Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Historic Viaduct Footings: Brush Clearance Done!

Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 21, 2014.  Even the tiniest leashed dogs can enjoy the view from atop the Historic Landmark Pacific Electric Viaduct Footings now that the brush clearance was finally done.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Lot C: Trash Chute Gone

Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 19, 2014.  The renegade trash chute on Lot C was dismantled over the weekend, 8 months after it first appeared.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)  

Let's see, brush clearance, dead trees cut down, trucks towed off the lot; they seem to try this every couple of years.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Corralitas Drive: If It Comes Out Of Your Dog's Butt, Pick It Up

Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 20, 2014.  Of course, the plastic bag ban does make it harder to on those of us who reused those bags, but come on, buy some damn poop bags and pick it up!  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

It's not just Corralitas Drive, it's happening throughout the neighborhood, the Red Car Property, parks, the river.  I wonder if there's been a marked increase since the plastic bag ban?  At least one neighbor, who always picks up after her dog, complains the pet store she frequents always seems to be out of poop bags (you'd think by now, they'd order more).   One ban-the-bag lobbyist told me use bread bags, used sandwich bags - clearly he doesn't have a dog.  They poop more than once a day & I don't eat more than a loaf a bread in a week.  Most of us stockpiled bags for a year before the ban and we sometimes run out of bags while walking, and have to dig through a nearby recycle bin for a bag or newspaper to pick it up.  

However, there is a serious increase in the amount of poop on the sidewalks lately.  Pick it up!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Red Car Property: Yellow Butterfly Near Adelbert

Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 16, 2014.  These large bright yellow butterflies have been all over the Red Car Property this year.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

They've been another one of my white whales.  They flutter by so quickly & erratically I can never get a shot of them.  This one stopped for at least a minute or two on a Castor Bean plant near the Adelbert cut-through, then landed on a nearby California Black Walnut who's leaves were starting to turn yellow, so I lost sight of it. 

It may be a Cloudless Sulfur, but it's hard to tell.  I refer to Butterflies of Orange County because it's easier to use than Butterflies & Moths of North America (BAMONA), so my research is not comprehensive.

2014 has been a banner year for butterflies in the neighborhood.  Click here for all our butterfly posts.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Red Car Property: Dead & Dying Eucalyptus Victims of Disease, Pests, Drought?* updated

Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 10, 2014.  Brush clearance contractors cut down some of the smaller dead Eucalyptus behind the Arco station this week, exposing the inside of a diseased tree.*  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Some tree activists in the local community, as well as neighbors who lost a number of large Eucalyptus trees in the past two years, speculate the Eucalyptus are dying from a fungus spread by Shot Hole Borer beetles, accelerated by drought and a very humid summer. Without consulting a licensed arborist it is hard to determine the exact cause of death (more below).*
Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 10, 2014. Neighbors alerted us to  trees being cut down on the Red Car Property.  On the north end of the property, there were at least 9 dead & dying Eucalyptus in May.  Tree contractors appear to only be taking those trees down so far.

The current Eucalyptus die-off started on Adelbert in March 2013 & moved down the Red Car Property toward Riverside Drive.  The trees appear to die rapidly once they started to go.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, May 24, 2014.  In may we advised the property owner's rep of the 9 large dead trees.  The dead 3 trees in this photo were the small ones.  

Without an expert examining these trees & bugs, we don't know exactly what killed them.  We advise you to seek expert advice quickly if your trees are starting to die off. 

In response to a large, seemingly healthy tree going down near his house last week, one Riverside Place neighbor said, "This seems to be the time of year when big Eucalyptus Trees fall or drop large branches for no apparent reason."  It's also a good time of year to trim back your Eucalyptus trees so they don't get blown over in a Santa Ana windstorm, potentially causing property damage or fire.

*UPDATE 10-18-14: One of our neighbors, who is a tree expert, pointed out: "Trees are often hollow in the middle - they are only "alive" in the cambium layer, between the bark and the wood. This is where they actively move water and sap between their roots and leaves. The inner rings/wood is the old cambium from previous years."

