I was lucky to witness quite the urban wildlife drama unfolding in the northern field this morning. I happened to be driving along the metro edge of the park when I spotted a large Red-tailed hawk just standing in the field. I stopped to watch and soon noticed curious movement close to the ground. Snake! And not a small one – probably a good two, two and a half feet of slither that was attracting the hawk’s, and now my, attention. The hawk proceeded to slowly stalk after the snake, occasionally extending its wings as it slowly paced with the snake’s movements. After a few minutes, the hawk made its move, lunging to grab the snake. But the snake struck back and the hawk relented, flying up to perch just a few feet above on a short fence post. Of course, no camera on hand to capture the dramatic action scene. But my trusty co-worker rushed back in time to catch the hawk, still engaged in pretty serious hunting mode. Though the snake was nowhere to be found.
Last week, state parks archaeologists began digging in the center of the park in hopes of uncovering more of the rich history of Los Angeles State Historic Park. Bucky Buxton, Mike Sampson and their team uncovered parts of the foundation of the “car shop” dating back to the late 19th century when Southern Pacific Railroad owned this land. The main function of the car shop was to build train cars from the ground up to add to Southern Pacific’s fleet.
Talking with archaeologist Bucky Buxton, he mentioned that “most archeological discoveries are made in lab,” making the point that they may not know exactly what they have found until they are able to carbon date artifacts and examine them under a microscope. Bucky also pointed out that the lower strata of soil appears silty and is most likely part of the historic flood plain of the Los Angeles River. The layers of history at LASHP are certainly deep and multi-faceted, be they artifacts from the park’s industrial railyway history or ecological history and connection to the Los Angeles River.
If you are ever curious about the archaeology happening here in the park and you see the team out working, don’t be scared to approach them and learn about what they are finding.
Joining their four-legged friends in the goat pen, chickens have arrived to continue the process of eating and fertilizing LASHP. Their pen is mobile and will be shifted every few days to give them new feed and allow them to “give back” to a new area. So come check them out, they won’t be here for long.
If you have been within a half mile radius of the park in the last few days, it is likely that you have spotted a gargantuan tent in the center of the park. The reason being, Cirque Berzerk has returned for second time, this time in a tent four times as large as the one they had last and with many more performances.
The circus opens on June 18th and runs until July 5th, with seven performances a week as follows Thursday 8:30pm, Friday 7pm and 10pm, Saturday 7pm and 10pm, and Sunday 5pm and 8pm. For more information check out there website here.Cirque Berzerk
Here at Los Angeles State Historic Park, there is a constant influx of individuals, each with their own interests and stories. As a part of being a historic park, we are interested in actively searching out and preserving current histories unfolding in Los Angeles and more specifically here in the park. For the first post in this series we spoke with artist Eric Merrell, who was painting in the park when we approached him.
Eric is an artist based in Rosemead, and he prefers to work on location when starting a painting. In order to get the interplay of light, shawdows and colors correct and then his finishes his pieces in his studio. He mentioned that this was his first time visiting the park and really liked the light on the bluff just north of the park. The bluff, concurrent with an open view corridor up to Elysian Park and Solano Canyon, is a significant feature of the historic landscape that comprises and surrounds LASHP. We hope that Eric will be back and we look forward to continuing to meet new people here at Los Angeles State Historic Park. Check out Eric’s website, here, with some lovely landscapes and a set of historic Adobes, including Pio Pico’s home in Whittier, yet another of our Los Angeles Sector Historic Parks.
Well, the beautiful spring wildflowers are fading, and as you can see from the photos above, our friend the Lupine has seen the last of its colorful days for the season. Even with the browning of the long grasses and the drying of flowers, there are still bright patches of poppies to be found and acrobatic swallows swooping about above the now golden open field. With the season changing and summer on its way, keep your eye on the park for new sights at the northern end. Don’t be surprised to see a large tent and the bustling activity of curious some characters… the Cirque Berzerk is coming soon. Stay tuned for more.
It’s a plant seemingly as ubiquitous as traffic in Los Angeles. Our urban landscape with its intermittent open space and roadside patches, comprised often only of mere handfuls of dirt, conspire to support the tenacious Wild Mustard plant. This plant is not native to California and was actually introduced by Spanish Rancheros to support the growing cattle industry. The wild mustard arrived to compensate for overgrazing of native grasslands fueled by increasing numbers of cows. No longer consumed by cattle, this invasive species has run wild in Los Angeles’ Mediterranean climate, consuming the landscape at any chance it is given.
Our favorite hybrid Deer-Goat creature returned to the park with Farmlab’s herd. And this time she brought company.
…from the front yard.