Journal archives for July 2021

July 22, 2021

July 21, 2021 LA River/ Glendale River Walk

Always seeking new areas to explore that are close by, I visited the LA River adjacent to the Bette Davis Picnic Area. I've been in this area before, but primarily to look for birds. On this day I decided to see what else I could find.

The LA River in itself, is somewhat of a joke...after all, who paves a river? While I was down there, a maintenance truck was stopped and several men were chopping up vegetation in the center island. I'm not sure what the purpose of that was as it didn't look too overgrown to me, but that seems to be their job--they drive up and down the riverbed, disturbing wildlife. I think I read somewhere once that if the LA River wasn't paved, there would be very little water in it. That may be, but there is not a whole lot of water in there least in this location.

Bordered by the 134 Freeway and in the heart of the concrete jungle, there is life. While not the most pleasant experience between freeway exhaust, searing sun reflecting off the bright concrete pavement and the incessant noise of the freeway and planes overhead, I did find some interesting, and for me, new species.

I spent a fair amount of time looking in the shallow water for life and it is definitely there. There were larvae galore including mosquitoes and probably black flies. There were some scavenger beetles that I couldn't get great photos of as they swam too fast, water boatmen (shouldn't there be water boatwomen too?) and a few unidentified objects as well. I'm just learning a bit about ostracods and there were several of those too.

In the midst of the drought, there were quite a few flowering plants, many invasive but still nice to see in our parched environment. These included puncture vine and common purslane as well as some lovely large prairie sunflowers. One rather ugly weedy looking grass came up on CV as "jungle rice". I'm not completely sure the ID is correct but it looks close and computer vision came up with that for all four photos I included in my observation so I'm going with it for now. Originally from Asia, it apparently is something whose seeds are eaten after processing in some countries.

Getting hot in the sun and trying to avoid the maintenance crew, I went under the bridge and saw a few swallow nests. All were empty except one that had three little ones (and not really so little anymore) peering down at me from their noisy abode. They were super cute and I often wonder how the birds that nest and roost near these busy highway bridges fare. Is their hearing impacted or becoming more acute in order to hear one another? Are they adapting to the constant stream of exhaust and dirty air? Or perhaps they just put up with it as there are usually a lot of bugs flying around in these areas.

After spending some time at the river, I walked back up and proceeded down the concrete path that's called the Glendale River Walk. Definitely not the experience that name conjures up; however there were quite a few plants along the path that were attracting their share of insects. One new insect I found on a cactus was a trident lady beetle--I like it's styling! I also found a bee fly that I haven't seen before--a ligyra gazophylax (or so I think). Looking at the map, they seem to be fairly common to the east of LA but not so much in the Santa Monica Mountains where I spend most of my time.

I'm sure I'll be back, as I have to say the water, as minimal as it is, and the environment, as unappealing as it is, had a pretty good variety of wildlife.

Posted on July 22, 2021 06:08 AM by naturephotosuze naturephotosuze | 9 observations | 2 comments | Leave a comment