I apologize for any confusion this post may have caused.  However there is no doubt Eucalyptus trees are dying all over the neighborhood.  They are non-native, highly combustible (even when they are alive) & can cause great damage when they fall. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Historic Viaduct Footings: Haven't Seen A Shopping Cart There In A Very Long Time

Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 12, 2014.  Friday, brush clearance was finally done on the lot with the historic viaduct footings.  Like magic, a shopping cart appeared on the slope below the bags of foam dumped under the California Black Walnut Trees in August.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

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

Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 11, 2014.   The flattish grade on the Red Car Property makes it an ideal trail for those of all ages & abilities.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Red Car Property: Focus

Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 7, 2014.  The big Red Tailed Hawk focused on a squirrel on the Red Car Property slope, a couple hundred feet away from the the telephone pole at the Corralitas cul-de-sac. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

That squirrel got away.  However, for the next week, expect to see the big Red Tailed Hawk hunting from telephone poles around the Corralitas end of the Red Car Property.  Brush clearance finally got done yesterday.  Brush clearance always brings the Red Tails out because there is less cover for prey - particularly their favorite meal - squirrels (who get caught running between California Black Walnut Trees).

Monday, October 13, 2014

Riverside Place: Monarchs Flocking To Silk Floss Flowers

Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 12, 2014.  Dozens of Monarch Butterflies (Danaus plexippus) were feeding excitedly on Silk Floss flowers in a huge 30' tree near the Red Car Property.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)  

There were several species of butterflies flying among on the branches, but the Monarchs were the most showy and majestic of the bunch.  You know it's a Monarch  by the polka-dotted body.  Their numbers are in steep decline and their annual migration between Canada & Mexico is monitored closely; their actual migration is endangered.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 12, 2014.  The Silk Floss Tree (Chorisia speciosa) is non-native.  The flowers & Kapock-like seeds are messy to pick up.  But once a year, the drought tolerant South American tree puts on a spectacular show of color, attracting butterflies, birds & bees.  The Wiki page even highlights Monarch Butterflies as pollinators.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

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

Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 5, 2014.  Even the north end of the Red Car Property is really dry due to 3 years of record drought.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

The north end, near Adelbert, usually is greener and damp year-round.  The native Black Walnuts are dropping their leaves early and the Eucalyptus are dying off behind the Arco Station.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Red Car Property: Vultures Circling

Photo: Diane Edwardson, September 30, 2014.  No really, real Turkey Vultures.  It's that time of year when they migrate south for the winter.  There were a dozen circling, riding the updrafts, late in the day as they came across the hill from the reservoir, over the Red Car Property,  following the 5 Freeway south toward Boyle Heights. Unfortunately all I ever seem to have on me when I run into Turkey Vultures is my cell phone, not a camera.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Red Car Property: While We've Seen Worse, The Owner's Rep Promised To Take Care Of The Dumping Over a Month Ago

Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 4, 2014.  We first sent photos of this pile to the property owner's representative, when it first appeared at the end of August.  (Click on photos to enlarge.) 
Photo: Diane Edwardson, September 23, 2014.  Giant pile of dry bamboo, weeds dumped near first pile in Red Car Canyon, also sent to owner's rep.  Again, promises made.  
Photo: Diane Edwardson, September 8, 2014.  Tire dumped, similar promise.  Really, compared to other years, the dumping is not all that bad, it's just standard maintenance for the Red Car Property.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, September 23, 2014.  A second pile joined the first pile that had been moved from the site of the second.  Then scavengers sorted through both.  Yup, we sent this photo to the owner's rep too.
Diane Edwardson, October 4, 2014.  I'm giving up sending new photos since these are the same piles from the previous photo - still there.  All of the above piles are on APN 5440-030-033 and are covered by the LAFD red tag citation for brush clearance & debris issued last week. A photo & report of last Saturday's fire was also sent to the rep while the fire was happening.

Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 4, 2014.  This dumping was sent to the owner's rep at the end of August too. 

