Rambling LA: The Chumash Trail

Environment reporter Ilsa Setziol recently left the San Gabriel foothill haunts often covered by her blog Rambling LA for a hike on the Chumash trail in Point Mugu State Park. This photo essay captures glimpses of coastal sage scrub in spring, including the toyon, sages and artemisia pictured above. Click here for more images from Ilsa’s foray, including close-ups of mariposa lilies, buckwheat, prickly pears, golden stars, monkey flowers and yucca spires. For background on the trail, click here for a piece by John McKinney from the Los Angeles Times. Or for regional Southern California listings of hikes, restoration projects and dry garden events, click here. If you have an event that you would like listed, please send details to emily.green [@] mac.com or provide a link in the comment box.

Rambling LA: From fire, flowers

Detail from the cover of "California's Fading Wildflowers" by Richard A. Minnich, UC Press. For more information, click on the hillsides.

By Ilsa Setziol

“WE GET excited after fires,” admits Ileene Anderson, a Los Angeles-based public lands director for the Center for Biological Diversity. “In the chaparral in Southern California, fires burn down all that thick impenetrable shrubbiness. With that over-story cleared out, it allows for terrific blooms of annuals or short-lived perennials that only show up after fires.”

Rambling LA: To take a backward look

These are the days when Birds come back —

A very few — a Bird or two —

To take a backward look.

Emily Dickinson

HOPE  is indeed a thing with feathers, writes Ilsa Setziol. In a landscape entombed in cement, the sight of a wild bird soaring — circling over the freeway, alighting on the towers of high-tension power liness — offers a sudden thrill.

If it’s a majestic bird, it’s probably a hawk.

Rambling LA: Native gray

Western gray squirrel, Sciurus griseus. Photo: Terry Spivey Photography, Bugwood.org.

By Ilsa Setziol

Who hasn’t watched their backyard squirrels scurry along power lines, spiral up and down tree trunks, whip their tails and holler “chkk-chkk-chkk” at trespassing scrub jays?

Now that autumn trees are full of acorns, the antics are in overdrive.

Surprisingly, though, the squirrels leaping from bough to bough in urban Los Angeles aren’t native.

Rambling LA: At sea and agog

Click on the whales to be taken to the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuaries page on blue whales. Photo: NOAA

By Ilsa Setziol

THE DINOSAURS are gone. So too the mammoths, saber-toothed cats and short-faced bears. Even California’s mascot, the grizzly, no longer roams the state. Megalopolis has replaced megafauna. Yet the largest animal ever still graces the California coast. This summer, I went looking for it.

keep looking »
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