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Common Checkered-Skipper

(Pyrgus communis)

Several plants in the mallow family (Malvaceae) including globemallows (Sphaeralcea), mallow (Malva), hollyhock (Althaea), alkali mallows (Sida), velvet-leaf (Abutilon), and poppy mallow (Callirhoe).
Adult food: Nectar from white-flowered composites including shepherd's needles, fleabane, and asters; also red clover, knapweed, beggar's ticks, and many others.

The Common Checkered-Skipper are usually found in open, sunny places with low vegetation and some bare soil including prairies, meadows, fields, roadsides, landfills, yards, gardens, pastures, openings and trails in woods

Hallberg Butterfly
Garden Weather Station

Rainfall records have been kept at the Hallberg Butterfly Gardens since 1868. In 1930, Louise's father began keeping detailed weather records. Today visitors can see Louise's weather station, which is the official U.S. Department of Commerce Weather Station for Graton, California. Every day since 1968, Louise has recorded daily high and low temperatures, and rainfall for the National Weather Service. Louise sends a written report each month to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and she also reports the weather to local Channel 50 (KFTY) by phone every afternoon. In addition, Louise phones her data in to the newspaper, Sonoma West Times and News every Monday, and she sends a weekly written report to U.C. Cooperative Extension Service.

Louise has carefully catalogued the effects she observes, not only here at the Gardens, but also in the greater area. She hopes that her data can contribute to an understanding of how the weather and other natural phenomena affect local insect and plant species. Someday, Louise would like to correlate the changes in meteorological phenomena with her records of butterfly sightings here at the Gardens, to see if there is an observable relationship in the trends.

TV 50 Weather
    Louise reports to KFTY Weather
The National Weather Service has an interesting system to derive the "normal" temperature that is often mentioned and used for statistical analysis. Every ten years the mean temperature for each month is averaged over the previous thirty years. Of note is the fact that the "normal" temperatures at the Graton Station have gotten about a degree warmer over the past few decades. Two questions that arise from these observations are whether this is a significant difference in the grandeur scheme of things, and, if this local increase is consistent with the changes observed in other parts of the world. Louise hopes her data, so carefully gathered over the years, can help answer questions such as these.
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