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Archive for the ‘Los Angeles’ Category

Free Sandbags from the City of Los Angeles at Local Fire Stations

January 4th, 2016 Comments off

The rains are coming…or so they say. I was a little worried that I had missed the window to get some sandbags from the local First Station and install them since it did rain here a bit over night. A bright, clear and warm day made a perfect day to get them, though. It looked liked a lot of other people had the same ideas. The lot at LA City Fire Station 88 was hopping with at least 8 other groups there.

As an added bonus for some, this is also the same location to recycle your (once) live Christmas Tree instead of just dropping it on the curb or in an empty lot. There is a large dumpster that will be added to the city mulch piles and re-distributed to citizens. That is the next trip I have planned.

City of Los Angeles Sandbag Pickup Locations

City of Burbank Sandbag Pickup Locations

For those outside of the City, check with your local city web sites for more information

Panorama of Station 88 sandbag pickup

The  City provides both bags and sand, but you need to bring your own shovels and elbow grease. It only took about 15 minutes for the 3 of us to file 6 bags and load them in the car. They are heavy, even when only filled halfway, so you may need to bring some help with you, too. Don’t hurt yourself! I would guesstimate about 50 lbs per sandbag if filled 3/4 full. 

I wasn’t sure how much weight my Honda Element could take, but it handled 6 bags with no problem at all. I could probably have gone with as many as 10 without causing any issues with the suspension. 

…and here they are installed in the back yard. For the most part, our yard and garden doesn’t have any drainage problems, but this one spot — at the end of the patio can fill up during the heaviest rains and once it leaked under the garage door. I am placing these just in case we get the heavy rains that are predicted. They will raise the water level just enough to allow the heaviest rains to run around the garage and down the alley to the street.

I highly recommend keeping a few sandbags on hand just in case they are needed. You don’t want to be running to the station and shoveling in the rain, if you can help it.


City of Los Angeles Sandbag Pickup Locations

City of Burbank Sandbag Pickup Location

Categories: California, Garden, LA, Los Angeles, News, outdoors, Photos Tags:

Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) in the Los Angele River (Silent) [Video]

December 28th, 2015 Comments off

1.5 minutes of footage of Black-necked Stilts (Himantopus mexicanus) in the Los Angeles River taken on December 20, 2015 in Burbank, California.

Black-necked Stilt


From Wikipedia…

The black-necked stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) is a locally abundant shorebird of American wetlands and coastlines. It is found from the coastal areas of California through much of the interior western United States and along the Gulf of Mexico as far east as Florida, then south through Central America and the Caribbean to northwest Brazil southwest Peru, east Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands. The northernmost populations, particularly those from inland, are migratory, wintering from the extreme south of the United States to southern Mexico, rarely as far south as Costa Rica; on the Baja California peninsula it is only found regularly in winter.[2]

It is often treated as a subspecies of the common or black-winged stilt, using the trinomial name Himantopus himantopus mexicanus.[3] However, the AOU has always considered it a species in its own right, and the scientific name Himantopus mexicanus is often seen. Matters are more complicated though; sometimes all five distinct lineages of the Common Stilt are treated as different species. But the White-necked Stilt from southern South America (H. h. melanurus when only one species is recognized), parapatric and intergrading to some extent with its northern relative where their ranges meet, would warrant inclusion with the Black-necked stilt when this is separated specifically, becoming Himantopus mexicanus melanurus. Similarly, the Hawaiian stilt, H. m. knudseni, is likely to belong to the American species when this is considered separate; while some treat it as another distinct species, the AOU, BirdLife International and the IUCN do not.[4] Thus, in their scheme the black-necked stilt is properly named Himantopus mexicanus mexicanus.[5]

Read the entire article

Places LA: A Few Minutes by the Los Angeles River [Video]

December 22nd, 2015 Comments off

Places LA: Few Minutes by the Los Angeles River


As a part of a friend’s project to walk the entire Los Angeles River, we joined some friends to walk the segment from Warner Bros Studio, past the Disney Studio, through the LA Equestrian Center and ending at Bette Davis Park at Victory Blvd in Burbank.

