[fosc] weekly update from the field

kristen hopper krhop@earthlink.net
Fri, 25 Jul 2003 18:09:15 -0700

Hi everybody,
Well Last Saturday morning's work party in the redwoods proved a 
success. On Earth day Karen Paulsell lead a group from the Student 
Conservation Corps in a first pass at freeing our last little stand of 
redwood sorrel from the usual invaders. Last weekend a group of 
dedicated FoSC folk succeeded in doing a second pass. The usual suspects 
(Cape ivy, Algerian ivy, Himalayan blackberry and Erharta grass) where 
removed by the garbage bag loads. We'll return in the rainy season with 
progeny of the sorrel and other understory plants to fill in the big 
bare spots left by getting rid of the bad guys.

The nursery has also been seeing progress, Saturday the regular nursery 
folk (Nancy and Karen) potted up iris seedlings and finished the earlier 
begun hair cut of a bazillion exuberant California blackberry plants. On 
Tuesday and Thursday Project YES and it's bevy of energetic junior high 
schoolers visited JMPN. We had a regular old plant moving and potting up 
fest. There was lots of excitement over the western fence lizards, 
slugs, snails, and spiders.... Especially, the spiders. We found, in the 
sunny growing ground, two eight legged insectivores with shiny black 
abdomens with tiny red hour glass shapes on their under sides. Hm, 
better wear gloves when we're moving stuff over there.

Out scouting for tomorrow's work day this noon I came very close to a 
smallish raptor in the creek at the base of the Bridgeview switchbacks. 
Looking at my bird book - by it's size and markings I'd guess it was a 
juvenile sharp-shinned hawk. Perhaps one of our birders would know if my 
guess is plausible. I see from Karen Paulsell's bird checklist that the 
sharp shinned hawk is a common casual visitor.

Further down stream I met a fellow who was out geocaching in the slide 
culvert ! He was following clues on a cat theme... think like a mouse. 
Into the giant mouse hole he went assuring me that his GPS coordinates 
were fairly accurate....... I left him there with his flashlight 
promising to come back and check his progress. Here the plot of a 
concurrently unfolding mystery thickens. The clues are, the burnt 
remains of the last stack of FoSC newsletters left in the box at the 
trail head, a burgeoning homeless encampment under the roots of the 
toppled bay tree just up slope from the canyon tool box, and a wet 
overturned tupperware container near the trailhead garbage can.

So, I looped up the other side of the canyon via Benevides in search of 
accessible Acacia resprouts (to repair the fence with) and followed the 
west side trail up under Leimert Bridge. Not much in the way of easy 
access - so I continued back down to the culvert near the base of the 
Bridgeview switch backs. There I found my own little version of treasure 
- a tiny patch of wild ginger. Wonder if anyone else has found any 
Asarum caudatum in Dimond Canyon ? Well, my conscience (not to mention 
my curiosity) sent me back to where I had last seen the friendly new 
neighbor geocacher. I called into the tunnel and then sat down to take 
some notes. A few minutes later David came shambling back up the bank 
apparently disappointed. The clues clearly point here. The GPS confirms 
the spot, and in keeping with the cat theme there is a red bird feather 
at the mouth of the culvert that is supposed to be in the geocache 

David later emailed me saying that he too saw the tupperware on his way 
out and it fit the description of the container in the geocache clues. 
The person who placed the cache confirmed that our friendly geocacher 
had put his hand on the correct spot several times as he walked back and 
forth through the culvert...... a recently looted geocache. Could it be 
the same person who took issue with our flyers ? Could it be a temporary 
resident or neighborhood kids? I have heard some rather weird tales of 
things going on in the canyon recently. Are there any opinions on 
involving the local beat cop ? Or should all of this be chalked up as 
one of the many strange and wonderful mysteries of the urban wilds ?

More to the point - tomorrow morning's work party will involve a group 
of college students (15 total) from the GAP Inc. and a group from 
Encinal High School (5 total). We'll meet at the El Centro trailhead at 
9 and do a short intro. from there we'll carpool up to Bridgeview and do 
trail maintenance on the Bridgeview  switch backs. Elliott has offered 
to help me lead which is a great boon.  More seasoned FoSC hands mean 
more constructive work gets done. This is the last Saturday morning work 
program for the next six weeks. So jump on in.

Hope to see you out there,
Kristen Hopper

P.S. The blackberries are ripe. Do your duty for non-native seed 
reduction. There are very productive patches off of Benevides in San 
Luis Glade and in the Bridgeview meadow.