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Butterflies through Binoculars


Fri, Aug 10th, 2001
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Monday, August 6, 2001

What creature flies; makes no sounds; does not bite, sting or carry disease; is bright orange with dark bands on its upperparts and silver spots below; and is common in meadows, fields and along roadsides in Fillmore County? The answer is a great spangled fritillary, one of many butterflies found in our area. Others with similarly fanciful names are tiger swallowtail, gray hairstreak, Aphrodite fritillary, pearl crescent, question mark, mourning cloak, painted lady, red admiral, tawny emperor, little wood satyr, wild indigo duskywing, clouded sulfur, and hackberry emperor.

Butterflies began to capture my attention late last summer on days when birds were sparse. They gave me something besides birds to watch for and identify. My interest grew after I bought Jeffrey Glassberg's "Butterflies through Binoculars; the East," Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press, 1999, retail $18.95. Glassberg writes, "Who doesn't love butterflies? Beautiful and graceful, varied and enchanting, small but approachable, butterflies lead you to the sunny side of life. And everyone deserves a little sunshine" (page 1).

Just as bird enthusiasts used to identify song birds by shooting them and preserving their skins, butterfly enthusiasts netted, chloroformed and pinned butterflies to display boards. Butterflies through Binoculars is the first major field guide to focus on netless butterflying. Glassberg advocates the use of close-focusing binoculars that present a sharp image 6 feet away.

The book has an extensive introduction that includes such topics as how to find butterflies; butterfly biology, life cycle, and behavior; and butterfly gardening, photography and conservation.

The butterfly life cycle includes the egg, caterpillar, pupa (chrysalis) and adult. Adults live anywhere from a few weeks to eight months. Some species have more than one brood per season. Size (length of front wing) varies from less that 1/2 inch to almost 3 inches. A few behaviors to watch for include basking, hilltoppping and mudpuddling. Butterflies bask in the sun because they are cold-blooded and their body temperatures depend on the ambient temperatures. "Hilltops are the butterfly equivalent of singles bars . . . Here, the males patrol the area looking for females, or they select a favored perch and wait" (pages 14-15). Butterflies often congregate at mud puddles for the salt they get there as well as the water.

Butterfly gardens a .....
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The Run Has Begun

Fri, Aug 10th, 2001
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Weaver Dunes Field Report Early Summer 2001By John LevellMonday, July 23, 2001

As Spring 2001 draws to a close, the season's exceedingly wet and cool weather is still cause for concern to those of us working on the Blandi ..... 
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Area Farmers Hit By Soybean Aphids

Fri, Aug 10th, 2001
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Virginia CooperMonday, August 13, 2001

Soybean aphids have emerged to raise havoc in area fields. Until now, farmers have had little information about this relatively new pest. During the summer and autumn of 2000, heavy infestations of the so ..... 
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Edgar, Nucla and Niwot

Fri, Aug 10th, 2001
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By Wayne PikeMonday, August 13, 2001

I am looking out the window at our drought-scorched pasture. I should go outside to accomplish something, but it is too hot. I am just going to let my mind wander back to our trip to Colorado in June. We go ..... 
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Olympic Games With Chinese Tendencies

Fri, Aug 10th, 2001
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Monday, July 23, 2001

If you havenít heard by now, China will host the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. The country has been working for the last 10 years to get the games believing that the international spectacle will give China the prestige ..... 
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Fri, Aug 10th, 2001
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Fri, Aug 10th, 2001
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Fri, Aug 10th, 2001
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To the Editor,

Fri, Aug 10th, 2001
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Monday, August 6, 2001

We would like to address a problem that has bothered us for several years at the Fillmore Fair and also some of the other local fairs in our area.

Our problem is with the 4-H Livestock Auction. We feel the auct ..... 
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