after the horses, putting seed out for the birds, checking on the garden. It was a beautiful morning, warm, but with a pleasant breeze, a little hazy, maybe. I was reminded of the Ontario song, There’s No Place Like This.

Do you rise in the morning with the sun,
Fill your eyes til the moonlight is done?
Do you hear the sound of your heart sing
As it calls out “This is living!”

There’s no place like this that I’ve been,
There’s no dream like this that I’ve seen,
There’s no home like this that I know,
No other place like this for me.

It was only later that I learned that the lovely wood smoke scent wasn’t local at all. It was coming from many miles away, from forest fires burning in Quebec. The smoke, pushed by the wind, moved through Eastern Ontario and south into New England and New York state, resulting in smog alerts in Ottawa and Montreal. It wasn’t much more than a scent in the air here, but over at The Marvelous in Nature, Seabrooke captured some photographs of the smoke over the Ottawa River.

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Last week, we had a few days when it was hot, hot, hot. So much so that the temperature set a record high for the area on one or two afternoons. While the heat made it hard to work outside in the garden, it was a boon to the odonates, the dragonflies and damselflies. They have become conspicuous, flying over the pond and long grass. The damselfly, above, joined me in the garden while I was doing some weeding near the house. I recognised her right away, because I had just read a post about River Jewelwings (Calopteryx aequabilis) over at The Marvelous in Nature. As there is a little stream running close by, we have appropriate habitat for this species. While Seabrooke has captured a male, this one can be identified as a female by the white stigma visible on the wing.

I had another close encounter with an odonate in the greenhouse barn. A dragonfly had become trapped inside and needed a hand getting back outside. I have a net handy for just such occasions and the dragonfly obligingly landed on the edge of net when I held it up near him. This gave me an opportunity to get a good look at him and take a couple of photographs. I concluded that he was a Springtime Darner (Basiaeschna janata), who would usually be found flying over water.

You can tell that it is a male by the arrangement of the abdominal appendages at the tip of the abdomen. The male has two superior outer structures and a single inferior appendage in the centre, which looks cone-like from above. I gave him a lift outside and he was last seen continuing on his way to the pond.

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