Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Corralitas Drive: Not A Frog

Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, October 17, 2017.  A neighbor rescued the tiniest lizard from one of the killer kitties.  It's most likely a fence lizard.  The neighbor placed it way up in a bird of paradise flower, out of reach of the killer cats.  

It's Urban Wildlife Week.  More info @NatureinLA

Related: All our lizard posts

Monday, October 16, 2017

Lake View Ave: Angle Winged Katydid

Photo: s_d_m, October 15, 2017.  Red Car Property neighbor found a Katydid in the yard yesterday.  Check out those alien feet!  See more photos: iNaturalist.

We've seen a few of these unusual looking bugs, often brought in by a neighbor's cat

According to @NatureinLA (LA County Natural History Museum), it's Urban Wildlife Week.

Click here for all our unusual bugs.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Corralitas Drive: Wildlife!

Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, September 24, 2017.  A neighbor placed empty and rinsed recyclables on the stairs to take to the bin.  Five minutes later, a young raccoon was already looking for snacks.  There's a reason we endlessly preach about keeping recycle and trash bins closed tightly.  Urban wildlife is opportunistic.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Red Car Property Neighborhood: Signs Of The Times

Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, September 15, 2017.  Last week, LA City Fire Department began posting "No Smoking, No Discarding of Burning Objects" signs in the Hillside Area surrounding the Red Car Property and Semi Tropic Spiritualists' Tract (above photo at Allesandro and Rosebud - the sole vehicle entrance to the steep Semi Tropic hillside).
Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, September 15, 2017.  The municipal code sections are referenced on the signs, here seen at the site of the 2016 Silver Lake Fire at the end of Corralitas Drive.  The LAFD has the authority to place these signs in Hillside Areas. 
Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, September 15, 2017.  While brush may be cleared in many of the areas now, brush is often often dry for months before it is cleared.   Neighbors who've seen the same signs all over the Hollywood Hills for decades, noted their more recent proliferation in Beachwood Canyon and requested the signs for our neighborhood.  Several neighbors provided a list of suggested locations to the LAFD fire marshal overseeing the placement of the signs.
Photo: Jay Lieske, September 23, 2017.  Indeed, the fire marshal compared parts of our  neighborhood to neighborhoods in the Hollywood Hills.  We have many isolated areas like this one on Adelbert, right up against brush areas on narrow winding Hillside streets with no through traffic, in addition to public staircases and paper streets that are hidden and open to the Red Car Property.

Neighbors welcomed the signs as a reminder we live in a tinder dry hillside neighborhood.  Neighbors hope the signs get the attention of smokers who carelessly discard their cigarettes in dry brush areas.  At least one neighbor documented discarded cigarettes in parts of the neighborhood in the request for signs.  Neighbors noted areas where partying, homeless camps and squatter houses have attracted problems.  

I've asked for these signs for 25 years.  I'm grateful to the Red Car Property Neighbor who was able to devote time and energy into spearheading this project to making it a reality. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Corralitas Drive: Measurable Rain!

Photo: Corralitas Neighbor: September 21, 2017.  On the last full day of summer rain fell! At least the street sweeper blew less dust in the air.

We track rainfall totals in the Corralitas Drive rain gauge. For the past couple of years, we followed the water year as the rain year since the State changed the way it measured rain or water year from October 1 to September 30.  

Previously the season to date was from July 1 to June 30.  Apparently everyone is confused by the fluidity of the definitions (pun intended).  I'm now finding July 1 to June 30 the primary rainfall season once again. 

So this is either the first rain of the year 2017 - 2018 (since our last measurable rainfall on Corralitas Drive was May 7, 2017) or it could be the last rain of 2016-2017.  For now, less than a tenth of one inch isn't going to change our Corralitas totals enough to worry about to which year we're attributing it.  The LA Almanac and other sources count the season as July 1 to June 30.  So we're returning to that schedule this rainy season and will, once again, identify July 1 to June 30, "season to date."

September 21, 2017: 0.05"
Rain/water year to date: 24.09" Oct 1- Sept 30
Season to date:  0.05" July 1 - June 30

Friday, September 15, 2017

Red Car Canyon: Shredding Trees, Spreading Dust, But What About Insects & Pathogens?

Video: Red Car Property Neighbor, September 14, 2017.  While it's technically OK per LAFD to spread the tree shred/mulch around to help retain moisture on the slopes, it's not exactly the best thing for air quality during the chipping or shredding.  There's also the question of spreading pathogens of the dead trees.

