Robert "Roy" van de Hoek Reports on the Natural History of Los Angeles ...

Ballona Institute
Los Angeles, California
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Titmouse Park Ecosystem Natural History

by
Robert "Roy" van de Hoek
Biogeographer, Environmental Historian, and Conservation Biologist
Ballona Institute

322 Culver Boulevard, Suite 317
Los Angeles (Playa del Rey) California 90293
roy@naturespeace.org
roy@ballonainstitute.org
robertvandehoek@yahoo.com

March 6, 2010

Titmouse Park is located in California within the City of Los Angeles, in a suburb community known as Playa del Rey. The natural history of Titmouse Park is interesting for many reasons. For example, there are many kinds of natural birds that use Titmouse Park throughout the course of a year, from the smallest birds of the United States (hummingbirds) to some of the largest birds (hawks).

Another interesting aspect of the natural history of Titmouse Park is the extremely sandy soil, which supports a very rare lizard of California, which has by natural selection and evolution over millions of years, lost the need for its legs, because this lizard burrows through the loose sandy soil. The name of this unique reptile is the California Silvery Legless Lizard, which scientists and natural historians, and naturalists know as Anniella pulchra.

In fact, there are so many more interesting facets to the natural history of Titmouse Park, it seems important to write about it for the public on this web page. In the future, this web page will explore more about the natural history of Titmouse Park, such as its fascinating biodiversity, from lichens to trees, and even frogs. Did you know that there is even a California native "prairie dog" that lives in Titmouse Park?

Some naturalists refer to this native mammal as simply a "ground squirrel" but scientists know it by the name of Spermophilus beecheyi. The ancestors of this squirrel have been here for countless generations, living in the park and raising their families for so many centuries and millenia, that a rough estimate of 10,000 years may be too conservative. The fossil record of this squirrel goes back in geological time to the Pliocene Epoch and late Miocene Epoch of 6 million years. So it is appropriate to consider that this unique California squirrel has been in southern California for as long as our human history if we consider the origin of Man in Africa for several millions of years.

As you can see from this brief essay, the natural history of Titmouse Park is indeed unique and magical, as well as a mystery not only to you but to many residents and citizens of Los Angeles County, so much so, that there really is a need for us to know more about this special park. But for now, this brief essay by this eclectic natural historian, naturalist and scientist of Los Angeles will have to suffice. Stay tuned and revisit this web page in the future to learn more about the natural history of Titmouse Park, namely its flora and fauna and habitat.