Cool New L.A. River Videos

June 20, 2011 § 5 Comments

Two recent videos showing off some fun aspects of the Los Angeles River: Above is Will Campbell’s time-lapse Fathers Day exploration of the “East Bank” of the L.A. River’s Glendale Narrows. Campbell cruises the north/east side of the river from the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge to nearly the Arroyo Seco Confluence (aka the 110 Freeway/5 Freeway intersection.) Downstream of Fletcher Drive, the area was historically called Taylor Yard. This area isn’t really officially open to the public, but that doesn’t stop creek freaks from exploring it. People are out there walking, biking, fishing, etc. every day.  Check out Will’s blog “[sic]” for plenty of cool time-lapse stuff, photography, bike stuff, and more.

Below is a video of a nice big L.A. River carp, caught and released. It’s a pretty good size, looks like about 10 pounds, maybe. For more info on L.A. River fish past and present, read this post.

For Your Viewing Pleasure: Turtles, Ballona Bikes, Dorothy Green and more!

October 25, 2008 § Leave a comment

Here are some on-line videos that all us creek freaks might enjoy:

>Los Angeles Times account of Aquarium of the Pacific’s healing and release of an injured San Gabriel River sea turtle (Great video – with fascinating x-rays of broken turtle flipper bones. Kudos to the great work of the Aquarium of the Pacific staff and the Times’ Louis Sahagun. There are also sea lions in the San Gabriel River.)

>KTLA news coverage of Ballona Creek Bike Path issues (via LA Streetsblog, includes Ballona Creek Renaissance’s Jim Lamm)

>Dorothy Green with Creek Freak bloggers (Jessica and Joe) talking with Los Angeles City Councilmember Ed Reyes on the city’s L.A. River Report public information channel

>Hook TV on How to fish for carp in the Los Angeles River

>Jeffrey Tipton’s Montage on the July 2008 Los Angeles River Boating Expedition organized by George Wolfe (Coming soon: an actual high production value trailer about this expedition. Also, check out George’s kayak commute video.)

>A group I don’t know about called LA River Story has done a somewhat accurate trio of documentaries beginning with San Fernando Valley tributaries: The Great Wall of Los Angeles Mural on the Tujunga Wash, the adjacent Tujunga Wash Greenway, and what they’re calling the beginning of the river in Chatsworth.

>Turn Here’s Down by the (L.A.) River (How many errors can you spot in Creek Freak Joe Linton’s brief appearance? Be grateful that I don’t plan to blog on restaurant recommendations any time soon.)

>Meeting of Styles Graffiti Murals Event (These murals were later painted out)

>Insidious Bliss (A bleak and beautiful documentary on crystal meth addiction and homelessness in the Glendale Narrows stretch of the L. A. River)

and lastly a couple of not entirely successful attempts at Los Angeles River Humor:

>Stewart Paap in search of the LA River (“Easy access, huh?”)

>Deep Sea Fishing in Studio City (My favorite part of this are the outtakes and the brief scene where the actor steps around the construction fence – I plan to blog soon about my frustration that the city of Los Angeles’ Studio City Riverwalk has been fenced off for more than a year.)

Osprey Spotting on the L.A. River

September 28, 2008 § 3 Comments

This afternoon I met up with a friend, Daniela, for a walk along the river. She’s actually a friend of a friend of my brother’s wife. She’s new in town and heard about my riparian proclivities and wanted to check out the mighty Los Angeles. Creek freak’s regular readers and I thank her for actually bringing a real camera. We met at the end of Dover Street in Atwater Village. We walked downstream along the concrete lip down by the river’s edge. The river was looking lush and green, with lots of ducks and coots, some cormorants, and occasional egrets and herons.

It was all very Los Angeles. We said “hola” to los tres fishermen, using tortillas as bait. Checked out carp they’d caught and stored in a small cooler. “Si, vamos a comer.” Further on, below the Sunnynook Footbridge, we went past about a dozen folks taking a break from a film shoot. We stepped over the camera rail tracks they’d set up and kept walking. Then we came across the osprey.

Just upstream of the Glendale Hyperion Viaduct, we spotted an osprey (sometimes called a fish hawk) circling above. We weren’t 100% sure it was an osprey – white under-bellied raptor with white shoulders turning to grays and blacks toward the outer part of its wings. A bit like this photo – though we weren’t anywhere near that close. Even though I’ve seen them here a few times, frankly, to my non-expert-birder eyes, they’re a bit similar to some sea-gulls. I know they’re really different, with very different behavior, but the size and color are slightly similar. (Creek freak probably just lost some credibility points with our birding readers right there.) Daniela and I discussed osprey anecdotes. She told me that when osprey grab a fish, they can’t let go until they reach solid ground, so sometimes they die trying to bring in too big a fish.

We crossed under the bridge, passed the Red Car River Park mural and Daniela spotted the osprey again. It was cruising out over the river, then took an abrupt turn plummeting downward. Into the water. Splash! and up with a small fish clenched in its talons. It was a fantastic sight! It was similar to this video. I told Daniela that of course this happens all the time on the L.A. River though I’ve seen osprey maybe a couple dozen times on the L.A. River (in the Glendale Narrows and in the Sepulveda Basin), and I knew that they were there for the fish, I’d never actually seen one dive and come up with a fish. A few years ago, I was leading a field trip for a group of Valley high school students in the Sepulveda Basin when I saw an osprey carrying a fish. Some of the students said they’d seen it catch the fish, but I missed it. Today was the first time I saw the pounce, the splash, and the getaway.

The rest of the walk was pleasant. No more dramatic birds of prey, though. We turned around at Brett Goldstone’s Water with Rocks gate at Fletcher Drive. We shared plums while we sat and talked for a while under the pleasant shade of tall cottonwoods and sycamores in North East Trees’ Atwater Riverwalk mini-park.

On my ride home, I spotted the osprey again, perched on an electrical wire that crosses the river just below Sunnynook. Now perched it looked a little different – mostly solid black, with a smallish head and a small white collar. I got off my bike, made my way below the pipe fence and sat on the sloped concrete wall and watched and waited. I was hoping it would take off so I could see it in flight and could confirm its osprey-ness… but he and I just sat.  After fifteen or twenty minutes, I began to get cold, so I mounted my bike and rode home. I checked online and the photos I saw here resembled what I’d seen in the field.

Sometimes I worry right before I’m about to show the river to someone new or to lead a walk along it. I think that maybe folks will be bored, or that they won’t see anything past the trash and concrete. More often than not, the river delivers something compelling… whether it’s a canvas on which we project our restoration dreams, a patch of flowers in bloom, a smiling family out for a bike ride, the sun illuminating a noble bridge, or just an osprey doing its job.

I can’t promise anything, but I recommend that you step away from the computer and take a walk along the stream in your neighborhood. Let me know how it goes.

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