After consulting a neighbor who is a landscape designer, and reading up on some of the local insects and pathogens, I can wholeheartedly say, if you have a sick, dead or dying tree, consult a certified arborist.  This issue is way beyond my skill set to simplify beyond the following advice.  There are too many ways to infest/infect other trees depending on the insect and or pathogen, and you may be able to save your trees.  Your mature trees are an investment in not only your home's resale value, but also the future of our neighborhood and local air quality.

We've lost a lot of large trees in the neighborhood in the past few years.  Take care of your large and native trees.  Every tree counts.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Red Car Canyon: More Trees Coming Down

Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor #1, September 14, 2017.  This morning, photos and videos came in from vigilant neighbors of more tree carnage in Red Car Canyon.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Neighbors report they seemed to be removing dead branches and trees.  Yet, photos appear to indicate smaller trees recovering from the 2016 fire appear cut down in recent weeks.  We'll run a comparison post soon.  (These things take time and are depressing as all hell to look at what we lost.)
Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, September 14, 2017.  Enlarged from previous photo, you get a better idea of scale when you see the worker up on the tree trunk.
Video: Red Car Neighbor Property Neighbor #2, September 14, 2017.  Another neighbor captured the moment they felled the same Eucalyptus.
Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor #2, September 14, 2017.  Photo confirmed the same contractor who's been doing brush clearance for the past few weeks, was chopping up trees in the canyon today.  

Looks like our heat island is expanding.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Corralitas Drive: Hillside Parking

Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, September 13, 2017.  Ever notice cars parked this way never seem to get ticketed nor crashed into by large trucks?  Be a good neighbor and park courteously. 

You can report parking violations to the City Dept of Transportation (LA DOT): 818-374-4823.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Corralitas Drive: Rats!

Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, August 19, 2017. In the past few weeks, I've received reminders from multiple neighbors regarding rat poison and cats.  When the cat, pictured here, showed up with a fresh kill, the cat's owner immediately distracted the cat with cat treats, praised the cat's hunting skills.  Simultaneously, the owner scooped up the rat in a plastic bag and threw it in a closed trash bin.

The owner did not want the cat to get poisoned in the event the rat had ingested poison.  Rat poison works its way up the food chain, as the Griffith Park Mountain Lion, P-22's bout with mange highlighted the way rat poison weakens the immune systems of the animals further up the food chain. P-22 recovered with veterinary assistance, but he was a much larger animal than a killer house cat.  House cats are extremely sensitive to poisons.  Bobcat deaths from the effects of secondary poisoning are epidemic in the Los Angeles Area.

Another neighbor contacted me last week after finding a dead rat on the sidewalk.  The rat showed no sign of trauma or puncture woulds.  The neighbor suspects rat poison and is concerned that people dispose of dead rats appropriately - bag up the dead rat and throw it in the trash.  DO NOT throw rats retrieved by your cat or killed in a trap, into a vacant lot, your neighbor's yard or in the street.  A cat, some dogs and scavengers may ingest poison causing serious illness or potentially death.

Read more abut the dangers of rat poison in the food chain: Urban Carnivores.  

Monday, September 4, 2017

Corralitas Drive: Storm Clouds Threatening

Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, September 3, 2017.  It finally cooled off when the weather  changed dramatically late yesterday. 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Corralitas Drive: Sunrise Courtesy La Tuna Fire

Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, September 2, 2017.  The nearby La Tuna Fire gave us a spectacular sunrise.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Red Car Property: Brush Clearance Resumed Today

Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor,  August 30, 2017.  Workers took a break from the insane heat and brush clearance on the slope below Lake View Ave, in the shade of a protected Native Black Walnut Tree.  It's hard to tell in this photo, but it looks like some more of the recovering Black Walnuts were chopped yet again.  

The Red Car Property line goes, roughly, along the power lines. 

Note: We're playing catch up for the month of August. This was post was actually published 8-31-17 and backdated to the date the photo was shot and originally published on Twitter.  It's our goal to catch up this weekend. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

2 Freeway: Sunday's Tree Work

Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, August 27, 2017.  The sound of chainsaws on the 2 Freeway at 6:30 AM, Sunday, awoke neighbors on Corralitas Drive.   One neighbor investigated.  CalTrans took down more than a dozen big trees in past month, claiming they were dead after last year's fire.  (We've not yet had a chance to put together a comparison post on what was removed a few weeks ago.  It is pending.)  We only have a handful of big trees left on the section of the 2 Freeway just south of the 5 Freeway
Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, August 27, 2017.  Unlike previous rounds of tree removal, there were a host of actual CalTrans vehicles and a backhoe working on the medians on both sides of the northbound 2 Freeway.  Previous work was done by tree contractors.
Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, August 27, 2017.  It appears they cut down everything growing in the medians, including young trees making a comeback after last year's fire and a few rounds of CalTrans' tree removals.

Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, August 27, 2017.  They picked up the green carnage in the dump trucks. It also appears they planted new trees.
Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, August 27, 2017.  To our surprise, at least a half dozen trees were planted in the slope between north and southbound lanes.  While the trees may not do much to clean the air today, at least it's a commitment to the future.  Neighbors have been asking for trees for more than a year since the fire.

Two weeks ago, another Red Car Property neighbor spoke to a representative from State Senate President Kevin DeLeon's staff regarding planting trees.  According to the deputy, CalTrans planted 12 Sycamore trees and 40 Toyons on the 2 Freeway.  Toyon is a slow growing, drought tolerant native shrub.  The conversation occurred 10 days prior to the planting. We'd still like to know where all those trees were planted.
Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, August 27, 2017.  There are 2 large Eucalyptus in the median south of the overhead "End of Freeway" sign. That's pretty much all the mature trees between the north and southbound lanes now. 

Related: Why We Bitch About Losing Trees
What Difference Do Trees Make?  Part 1, Part 2 
Weekend & Evening Traffic (2015)
Why We Need Trees (2014)

Monday, August 28, 2017

Corralitas Red Car Property: When The Weeds Are Taller Than The Workers...

Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, August 28, 2017.  When the weeds are taller than the workers doing the weed whacking, you understand why neighbors have been bitching about the brush clearance.  Hope they know the slope on the 2 Freeway side of that hill going down to the sidewalk is part of the Red Car Property too.  This slope is where the 2016 Silver Lake Fire started.
Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, June 28, 2017.  Yup, that's a second worker among the brush.  Enlarged from first photo.

Hear the sounds of weed whacking in short video: @Red Car Property

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Corralitas Drive: "Since CalTrans [Expletive Deleted] Woke Me Up This Morning"

Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, August 27, 2017.  Sunday, a neighbor got a scenic sunrise shot because CalTrans started chainsawing on the 2 Freeway medians at 6:30 AM.
Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, August 27, 2017.  The neighbor could not see what CalTrans was doing to the freeway through the neighbor's trees. However the work appeared to take place in the two medians on the northbound side, south of Rosebud Ave.  The neighbor wondered if there were any trees left on the 2 for CalTrans to remove.

Note: We're playing catch up for the month of August. This was post was actually published 8-28-17 and backdated to the date the photo was shot and originally published on Twitter

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Corralitas Drive: Day Of The Mantids

Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, August 22, 2017.  A neighbor was pruning plumbago, felt something on her leg.  She thought it was the cat, until it reached her thigh.  It was a 3" long, green Praying Mantis.
Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, August 22, 2017.  Later, the neighbor opened the green bin and a tan mantis popped out.
Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, August 22, 2017.  The neighbor scooped up the mantis and placed it on a nearby bush so it wouldn't get run over by a car.  It too, looked to be about 3".
Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, August 22, 2017.  The tan mantis was a better model the the green mantis.

Click here for all our neighborhood praying mantis posts.
See also: Unusal Bugs

This was post was actually published 10-16-17 and backdated to the date the photos were shot and originally published on Twitter. Click on the photo dates for original tweets. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Red Car Property: Abandoned Squatters' Camp Used Again Last Night

Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, August 13, 2017. Neighbors are fed up by the Red Car Property owner's failure to pick up the debris left behind after the squatters vacated their camp.  These photos and email (excerpted here) are from one of many concerned neighbors contacted CD13 and LAPD.  "Someone slept again last night on the old Red Car squatters encampment - I know because they left a new red blanket and new trash (see pics)."

The camp was established by a couple of squatters, mid-June.  Neighbors reported it immediately and constantly for the past few months to CD13 and LAPD.  A few weeks ago, neighbors reported the camp abandoned by the couple of squatters who had been driving a white car to and from their camp near Rose Scharlin Nursery School on a daily basis. 

