Dog of the Week #9

Well it is Friday and you know what that means, yes indeed it time for another installment of Dog of the Week. Meet Boxer he is a male Boxer who is quite fond of Los Angeles State Historic Park. He visits almost weekly and do you know why he is jumping for joy in this photograph, because he is wearing his leash!

Boxer the boxer
Boxer the boxer

Black Phoebe sighting!

As twittered last week, we follow up with a photograph of a Black Phoebe that is enjoying the park as much as we do. A few quick facts about the Black Phoebe…
1. Black Phoebes are flycatchers and prefer water ways and open grassy areas to catch their prey.
2. They build mud nests, but unlike swallows, they nest alone not in large groups.
3. They can found through out the Los Angeles region through out the year.

Black Phoebe
Black Phoebe

NAME….THAT…….TREE!

This tree is a native of Los Angeles and can be found along various water ways in the western United States. It is a deciduous small tree that has long slender leaves and and part of its name is shared by small river that joins the L.A. River close to the park.

What could this be?
What could this be?

Long slender leaves?
Long slender leaves?

drum roll please It is the….Arroyo Willow! Gabrielino Native Americans (the original people who lived in this area) would use the branches of the willow to make bows with. In case you haven’t seen the Arroyo Willow, come on down to L.A. State Historic Park where we have many fine specimens.

Wildlife Drama! Hawk v. Snake

Red-tailed Hawk flying by Downtown
Red-tailed Hawk flying by Downtown

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.
Red-Tailed Hawk ready for action.
Red-Tailed Hawk ready for action.

Red-Tailed Hawk cleared for take off.
Red-Tailed Hawk cleared for take off.
flying away.
flying away.

Archaeology in the Park

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.

Arch Team at Work
Arch Team at Work

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.

Bucky sifting for artifacts
Bucky sifting for artifacts

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.

"Dig" the view
DIG the view

The circus has come to town

Cirque Bezerk
Cirque Bezerk

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

People of the Park #1

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 Merrell Painting at LASHP
Eric Merrell Painting at LASHP

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.

Wild Mustard, A plant with a checkered past.

Non native Wild Mustard
Non native Wild Mustard
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.

Wild Mustard
Wild Mustard

The Elusive Cornflower

The Blue Cornflower
The Blue Cornflower
See if you can find the blue cornflower at Los Angeles State Historic Park.

Dog of the Week #6

Dulce the Dog
Dulce the Dog
Meet Dulce the dog. He is part chihuahua part miniature pincher and 1 year old. As you can tell by the picture he is quite the spitfire but I am told that he is quite the cuddler as well. As usually he won’t go into Los Angeles State Historic Park without his leash on.

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