Thursday, July 31, 2014

Corralitas Drive: Green June Beetle On Defense

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 28, 2014.  A 1" Green June Beetle (also known as a June Bug) flew loudly in to the yard and began crawling around the mulch. (Click on photos to enlarge.)
Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 28, 2014.  Both dogs were immediately attracted to the iridescent blue-green-gold visitor & tried to play with it, approaching the scarab beetle from behind.  Each time they would get within about a foot or less, both dogs started sneezing & shaking their heads.  It must have emitted some defensive scent only the dogs could smell since neither my neighbor nor I could detect it.  And I was pretty close trying to get decent photos with my phone.  

The scent only excited the dogs more.  They chased the bug more aggressively, while keeping a good 12" distance from it, as it alternately flew & walked around the yard.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 28, 2014.  The June Bug flew into a nearby spider web, struggled briefly, buzzing loudly before freeing itself.  It flew over to some dense leaf matter quickly disappeared quickly into it.  It was likely looking for a place to lay its eggs.  The dogs were kept a close eye, but did not go digging after it.

This was a very small, 1" Green June Beetle (Cotinus nitida).  The dogs usually won't go near the more typical 2" long June Bugs we see in our yard.  Apparently, we're lucky we don't see swarms of these giant but beautiful scarab beetles, as they do in other parts of the country: What's That Bug?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

"Lot C:" Not A Park, It Just Looks Like One

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 29, 2014.  Even "Lot C," the crappiest lot of the Red Car Property, has park-like qualities, as long as you look past the dumping, parked vehicles that never move & construction debris.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Thank you for keeping your dogs on leash & for picking up after them.

Click here for all our "Lot C" related posts.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Red Car Property: Female Checkered White Butterfly

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 25, 2014. The female Checkered White Butterfly (Pontia protodice) is more dramatically patterned than the male.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

I'd never seen this butterfly before in the neighborhood, but I knew I'd seen it online.  The distinctive pattern on its rear wings caught my eye, while I was walking on the Corralitas end of the Red Car Property. 

Neighbors report a seeing an increase in butterflies of all species this year.  Click here for all the species we've documented in the neighborhood. There are likely many more, but we just haven't gotten clear photos of them yet.  

Monday, July 28, 2014

Corralitas Drive: Gulf Fritillary

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 28, 2014.  Gulf Fritillaries (Argaulis vanillae) are suddenly all over the backyard.  They do like the Passion Flower vine between neighbors' fences.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Learn more about Gulf Fritillary butterflies on Bug Guide.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Lot C: Oak Tree Fighting Back Against Arundo

 Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 16, 2014.  A native Coast Live Oak sapling has been fighting for its life for at least 4 years in the dense patch of Arundo on Lot C.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

The non-native, invasive & highly combustible Arundo, a giant reed commonly found in streams & rivers had been winning in the battle over a small patch of earth.   

In 2012, the oak sapling did not survive the City's brush clearance.  It did not return in 2013.  The same patch of Arundo almost obliterated the native Blue Elderberry.

Having trouble finding the oak tree among the giant reed?  See below for a close-up on the same photo.
The California Invasive Plant Council classifies Arundo (Arundo donax) as invasive.  It outcompetes native species for water.  

Arundo is also highly combustible.  When it catches fire, gas builds up inside the hollow chambers, until they explode, sending fire in all directions.  Arundo is a poor landscaping choice for Southern California, particularly in hillside areas.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Red Car Property: Appreciate The Little Flowers

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 16, 2014.  If you look closely among the knee-high dry brush, just off the trail, you'll see spots of color, wildflowers blooming in mid-summer.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

I have no idea what these are, possibly a native dandelion, as there are several similar yellow varieties on CalFlora.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Historic Viaduct Footings: Skipper

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 19, 2014.  A tiny golden brown butterfly, a Skipper (don't ask me what kind), seemed to be just resting for a while near the historic viaduct footings.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Lake View Ave at Silver Lake Ave Public Staircase: Urgent Street Repairs Needed

Photos: Diane Edwardson, July 22, 2014.  An approximately 3' diameter slab of concrete, not only shifts loudly under the weight of passing vehicles, it shifted under my body weight alone.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Lake View Ave has been in dire need of repairs and repaving for close to 30 years now.  However this segment at the intersection of the Silver Lake Ave Public Staircase is dangerously unstable. 

