Dog(s) of the Week #8

We apologize for the resent drought of Dog of the week posts but that’s why we are making up for it with TWO dogs of the week. First meet Elvis, he is a Chihuahua mix rescue who has a distinctive prancing gate due to neurological damage from being on the street. When he was rescued by his current owner he would compulsively kick out his left leg, just like Elvis.

Elvis the dog
Elvis the dog

Elvis’s canine companion is Maude who is possibly a lab great dane mix as well as rescue. She, like Elvis, enjoys her walks around L.A. State Historic Park.

Maude the dog
Maude the dog

Tag Team

Turns out, there are two.

Teamwork
Teamwork

Babywatch ’09 – New Arrivals!

Our mother Killdeer was a bit more frantic and purposeful today in her attempts at deception.

A Frantic Distraction
A Frantic Distraction

And we soon found out why. Her nest was not filled with eggs as we expected, but with tiny killdeer hatchlings. Summer is the season for baby Killdeer, and it turns out that, though they are shorebirds, nesting far from water is not uncommon. The baby birds are classified as precocial, meaning “ripened beforhand.” They differ from the helpless altricial hatchlings which require constant care and monitoring by the parent, entering the world helpless and noticably less than cute. These little guys, on the other hand should be up and around in no time! There’s a nice post here about “The Precious Killdeer.” Of the babies they say, “just seeing one will bring a smile to the grouchiest face in town.” Since spirits here have been pretty low recently, what with all the uncertainty surrounding State Parks future in light of the budget crisis, we surely welcome an antidote to the grouchiness.

Hard to Spot? Good!
Hard to Spot? Good!
Still hard to spot
Still hard to spot

Thank you Killdeer and Goldfinch

We’ve been just dying for an excuse to share samples of Charley Harper’s mid-century fabulous artwork, and here it is. Please excuse our little indulgence and enjoy the brief diversion. We think it will be worth your while.

Killdeer by Charley Harper
Killdeer by Charley Harper
Resident Killdeer LASHP
Resident Killdeer LASHP

Harper was an illustrator and designer whose minimalist artwork centered on natural subjects, notably birds. He’s best known for illustrating The Giant Golden Book of Biology, but also provided artwork for National Park Service posters and other natural resource organizations, such regional parks, wildlife sanctuaries, nature centers and local Audubon Chapters. We stumbled upon Harper’s work awhile back when searching for information and images of Cliff Swallows and have been enchancted ever since with his whimsical representations of our local feathered friends.

American Goldfinch at LASHP
American Goldfinch at LASHP
Goldfinch by Charley Harper
Goldfinch by Charley Harper
Redwinged Blackbird
Redwinged Blackbird
Redwinged Blackbird at Rio de Los Angeles State Park
Redwinged Blackbird at Rio de Los Angeles State Park

Babywatch ’09

Caught the little Killdeer off her nest, and off her gaurd, yesterday with eggs left exposed for the world to see. They blend in very well and are not easy to spot, but look closely and you should be able to see the four eggs nicely arranged and patiently awaiting her return.

Nest
Nest

Turns out, she was close by, but when she realized she was being watched, she put on a little performance, pretending to be injured as a distraction from the vulnerable nest.

A Broken Wing?
A Broken Wing?

She made her way back soon enough to settle down and get back to business.

Safe and Sound
Safe and Sound

Protecting the Resource

Our archaeologists spotted a nesting Killdeer in the park and went out of their way to make a safe haven for it near their dig site.

Nesting Killdeer
Nesting Killdeer

We actually spotted this little mama last week in the evening hours and thought she was acting a bit peculiar. She stayed on the ground but did a lot of fluttering about with one wing outstretched and then wandered away from from the place we initially spotted her. The fluttering and wandering continued until she eventually flew off. It was exciting to see her again and learn that she was actually nesting and protecting an egg. This explains the strange behavior we noticed earlier. Turns out that Killdeer are known for their acting skills -faking injuries to divert a predator’s attention away from their nest or brood. Believing a predator was near, she was probably feigning a broken wing. Killdeer are actually the most widespread shorebird in California, so it’s interesting to see her inland. Possbily our proximity to the Los Angeles river? You’ll notice she picked a nice gravelly spot, similar to gravelly shorelines that are the usual Killdeer nesting habitat. Anyway, it was a thrill to see her again so contently nesting in the light of day. No faked injuries this time around. Those orange cones must really do the trick.

Do you see her?
Do you see her?

Touch the Water

Cornerstone Theater Company
Cornerstone Theater Company

For those of you with an interest in the the Los Angeles River, or any curious Angelenos who enjoy theater in an unusual setting, be sure not to miss the Cornerstone Theater Company’s production of Touch the Water. Part of Cornerstone Theater’s four year series, the Justice Cycle, Touch the Water fittingly focuses on environmental justice issues related to the turbulent history of the Los Angeles River, from devestating floods, to channelization of the river for flood control, to current revilatilaztion efforts. Told from the perspective of characters with deep connections to the Los Angeles River, be they animal, human, or spirits in between, the play explores the complex intersection of nature, community and a wildly heterogenous urban environment.

The setting of the play is ideal, occuring in an undeveleloped section of Rio de Los Angeles State Park. The stage set overlooks the Glendale Narrows which is the longest natural section of the Los Angeles River. The natural riparian environment provides habitat for egrets, heron, black-necked stilt, and other water fowl that may sometimes also be seen in the less scenic regions of the 52 mile concrete river channel. LASHP staff was on hand last Saturday for a pre-performmance reception and viewing, and was throughoughly enchanted by the natural river beneath an immense and spectacularly cloudy sky. If you are interested in seeing the play, it is running for only two more weeks, so hurry up. Click the link below for more information.
Touch the Water

Pre-Play River Walk
Pre-Play River Walk

Glendale Narrows
Glendale Narrows

Sunset Campfire! June 20th at 7:30 PM

Campfire on June 20th at 7:30pm
Campfire on June 20th at 7:30pm

Mark your calendars for Saturday, June 20th at 7:30pm for the first Summer Sunset Campfire. We will start at 7:30pm, sing a few campfire songs, learn about the history of Los Angeles and end it the way every campfire should end…roasting marshmallows. If you have any questions email Thomas at tcarroll@parks.ca.gov

Now for Some Birds

A few feathered friends spotted in and around LASHP this cloudy morning.

Trifecta
Trifecta
Three is a magic number
Three is a magic number
Doves
Doves

Busy Bees

Pleased to report that there appears to be a healthy population of bees at LASHP thanks to our vivid array of sunflowers and poppies.

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