Neighbors raised the concern that so much debris left behind will only attract new inhabitants.  "Does the owner really want to leave an open invitation for squatters to come live, sleep, and trash his property?"
Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, August 13, 2017.  Pictured here: dry brush right next to the campsite.  Neighbors continue raising the alarm over brush clearance.  Out of self-interest, a few neighbors cleared some of the slopes near their own homes.  "I see the [brush] clearance is still not completed, or even started (Rose Scharlin did their own hill themselves rather than wait)."  

Considering the number of cigarette butts discarded in and around the camp, neighbors are justified in their alarm.  "This is a danger to the whole neighborhood, especially with smoking squatters sleeping there."  The neighbor continues, "Does our whole neighborhood have to go up in flames before someone enforces the Brush Clearance ordinance!?!  Has LAFD even inspected this negligent property that is putting our neighborhood at risk for a catastrophic fire?"  Yes, LAFD has cited the owner several times this year.
Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, August 13, 2017.  Adding insult to injury, last night's homeless left new bags of trash.

Click here for all our squatter related posts. 

Follow us on Twitter for more timely updates on the squatter camp and brush clearance.

Note: We're playing catch up for the month of August. This was post was actually published 8-26-17 and backdated to the date the photos were shot and originally published on Twitter.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Corralitas RedCar Property: Why We Bitch About Brush Clearance

Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, August 12, 2017.  A number of neighbors were very concerned about a newer red pick up truck suspiciously parked in the middle of the dry grass on the Red Car Property for hours, earlier tonight.  Brush has yet to be cleared from the Red Car Property.  There is nothing preventing vehicles from driving onto the Red Car Property. 
Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, August 12, 2017.  Several neighbors called LAPD's non-emergency 1-877-ASK-LAPD.  At least one stayed on hold for an hour before giving up.  However, it only made neighbors more creative.  They shined lights on the truck, annoying the people inside, and the truck finally took off.

Note: We're playing catch up for the month of August. This was post was actually published 8-26-17 and backdated to the date the photo was shot and originally published on Twitter.

Corralitas Drive: Ring-Necked Snake V.S. Cat

Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, August 12, 2017.  A neighbor's cat found a tiny snake to play with.  Use the garden hose for scale.
Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, August 12, 2017.  It was a fast moving, squirmy little thing, fascinating the cat.
Photo: Corralitas Drive Neighbor, August 12, 2017.  The snake was about a foot long, the width of a pencil, olive green, dark head, light ring around the neck.  It was a Ring-Necked Snake. 
Photo: Corralitas Drive Neighbor, August 12, 2017.  The snake made a break for nearby rocks where it made its getaway,  distracting the cat by wiggling and curling/uncurling the bright red underside of it tail.

Ring-Necked Snakes in our neighborhood live in the leaf litter below big trees and lots of shade.  They seem to prefer areas with more moisture on Riverside Place, Corralitas Drive and Red Car Canyon.  According to California Herps, they eat Slender Salamanders - also found in all the same habitat in the neighborhood.

Learn more about Ring-Necked Snakes: California Herps.

Worth noting on California Herps is the conservation status.  USDA Forest Service lists the subspecies as "Sensitive;" Nature Serve State Ranking: S2, "Imperiled in the state because of rarity due to very restricted range, very few populations (often 20 or fewer), steep declines, or other factors making it very vulnerable to extirpation from the state."  

Luckily this snake got away!

Note: We're playing catch up for the month of August. This was post was actually published 8-24-17 and backdated to the date the photos were shot and originally published on Twitter. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Corralitas Red Car Property: LAFD Instructs Property Owner, Do The Brush Clearance

Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, August 11, 2017.  LAFD Brush Inspector Perez, CD13's Hector Vega met the Red Car Property Owner and his son, at the Corralitas end of the Red Car Property.  In no uncertain terms Inspector Perez instructed to do the brush clearance and remove fire hazards like dumping and abandoned homeless debris.  According to CD13's Vega, the owner said it would be done next week.

Worth noting in this photo: the green slope directly above the cul-de-sac, is the southbound 2 Freeway.  November 30, 2016, a car flew off the freeway and crashed onto Corralitas Drive.  CalTrans merely replaced the damaged guardrail, rather than extend the guardrail further south.  After the 2016 fire, CalTrans removed all the trees that prevented cars from landing on the street or on the Red Car Property.  

CalTrans has not seen the need for even temporary K-rails to prevent cars from flying off the freeway.  The guard rail is there to protect the overhead sign across the southbound lanes, not to protect neighbors. A chain link fence is at the bottom of the hill.

Note: We're playing catch up for the month of August. This was post was actually published 8-24-17 and backdated to the date the photo was shot and originally published on Twitter