BUTTERFLIES: About 35 volunteers stalked the county July 16 in search of butterflies as part of a national survey sponsored by the Xerces Society.
On a bright, sunny day--perfect for finding the colorful winged insects--surveyors spotted at least two more species than during last year's count, which was the first ever in Orange County. Survey organizer Larry Shaw of Orange County Vector Control was still awaiting a report from Silverado Canyon on Friday but had already confirmed sightings of 32 species. Last year's count netted 30 species.
Peter J. Bryant, an enthusiastic amateur entomologist and a professor of developmental biology at UC Irvine, spotted 20 butterfly species around Upper Newport Bay, six more than last year. He also counted more than 500 individual butterflies, roughly three times as many as last year.
"It was a very successful count," Bryant said. "The data from this year is much more interesting than last year's."
Bryant suggested several prime county areas for spotting butterflies, including Upper Newport Bay and the surrounding bluffs, San Joaquin Marsh, canyon areas such as Silverado and Modjeska, Crystal Cove State Park and "essentially any area that still has native vegetation." Several species have also adapted well to urban environments, Bryant said.