The 3 northern lots all got red tagged by LAFD last month.  Why they neglected to clear the lot behind the Arco Station is a mystery.  Perhaps the owners do not open their mail.  

They only did brush clearance on 2 lots in the middle.  Why clear just 2 lots and not the entire property?

Red Car Property: Random Trash Trail

Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 5, 2014.  The Adelbert Lounge is no longer all-weather, but it has a stellar view of the open trash bins at the Arco Station.  Guess no one has ever told them open trash bins attract coyotes, rats, raccoons and roaches.(Click on photos to enlarge.)
Diane Edwardson, October 5, 2014.  How do you get to the end of the Red Car Property?  Just follow the trail of random trash.  Seriously - that office chair gets around.  Come on people - this parcel just got cleaned up a few weeks ago.  Who drops random large trash along the way?


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Lake View Ave & Red Car Property: Fire Fighting In 1960 & 2014

Photo: Futterer, Holyland Exhibition 1960. Grass fire atop Lake View at the south end of the Red Car Property near Silver Ridge Ave.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 4, 2014.  Lake View Ave, grass fire sparked by blown transformer & power lines down - just a few hundred feet north of the 1960 photo.

LAFD adopted stronger brush clearance regulations for Hillside areas like ours after the 1993 Oakland Hills Fire, where 3,403 homes were destroyed; 780 in the first hour of the fire.  Read more about the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone and brush clearance regulations on the LAFD website.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Red Car Property Adjacent: Transformer Below Lake View Ave Sparks Fire

Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 4, 2014.  While walking through the canyon toward Corralitas Drive, I heard what sounded like firecrackers up on the hillside.  (Click on photos to enlarge.) 
Photo: Diane Edwardson, That explains the flurry of texts & emails I'd just received about the power outage.  I wondered what my neighbor was taking photos of.  As soon as I heard the firecracker like sound, I rushed through the canyon, phone in one hand; camera in the other.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 4, 2014.  While I'm called 911 waiting for LAFD to pick up, I shot photos with my camera in my other hand.  I tried to explain to LAFD dispatch that fire was spreading downslope & the brush clearance had not been done on the slope below.  

Worth noting: the slope above the power lines belongs to the Lake View homeowners.  The downslope side is Red Car Property.  Brush has not been cleared on most of the slope. 
Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 4, 2014.  Neighbors on both sides of Red Car Canyon reported hearing a large explosion (some near the transformer, saw the flash of light), then the firecracker like sound I heard.  Indeed, upon reviewing the photos from my camera, you can see the down power lines leading to the fire.

Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 4, 2014.  I got the first text at 9:08 AM that the power was out.  I reached the fire by 9:18 AM.   LAFD was extinguishing flames by 9:23 AM.  Considering this was the first really dry heatwave we've had this fall, we caught a lucky break in there was no wind at all Saturday morning. 

Photo: Diane Edwardson October 4, 2014.  The power lines went down in an area where there was a huge dense succulent patch that slowed the fire's progress.  The bright green plant at the center of the fire  (earlier photos) is not grass but a type of African Pencil Plant. Those Agaves the fireman is spraying with water are another good fire resistant plant.  Let's hear it for drought tolerant, fire resistant defensive landscaping!

For additional fire photos &  reports: The Eastsider

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Red Car Property: Red Tagged By LAFD For Brush Clearance - Finally*

Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 2, 2014.  "Forthwith" is not a fortnight.  The rest of us had to have our brush clearance done by May 1.  How come the large vacant lot owners seem to get away with not doing their brush clearance for months?

NOTE: Brush Clearance does not mean removing all trees.  Branches should be trimmed up from the ground.  See LAFD's new website for brush clearance requirements.  

