By Rosi Dagit
By Charles Hood
With staff from the Natural History Museum in Exposition Park, I was at the Sepulveda Wildlife Reserve the day after the recent “fishing for science” derby. We were not trying to avoid the fishermen — quite the opposite — just a scheduling thing, that we got there a day too late.
For me, an English major turned birder, I still struggle even with basic identification issues. The little minnowy ones I call Gambusia or mosquitofish, but that’s only because that’s what everybody else says. Do we really know?
And I have eaten carp and tilapia, but am not sure I could tell all the different forms and color phases apart.
Yet as one looks into Haskell Creek upstream from the dam, other questions arise. How long do the fish here live? What is there “pecking order” or resource partition, species to species? What eats them? There is one Belted Kingfisher present here — why not more? (It may be a bit too closed in, in terms of tree canopy, or there may not be enough unrestricted perches. That’s just my wild guess. They may drive one another away: a dominant bird may lay claim to the best part of the creek and see any trespassers off straight away.)
Turtles too come into it. The main lake has a lot of Red-eared Sliders; what’s their role in taking (or not taking) fish from Haskell Creek? In the main lake we saw something that was new to me. A dead coot was floating in the lake while turtles investigated it on each side. Were they trying to scavenge the carcass, but perhaps blocked by the dense feathers?
As the results from the fish survey on the 19th are tallied, we can make one small step toward answering these questions. It will be a long journey, one in which everyday observations from scientists and non-scientists alike have equal parts.
If any blog readers want to share thoughts or observations, do please pass them on: Charles Hood, firstname.lastname@example.org. The museum is working on a book that will be an overview of urban nature, and if you would like to share a perspective or experience, please email me.
Here’s an updated message from organizer Rosi Dagit:
Alex and I will meet Bill by 7:45 and see if we can figure out how to open the gate – pending hearing back from MRCA. We will offload all the gear from my truck and stage it there either way.8 am Meet Bill at the corner of Burbank and Woodley, see attached map where it says PARK HEREWe can direct you back across Burbank to the kayak parking area. Parking here at the Reserve involves a lovely 15-20 minute hike along Haskall Creek, back downstream under Burbank Blvd, through the south reserve and across the river, to grandmother’s house, oops, across the river and back upstream to eventually get to the kayak boat launch area where all the nets will be staged.We recommend that you bring your lunch, water, etc. in a daypack so that you can carry it over 1 mile and have hands available to help with rods, buckets, waders, etc. (Full details here)If you get stuck in traffic or have problems please call me at 310.488.6381 so we can sort things out.Thanks everyone for your patience while we got this all sorted out! Looking forward to a fun day in the river on Friday. Can’t wait to see what we catch!Cheers, RosiYou can also email FoLAR’s William Preston Bowling at email@example.com for more information.See you on the river, Jim Burns
If you’ve spent any time on Facebook looking for fellow finny fanatics (who hasn’t?), you may have seen Kesley Gallagher’s smiling face. My favorite shot was one taken in her wedding dress, fly rod in hand. Now comes an extended profile of the So Cal resident in the monthly California Confluences column in California Fly Fisher magazine. I’d link, but it’s print only.
As Gallagher recounts to Bud Bynack, the column’s author:
“I fly fish all the time, both at home and abroad. I live on a lake and kayak with a fly rod for largemouth bass after work. I fish fish the Los Angeles River for carp, and I love pursuing corbina and halibut in the surf. My friend, Al Quattrocchi, and I joke that we need a new tournament here in L.A. called the ‘Fly Fishing Freeway Challenge,’ where an angler has to land a corbina, carp, and halibut on a fly all in one day.”
Now there’s an idea!
See you on the river, Jim Burns