It’s official. Summer arrives today, Tuesday June 21st, at 1:16 PM. It’s the day the sun attains its highest point in the sky for the year. The sunrise in the Ottawa area is 5:14 AM. The sun sets at 8:55. It’s a long day, 15 hours, 40 minutes, 28 seconds. Living here in the Northern Hemisphere, I want to drink in every moment, every drop of sun, store up enough light and heat and life to last all winter long. Because the first day of summer, the longest day of the year, marks the year’s zenith, the day we begin the long slide back to winter.
As summer takes hold, all of nature seems caught up in the onslaught of days, the rush to fulfill a year’s worth of living in a few short months. When we visited Purdon Fen, the dragons of summer were on the wing. As the season progresses, the array of odonates, dragonflies and damselflies, changes. The spring fliers give way to summer specialists. The opening photograph captures a Calico Pennant (Celithemis elisa), a small dragonfly found at well-vegetated ponds. Below is a Chalk-fronted Corporal (Libellula julia), a stocky gray and black dragonfly of northern ponds. Both belong to the Skimmer Family, Libellulidae, a large group of 105 species found in a wide variety of habitats, but especially ponds and marshes, where they are fierce predators of a variety of insects.