See LA City Dept of Forestry for info on protected native trees 

*UPDATE 10-04-14: As if to drive home the point on brush clearance, according to several neighbors on Lake View Ave this morning, a transformer exploded in a flash of light and left parts of the neighborhood without power for the next 9 hours during a bone dry heat wave.  The  downed power lines sparked a fire. No houses were damaged.  We got very lucky this time.
Read more: The Eastsider

Friday, October 3, 2014

Red Car Property: At Least 2 Of 7 Dead Eucalyptus Cut Down Today

Photos: Diane Edwardson, October 3, 2014.  This morning I happened across a tree crew cutting down 2 of the remaining 7 dead Eucalyptus trees on the north end of the property.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)
It was the same licensed tree crew as had done the earlier work on the same trees several months ago.
We recently pointed out to the Red Car Property owner's rep that just the dead & dying Eucalyptus were not only a fire danger, but also a danger of falling in the rainy season.  The last 2 La Ninas were 2004-05 & 2010-2011.  We had record rain in '04-'05 & one storm in 2011 that dumped 7" or rain in one day on the neighborhood.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 3, 2014.  You do not need a permit to remove Eucalyptus trees.  You DO need a permit to remove protected native trees like California Black Walnut (the tree in the foreground shading the sun in above photo) and Coast Live Oak. 
Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 2, 2014.  The 2 trees were marked for removal a couple of weeks ago.  But not that very large dead Eucalyptus behind them.  The 2 trees were trimmed back in June.  Brush clearance has not yet been done on the northernmost lot of the Red Car Property either.


Red Car Property: Red Tailed Hawk's Successful Hunt

Photo: Diane Edwardson, September 30, 2014.  The large Red Tailed Hawk was stalking prey from across the meadow on the Corralitas end of the Red Car Property.  She looks rather pleased with her squirrel.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

I was walking through the canyon and too far to get a shot of the hawk launching her attack from the top of the telephone pole and rather casually swooping in low toward the hillside, sun at her back.  I was too far away to get a shot of her on the hill, but she seemed to catch the squirrel on the ground while it ran between protected native Black Walnut trees.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, September 30, 2014.  By the time I caught up with her, she was already digging into her squirrel safely atop an opuntia cactus half way up the steep slope to Lake View Ave.  She did keep looking upslope though, as if there were another predator, like a coyote, was watching her tear into her breakfast. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Red Car Property: Classic Red Tailed Hawk Hunting Technique On Corralitas

Photo: Diane Edwardson, September 30, 2014.  A big Red Tailed Hawk was perched atop the telephone pole at the Corralitas end of the Red Car Property.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Sun at her back, she was watching for squirrels in the protected  Southern California Black Walnut Trees & the ground surrounding them, from her telephone pole.  
Photo: Diane Edwardson, September 30, 2014.  Red Tailed Hawks have extraordinary eyesight.  This one was grooming, pulling foxtails out of her feathers (see first photo - there's one sticking out of the chest feathers) yet alert to any movement on the hillside that might be breakfast. Her head would suddenly snap to a squirrel or other rodent moving on the hill.  

Any prey might not see her atop the pole with the sun at her back.  And she would gain a few seconds of surprise on her potential meal as they were temporarily blinded by the sun.  

Come back tomorrow to see if she was successful.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Red Car Property: At Least 5 Vehicles Towed From Lot C This Morning *Updated

Photos: Red Car Property Neighbor October 1, 2014.  Word came from a neighbor that at least 5 vehicles were towed from the Red Car Property north of India this morning.  (Click on photos to enlarge.) 
The neighbor spoke to an LAPD officer on site who said they were towing vehicles with expired registration.  

Perhaps the property owner was compelled to start cleaning up the property since the he had to come out to the property last week to clear a new homeless encampment a few hundred feet north of where all these derelict vehicles have been parked for years.

*10-18-20 UPDATE: After speaking with several residents who's trucks were towed, as well as LAPD Senior Lead Officer Lenny Davis, it appears someone called in these trucks as having expired registration on a public street.  Even more interesting: it is not a public street, it's private property, and only the private property owner can call to have vehicles towed from private property.  LA Dept of Parking Enforcement should know that.  Maybe if this map was still up in the window they would not have towed trucks away. (They gave that truck's owner a day or so to get out - no one else appeared to get notice.)  

The Red Car Property continues to be a lawless place.