Find out more about this project on Animalbytes

See some photos from this walk in my Flickr Photostream

Places LA: Few Minutes by the Los Angeles River [Video]

Music: “Carefree” by Kevin MacLeod ( under Creative Commons License

Here is the complete list of birds we saw on the walk.

American Wigeon (Anas americana) 11 three pairs plus individuals
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 6 three pairs
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) 1 on the river among other ducks
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) 2 Watched heron catch a 7-8 inch catfish. It also appeared to be a non-native fish species.
Great Egret (Ardea alba) 2 Watched one catch a 6 inch catfish out of the river. It did not appear to be a native fish species.
Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) 3
American Coot (Fulica americana) 22 group together in middle of the river
Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) 70 feeding in large groups
Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius) 1
Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) 1
Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla) 67 feeding together in loose groups along shallow edges of the river
Western Gull (Larus occidentalis) 1
California Gull (Larus californicus) 3
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) (Columba livia (Feral Pigeon)) 33 on wires over Equestrian Center
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) 22 sitting in snag tree
Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna) 2
Allen’s Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin) 1
Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) 1 perched on fence overlooking river
Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus) 7 in Bette Davis Park
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) 1
Red-crowned Parrot (Amazona viridigenalis) 8 appeared to be in pairs, sitting in the tops of sycamore trees in Bette Davis Park
Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans) 7 each in separate territories
Western Scrub-Jay (Coastal) (Aphelocoma californica [californica Group]) 2
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) 2
Common Raven (Corvus corax) 2
Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) 5
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 5
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon’s) (Setophaga coronata auduboni) 7 abundant in trees along the river
Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus) 3 in shrubs along the river
White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) 6 feeding with lesser goldfinches in non-native shrubs
California Towhee (Melozone crissalis) 3
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) 32 feeding in grassy areas and shrubs along the river
Lesser Goldfinch (Spinus psaltria) 11 feeding in non-native trees
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) 3 at Equestrian Center

View this checklist online at

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (

Walking the Los Angeles River – Winnetka to Tampa – November 2, 2015

November 2nd, 2015 Comments off

Our friend, Keri from has started a project to walk and document the entire Los Angeles Rover, from its headwaters in Bell Canyon here in the San Fernando Valley to the sea in Long Beach. Today, we joined her for a short segment of the river from Winnetka Ave to Tampa Avenue. Here are a few photos and thoughts from our walk. we plan on joining Keri for additional sections of the river as time allows,including her walk through one of the wisest stretches of the river as it passes through the Sepulveda Basin.

Read Keri’s Post on our walk and see her photos in her blog, Animalbytes

This section of the river has an improved bike and walking path including solar lighting, benches, drinking fountains and botanical landscaping.

LA River Walk - Winnetka to Tampa - November 2, 2015

While Southern California plants are pretty much in dormancy this time of year, especially due to our long running drought, we found a few blooms along our walk.

LA River Walk - Winnetka to Tampa - November 2, 2015

LA River Walk - Winnetka to Tampa - November 2, 2015

LA River Walk - Winnetka to Tampa - November 2, 2015


We also spotted some wildlife along the river, including sandpipers, killdeer, hummingbirds, pigeons and these crows bathing in the small amount of water in the river at the moment.

LA River Walk - Winnetka to Tampa - November 2, 2015

Signage at the Tampa Avenue entrance to the river walkway.

LA River Walk - Winnetka to Tampa - November 2, 2015

LA River Walk - Winnetka to Tampa - November 2, 2015

Watch a slide show of the photos from Walking the Los Angeles River – Winnetka to Tampa – November 2, 2015


Listen to Ghosts of the internet 2015!

October 31st, 2015 Comments off

Just in time to stream and scream for a Happy Halloween!!

Listen to Ghosts of the Internet

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Ghosts of the Internet Number 9

Goti crow skull

Boo-tiful time For Ghosts of the Internet Number Nine! – View the Blog!

