They are lords of the air, predators who suddenly swoop down to terrorize mosquitoes, gnats, midges and other such small things. A dozen of them can be seen patrolling back and forth over the patch of lawn between the Camp Salmen pavilion and “woodpecker grove.” Its their hunting ground all summer long. They appear to cooperatively fly over roughly the same repeated pattern and altitude, interrupting their flight only with the aforementioned swoops.
They also possess a certain grace, floating gently about on twitchy, x-shaped wings. Sometimes they perch regally on a twig or, better yet, a car aerial and survey the landscape with their mechanical, 360 degree gaze.
They come in a variety of vivid colors: royal blue, red, yellow, gold, powder blue, pink, green and white with bold black stripes. They are like some sort of psychedelic hallucination to someone who has spent too much time outside on a long, hot muggy summer afternoon.
Then they do a weird thing at the end of their season. There are fewer of them by this time because they’ve spent the summer being someone else’s food - birds, lizards, frogs, spiders, car radiators and even fish canget them. After awhile they just don’t seem to care. They become docile and will actually buddy up to humans and make themselves available for close inspection. It’s as if they are telling us, “I’m done here. I’ve done my part. Eat me if you want but I prefer we just be friends.”