Sunday, February 15, 2009

Butterflies in Orange County

Tiger Swallowtail--Papilio rutulus Huntington Central Park
Birders often see butterflies when they are out birding, and so here are a few butterflies found in Orange County, California. I took these pictures over the last few years when I was out birding. In the winter, I most often see Monarchs and Mourning Cloaks.    Notice how the same butterfly can look very different with its wings closed.

Fiery Skipper--Hylephila phyleus (?) Huntington Central Park

Striated Queen--Danaus gilippus

California Dogface--Colias eurydice Environmental Nature Center's Native Butterfly House

California Dogface--Colias eurydice Environmental Nature Center's Native Butterfly House

California Dogface--Colias eurydice at Environmental Nature Center's Native Butterfly House

Cabbage White--Pieris rapae female

Buckeye--Precis coenia

1) West Coast Lady--Vanessa anabella

2) West Coast Lady--Vanessa anabella

3) West Coast Lady--Vanessa anabella--wings closed

Mourning Cloak--Nymphalis antiopa at Environmental Nature Center's Native Butterfly House

1) Gulf Fritillary--Agraulis vanillae Huntington Central Park wings closed.

2) Gulf Fritillary--Agraulis vanillae Huntington Central Park wings open.

Monarch--Danaus plexippus

Monarch--Danaus plexippus at Environmental Nature Center's Native Butterfly House

Monarch--Danaus plexippus

Red Admiral, Vanessa atalanta rubria. Loves Stinging Nettle.

Shipley Nature Center in Huntington Central Park just put in a Stinging Nettle area to attract the Red Admiral Butterfly. The one shown above is from last year still alive, but pretty tattered.

Funereal Duskywing--Erynnis funeralis--in my backyard.

OC Birder Girl Links

Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve

You can find butterflies near the parking lot and along the path by PCH, on the mesa, and along Wintersburg Channel.

Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve aka Newport Back Bay

On the Muth Center side off Irvine Avenue there seem to be more butterflies. The Muth Center is starting a butterfly garden.

Huntington Central Park

There are butterflies all over the park on both sides. The Monarch Butterflies have lots of milkweed in Huntington Central Park's Shipley Nature Center and Monarchs seem to be starting a winter colony among Eucalyptus trees in the park.

Environmental Nature Center Butterfly House

Has a butterfly house during spring and summer.

San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary

Has a butterfly garden, but you can see butterflies throughout the sanctuary.

Mason Regional Park

External Links and Resources

Pavilion of Wings
LA Museum of Natural History's butterfly house is great. April through September.

ENC Native Butterfly House

May through Summer.  A much smaller exhibit than the LA Museum of Natural History, but closer, less hassle, and still plenty of butterflies to see. 

North American Butterfly Association - Orange County Chapter

Orange County has its own chapter. Check out their website. They have lots of information and even field trips. Can't beat it.

Butterflies and Their Larval Food Plants

Pictures and information about butterflies in Orange County California.

Gibbs Park

Known as "The Butterfly Park," Gibbs park is a small park with plants that attract butterflies, a display about butterflies, and a beautiful mural on the pavement near the entrance to the park. Lots of historical plaques about local history as well.

Butterfly Migration Under Way in Orange County

About Painted Lady butterfly migration. From last year.

Thomas F. Riley Wilderness Park

This wilderness park has a butterfly garden.

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OCNABA said...

Great Butterfly Photos! You also have a great list of locations one might see butterflies in Orange County. I tried a new butterfly locations today (Santiago Oaks Regional Park), and wow, lots of butterflies AND birds! You can see some of my butterfly photos on my blog at
Thanks for all the info!

Orange County Birder Girl said...

Thanks for commenting. Santiago Oaks and most regional parks in Orange County including Irvine Regional Park are great locations for butterflies. I've never seen more than Huntington Central Park though. It is amazing.

OCNABA said...

Thanks, I just put Huntington Central Park on my list for butterfly field trips...Is it OK to print your list and share it with my Orange County NABA group at our next meeting?

Orange County Birder Girl said...

Sure. If you would, just let them know where you found it. Good luck with your website
Obession with Butterflies and your blog. I added a link to the Orange County Chapter of the North American Butterfly Association to this post. For those of you interested in butterfly watching, check it out. Thanks for commenting and for bringing the OCNABA to my attention.

Random thoughts said...

Your blog helped me to identify two species of butterflies seen in Costa Mesa. Thank you for the information.