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BioBlitzing Weekend in Los Angeles

Nancy Brennan, Children's Librarian, Woodland Hills Branch Library,
Collage of wildlife observations at Temescal Gateway Park

I took advantage of the three-day weekend to add wildlife observations for the L.A. BioBlitz Challenge at Temescal Gateway Park in Pacific Palisades. It was an easy 15-minute walk from my house that bypasses the normally packed holiday parking.

I started taking pictures right away with the brightly colored poison oak around the creek bed and moved to the darting blue and brown dragonflies. Enjoying my quest, I took a quick break with peaceful green algae and leaves of watercress in the turbid creek, then caught a lizard being coy, peeking around an oak tree branch. I watched wild bees coming and going out of a hole in a sycamore tree (looking like planes landing and taking off at LAX) and recognized buckwheat with pink and white blooms only because parts of the plants had aged to rust, which is how I see the blossoms most of the year.

Hopes of photographing a lovely Anise swallowtail were just tantalized, but its flight never stopped within camera range...those fluttering butterflies! I spent about an hour and a half making eleven observations and finding fascinating animals, insects, and plants in my neighborhood park.

As the morning had gotten rather warm, I headed out along Sunset Boulevard. Luckily, I was delighted to spot clustered dock, a type of tall weed, remembering them fondly as old friends from my childhood. Suddenly I have a nice dozen photos for the L.A. BioBlitz Challenge before lunch!

On Monday as the haze and scent of Sunday's fireworks lingered in the canyons and hills, I drove my car to the beach to attempt more observations before the rest of L.A. arrived.

Sea moss covered the granite breakwaters as the high tides pushed them upward and back. Barnacles coated the rocky formations while sand moved and shifted underfoot. Tangled into the sea wrack were giant kelp pods, red algae coated with fragile creature shapes, and bright green seagrass. Wide-spread skeletons were all that was left of uprooted sand crabs lying beside a lone bean opened clam, showing its purple insides. Seagulls dashed overhead too swift to photograph. They slid through the air currents while the surf broke below them. A fisherman pulled his last yellowtail croaker from the ocean, getting ready to leave. Inland folk steadily arrived to set up for their day with towels, pop-ups, coolers, and children.

It was time to return home before the sun's glare made photos impossible, but of course, there would be a bright-eyed wayward ground squirrel to see on the way back to the car.

That was my marvelous BioBlitzing for the weekend! Use #LABioBlitz and #LAPLNeiSci to share your photos.