There are 3 "DWP Water" caps in the street directly adjacent to the shifting concrete.  The DWP has been digging up and replacing the same concrete for a very long time.  At the very least, they should have some warning signs up on this very narrow segment of the street for unsuspecting drivers. If it shifts under my body weight, a big truck might cause damage not only to the concrete, but the water lines below.  The DWP seems to be negligent here.
A few houses north, at 2508 Lake View Ave, the street is completely buckled with the number of times its been dug up and put back.  Its crumbling horribly.    

As far back as 2009 & 2011, there were promises of repaving & geotechnical studies & excuses by then City Councilmember (now Mayor) Eric Garcetti's staff.  We've contacted City Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell's staff on today's conditions.  We'll keep you posted. 

See earlier posts:
Urgent Repairs Needed: Nov. 29, 2011 
Needed Paving More Than 25 Years: Nov. 30, 2011
Hazard Repaired: Nov. 30, 2011

Red Car Property: Some Dumping Never Seems To Leave *Updated

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 21, 2014.  A TV has been lurking behind the trashcans at the India St entrance to the Red Car Property since at least April.  (Click on photos to enlarge.) 

Other dumping has come and gone, but the TV remains. Technically, this is part of the Red Car Property, "Lot C."  Yet the City trash trucks drive up onto the property to pick the trash here, in addition to using it as a turn around, as India St is so substandard.  So the City should pick up the dumping at India St too. *7-23-14 UPDATE: Yesterday, a neighbor called in the pile adjacent to the India Street trashcans, including the TV.  Today the City picked up the bookshelf, basket & other debris, but not the TV.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 21, 2014.  That office chair has been making the rounds on "Lot C" for the past few months too. All of the other debris has been there for years. 
Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 21, 2014.  The baby carriage has been working its way around the north end of the property for a while too.  It's currently stopped on a California Black Walnut sapling behind the Arco Station.

The City won't pick up dumping on private property.  It's the property owner's responsibility.  But if you witness someone dumping on the Red Car Property or anywhere else, get a vehicle/person description, license plate, photo if you can, and call 1-877-ASK-LAPD and make a report immediately.  

Monday, July 21, 2014

Red Car Property: Someone Tidied The Piles Of Dumping

 Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 16, 2014.  About a week ago, someone pushed all the random dumping (refrigerator parts, car seats, random trash)  from behind one Riverside Place neighbor's house to another's.  It's still there.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)
Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 18, 2014.  Similarly, some of the dumping that was spilling down the hillside from a house on Adelbert was piled up on the the Red Car Property, a few days ago. 
Photo: Diane Edwardson, May 27, 2014.  That TV, along with new dumping is still behind the trashcans at India St.

If you see someone dumping on the Red Car Property, or anywhere else, get a description of the vehicle, license plate and/or person(s) & call 1-877-ASK-LAPD immediately.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Red Car Property: This Weekend Looked More Like Mid-March Than Mid-July

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 19, 2014.  Near the Adelbert cut-through.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Corralitas Drive: Marine Blue

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 14, 2014.  Despite the fact this tiny butterfly with an inch wide wingspan is mostly brownish, it is a Marine Blue.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

The blue is positively iridescent in the sun & is barely visible on the backside of the wings, near the body in this photo.  Thanks again to The Bugman of Mt Washington for identifying this Plumbago loving species.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Corralitas Drive: Brown Widow Spider

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 15, 2014.  Brown Widow Spiders are a non-native invasive species that are displacing the native Black Widow Spiders.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

A couple of years ago, there was a lot of panic over Brown Widow Spiders, particularly from neighbors with young children.  It turns out, Brown Widow venom, while stronger than Black Widow venom, is less dangerous because they don't inject as much of it when they bite. 

