By Robert Michael Pyle
The monarch butterfly is our best-known and best-loved insect, and its annual migration over hundreds of thousands of miles is a unprecedented average phenomenon. Robert Michael Pyle, "one of America's most interesting average heritage writers" (Sue Hubbell), set out overdue one summer time to persist with the monarchs south from their northernmost breeding flooring in British Columbia. CHASING MONARCHS tells the engrossing tale of his adventurous trip with those swish wanderers -- down the Columbia, Snake, undergo, and Colorado rivers, around the Bonneville Salt apartments, and during the Chiricahua Mountains to Mexico, returning north alongside the California coast. half travelogue, half clinical examine, CHASING MONARCHS is likely one of 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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Additional resources for Chasing Monarchs: Migrating with the Butterflies of Passage
South of Oliver they would arrive at the Oxbows Ecological Reserve, where wetlands were being restored by ditching water back into the area. This drives old farmers crazy but delights birders and waterfowl hunters. But it was too cold for monarchs. Little white heath asters nodded in the cool gray breeze, unattended by butterﬂies. We crossed back into the United States at Osoyoos and for the rest of the day followed the Okanogan through Washington’s orchardlands, where a much greater threat than mantids faced monarchs passing this way.
Autumn emigrants are sexually immature and as a rule neither mate nor lay eggs until increasing day length the following spring triggers their hormones toward gonad development and mating. So she had only nectaring on her minute mind, and this she had been doing with fervor just before I caught her. Probably she had emerged only recently, perhaps maturing in this very milkweed patch or one nearby. But the milkweed’s attraction for monarchs is not solely as the required caterpillar host plant. Showy milkweed, Asclepias speciosa, the only species in British Columbia, has thickly fragrant heads of ﬂorets like clusters of pale pink stars.
Butterﬂy houses, enclosed hothouses like conservatories or aviaries but for (usually exotic) butterﬂies, have sprung up all over in recent years, and of course I always stop for them when I can. Stepping into its hot breath, I dodged a great black swallowtail swooping down • 28 • Okanogan • 29 from the glass sky. The tropical air felt good after the cool off-lake breeze. It wasn’t a large place, as butterﬂy houses go, but it was pleasant. Paths wound around streams, waterfalls, and islands of tropical vegetation such as banana palms and passion vines.