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Butterflies Swarming SoCal Beaches

Published on: March 17, 2019

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The past several days have been pretty exciting for some Southern California beach communities, including Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Surfside and Seal Beach.

Many have wondered about swarms of butterflies zigzagging & fluttering in a hurried manner, as they race north through Orange County beaches. They’re usually going so fast, it’s hard to determine who these intriguing visitors are. Experts say they’re “Painted Ladies.”

The Painted Ladies–millions of them–are heading from deserts in Mexico toward Canada, often at speeds as high as 30mph, covering up to 100 miles a day.  Read more…>

“There hasn’t been a migration like this since 2005,” said Leslie Gilson, Restoration Coordinator of Gibbs Butterfly Park (16641 Graham St., Huntington Beach), which is named after Seal Beach and Huntington Beach Mayor Norma Brandel Gibbs. “The Painted Ladies are smaller and faster than Monarchs. They’re on a fast migration north.”

“This is unprecedented. I’ve never seen so many butterflies in flight, my entire life,” said Janet Jackson of Main Street Mercantile in Seal Beach.

“Yesterday, they swarmed the windshields of my car,” said Brita Lemmon, proprietor of Brita’s Old Town Gardens on Main Street in Seal Beach, where some have stopped long enough to gather nectar from flowers and trees.

“I look out my second floor window above Main Street and see them in the trees,” said Gary Putnam, who was a Botany Major in college. “I think the Santa Ana Winds are blowing them closer to the coast.”

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