Mixing board

Great Stories, Bad Jokes and Spooky Poems were read!

Number Nine went Fine!

And now it’s ONLINE!!


Bonus Content to come!

Visit the

Noted: ‘Hopscotch’ is a mobile opera of LA culture

October 30th, 2015 Comments off

“Villa in the Vineyard Watercolor” Totes, bags, mugs, cards and more!

October 12th, 2015 Comments off

California Wildfire Information 2015 – A collection of resources for the 2015 fire season and beyond

September 14th, 2015 Comments off

(All links confirmed as working – September 14, 2015)

As is common, we are in a drought again, here in California, and this makes the occurrence of wildfire more likely and also increases the damage that wildfires can do in the landscape and in populated areas. In an effort to stay in touch with the wildfire situation here in California, I have collected a set of resources to keep me informed when fires break out. While I live in the middle of the San Fernando Valley and fairly free from the direct danger of wildfire, fires in the surrounding areas can cause large problems with evacuations, smoke plumes and ash and also directly effect friends and family who live in or near wild lands.

 Cal fire banner

CAL FIRE is a State agency responsible for protecting natural resources from fire on land designated by the State Board of Forestry as State Responsibility Area (SRA). CAL FIRE also manages the State Forest system and has responsibility to enforce the forest practice regulations, which govern forestry practices on private and other non-federal lands. Two major themes are attendant to the CAL FIRE mission. One is the protection of the State’s merchantable timber on all non-federal lands from improper logging activities and the other is the protection of the State’s grass, brush, and tree covered watersheds in SRA from wildland fire. CAL FIRE is a “conservation agency” with origins stemming from the “Conservation Movement” of the last century.”

Cal Fire provides a number of online resources:

Cal Fire Incident Google Map with perimeters

Inciweb Wildfire Information

“InciWeb is an interagency all-risk incident information management system. The system was developed with two primary missions:

Provide the public a single source of incident related information
Provide a standardized reporting tool for the Public Affairs community
A number of supporting systems automate the delivery of incident information to remote sources. This ensures that the information regarding active incidents is consistent, and the delivery is timely.”

InciWeb Resources:

Enplan wildfire viewer

Enplan Wildfire Viewer

“ENPLAN provides environmental planning and geospatial information services and products to both public and private sectors. We have served over 500 clients since we began in 1980. Throughout our existence, we have remained absolutely committed to leading-edge quality and innovation in the solutions we deliver.”

Enplan Wildfire Viewer Resources:

ESRI Integrated Fire Information Map

ESRI Integrated Fire Information Map

Resources include:

  • Fire Locations
  • Filtered Tweets 
  • Wildfire Perimeters
  • Fire-Related Weather Watches and Warnings

In the Garden: Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) from September 11 & 12, 2015 [Video]

September 13th, 2015 Comments off

From A Gardener’s Notebook with Douglas E. Welch

In the Garden: Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) from September 11 & 12, 2015 [Video]


A regular visitor to the garden, this Cooper’s Hawk appeared on both September 11 and 12, 2015. Two clips as the hawk sis, drinks and bathes in the birdbath.

From Wikipedia…

Cooper’s hawk (Accipiter cooperii) is a medium-sized hawk native to the North American continent and found from Southern Canada to Northern Mexico. As in many birds of prey, the male is smaller than the female. The birds found east of the Mississippi River tend to be larger on average than the birds found to the west.

Cooper’s hawk was first described by French naturalist Charles Lucien Bonaparte in 1828. It is a member of the goshawk genus Accipiter. This bird was named after the naturalist William Cooper, one of the founders of the New York Lyceum of Natural History (later the New York Academy of Sciences) in New York. Other common names; big blue darter, chicken hawk, hen hawk, Mexican hawk, quail hawk, striker and swift hawk.[2] — Wikipedia


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Fire on Calvert at Kester – September 10, 2015, Van Nuys,CA [2 Videos]

September 10th, 2015 Comments off
Categories: California, LA, Los Angeles, News, Video Tags: