Sunday, June 10, 2007

Hastings 10th Annual Butterfly Count Results: A Dry Year
Jerry Powell (UC Berkeley), Liam O'Brien, Paul Johnson (Pinnacles National Monument), Kim Takaces (Rana Creek) and Chris divided up into two teams on Sunday. Paul and Chris headed up to Chew's Ridge and the rest of us headed up to the top of Arnold for a morning walk back down to the entrance gate. Jerry, Liam and Kim were treated to a rare view of the relative loner, Giant Purple Hairstreak (Atlides halesus) taking nectar on a Rhamnus flower; a spectacular golden-bellied, iridescent blue-winged beauty (photos). Ah, the perfect Cal butterfly; blue and gold. This is a new record for this species at Hastings, but it is widespread in North America. The caterpillars of this beauty feed on mistletoe in oaks (and pines, but we don't have pines). Jerry and Liam walked lower Poison Oak Trail and along Robertson Creek in the afternoon. A total of 27 butterfly species were seen at Hastings (most in one year is 42, so far). An additional 11 species were added to the Chew's Ridge count, but as it is so much higher, this is commonly the situation.
Jerry Powell also set out black light traps and a pheromone trap for the brown apple moth. We are pleased to report that no brown apple moths were trapped. For more information on this new threat to California's agriculture and nursery industry, go here.