Learn more about Brown Widow Spiders & their very distinctive egg sacs (with some really spectacular photos): UC Riverside Center for Invasive Species Research

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Historic Viaduct Footings: Bugs Are Busy - Dragonflies, Multiple Harvester Ant Colonies, Tarantula Hawk

Photo: Diane Edwardson, June 27, 2014. From the Historic Landmark Viaduct Footings looking toward Griffith Park (the second hill in the background).  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Yesterday, I walked the Red Car Property with Daniel Marlos, A.K.A. "The Bugman of Mt. Washington."  The bugs at the north end of the property put on quite a show for him.  Marlos immediately spotted a swarm of large green dragonflies around one of the California Black Walnut Trees growing above the viaduct footings.   In 24 years of walking the Red Car Property I have never seen a swarm of dragonflies.  I was unable to get a clear photo.  See photos & read about Green Darner Dragonflies swarming: What's That Bug?
Photo: Diane Edwardson May 24, 2014.  California Harvester Ants above the viaduct footings.

The Harvester Ants were very busy collecting seeds & plant matter, bringing oversized bounty back to their nests.  We looked at 2 colonies, but acknowledged we were not sure if they were separate colonies or part of a supercolony.  The entrances to the colonies were several hundred feet apart.  Read more about this important "indicator species:" What's That Bug

Marlos caught sight of a large Tarantula Hawk, "flying casually" under the heritage Coast Live Oak Tree on Lot C.  I noted we've been seeing a lot more Tarantula Hawks than ever before on the Red Car Property, especially on the north end, where the soil is less compacted & the habitat  includes more native plant species.   Marlos commented that we must have a lot of tarantulas or even trapdoor spiders in the neighborhood since those are their preferred hosts for egg laying. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Corralitas Public Staircase: Tiny Bee, Native Morning Glory

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 10, 2014.  There are countless tiny bees on Bug Guide.  The native Morning Glories seem to attract them.  We've even seen green bees on these flowers.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Riverside & Fletcher: Tell The Arco Station To Paint Out The Graffiti *Updated

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 9, 2014.  The Arco Station only ever seems to paint out their graffiti once a year, maybe.  According to LA Municipal Code it's supposed to be painted out by the property owner within 24 hours. (Click on photo to enlarge.)  

Submit graffiti removal requests to the City: MyLA311

Download the City's MyLA311 smartphone app

And the brush clearance on the Red Car Property should have been done by May 1.  

*July 21, 2014 UPDATE: The graffiti was painted out by the owner at the request of LAPD Senior Lead Officer for Silver Lake, Lenny Davis.  Thanks Officer Davis!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Corralitas Public Staircase: Tiny Lizard

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 13, 2014.  The tiniest little lizard (mostly likely a Fence Lizard) raced down the Corralitas Public Staircase before posing for a few photos.  It measured about 2" nose to tail.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Red Car Property: Not A Park, It Just Looks Like One

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 1, 2014.  Of course that new seating area comes with a fabulous view.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Adelbert: Red Car Property Dumping Ground

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 1, 2014.  Some neighbors persist in treating the Red Car Property as a dumping ground.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Corralitas Drive: Blue Butterfly Drowns *Updated

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 7, 2014.  For weeks, I'd been trying to catch a photo of one of these tiny butterflies that flash brilliant blue in the bright sun.  They never stand still long enough, until I found this one, dead, in the dog's water bowl.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Wingtip to wingtip, the butterfly might measure an entire inch across.  In the sun they look more gray than brown and their blue is iridescent. They particularly like the Plumbago (blue flowers) growing all over the hill.

I am not even going to try to ID this little butterfly.  There are a number of blues with brownish wings.  

Butterfly resources:

What's That Bug?
Bug Guide
Butterflies and Moths of North America
Butterflies of Orange County (I know Orange County is not LA County, but it has a simple, easy to use photo index.)

*7-10-14, UPDATE: After perusing the blue butterflies found in Los Angeles on What's That Bug?, I submitted the photo and story.  The Bugman of Mt Washington thinks it might be a Marine Blue (Leptotes marina).  Thanks Daniel!