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By Robert Michael Pyle

The monarch butterfly is our best-known and best-loved insect, and its annual migration over millions of miles is a rare traditional phenomenon. Robert Michael Pyle, "one of America's best common heritage writers" (Sue Hubbell), set out overdue one summer season to persist with the monarchs south from their northernmost breeding floor in British Columbia. CHASING MONARCHS tells the engrossing tale of his adventurous trip with those swish wanderers -- down the Columbia, Snake, endure, and Colorado rivers, around the Bonneville Salt residences, and during the Chiricahua Mountains to Mexico, returning north alongside the California coast. half travelogue, half medical research, CHASING MONARCHS is among the so much attention-grabbing books ever written approximately butterflies. "[Pyle's] pleasant anecdotes, thought-provoking philosophical questions and private ardour make this chronicle a possible vintage" (Monarch News).

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Obviously, Okanogan County sprayed instead of mowing, too. Monarch watchers have noted that herbicides along the highways destroy large quantities of milkweed and nectar plants. Since butterflies commonly follow roadsides as corridors between larger habitats, the chemical barrier may affect the migration profoundly. In Britain, ecologists have supported a national roadside verge management program that seeks to prevent untimely mowing and deadly spraying. Careful verge maintenance has been credited with bringing back uncommon species that use these linear habitats, such as the British kestrel and the cowslip.

As Okanogan • 35 it happened, she would not live out the year. And when we saw Dennis the following fall, he was setting out in search of butterflies and distance from his grief. But the next morning, Dennis enthusiastically took us to a site near Inkaneep, where a gardener friend of his had reported seeing monarchs. In an extensive field of milkweed we found only one big larva. The leaves of a nearby plant showed the crescentic feeding patterns of monarch larvae, but also revealed a big green Mantis religiosa with its grasping front legs extended.

Magpies and starlings conversed musically in old willows. In marshes at the north end, bluets, those damselflies like little black matches with turquoise tips, hawked for gnats. Veering south again, we entered Okanagan Indian Reserve No. 1 on an unposted dirt road. A flock of yellow-headed blackbirds, handsome birds seldom seen en masse, perched in willows. As we watched them, an Indian man with a long black braid approached. He confirmed that milkweed was sparse this far north. “I don’t know any big patches,” he said.

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