Author Archives: Jay Babcock

About Jay Babcock

I am the co-founder and editor of Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curator of the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was one of five Angelenos listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. Today, I live a peaceful life in the rural wilderness of Joshua Tree, California, where I am a partner in with Stephanie Smith.


Warming up, so desert tortoises — like this dude at one of our properties — are emerging from their burrows where they’ve been brumating during the cold winter temperatures.

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Last week we got snow in our neck of Joshua Tree for the second time in 2019. The cat was intrigued. Here he is, in a photo by Stephanie, trying to pick up the scent of the local cottontail rabbits. … Continue reading

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So great to have more birds of prey in our neighborhood recently. I saw the local Cooper’s Hawk Red-tailed Hawk this past Friday on my morning trot around the 80-acre “block.” But…wait! Is it really a Cooper’s Hawk? One bird … Continue reading

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Rain last fall, winter and spring changed the face of the desert. The drought was broken. Old plants grew bigger; new plants emerged; and wildflowers and grasses carpeted what had otherwise been nearly bare sand for years. The increase in … Continue reading

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Tiny butterflies (wingspan: around an inch) have been hanging out, with bees, on a desert broom bush in our yard. iNaturalist folk are saying they’re Mormon Metalmark (Apodemia mormo). Never seen these guys here before. Really beautiful. (Note the bee … Continue reading

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Last week we had massive groups of migrating turkey vultures at dusk and early morning on consecutive days. Here they are warming up in the dawn sun. Wild animals are the best — never gets old seeing them! Wikipedia: “A … Continue reading

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Local wild desert tortoises have been showing themselves lately. This guy was under one of our vehicles, taking shelter after some rain the night before. Click on the photo to enlarge. Amazing gaze from this fella. And a happy guest … Continue reading

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Two wild Coachwhips (aka Red Racers, or Red Coachwhips; scientific name: Masticophis flagellum piceus) mating. Filmed recently by a neighbor friend here in Joshua Tree; shared with his permission. More info on this animal:

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Burrowing owls are back in our neck of Joshua Tree! Photo by neighbor Miguel. Reminder that we rent out 2 of our cabins in this neighborhood to gentle visitors. Can’t guarantee a burrowing owl encounter, but… What is a burrowing … Continue reading

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Scene from Wednesday morning’s daily dawntime run thru the local wash. All the fall/winter rain has given us a spring superbloom: wildflowers and other vegetation are in an abundance I haven’t seen since moving here in 2010. Prairie-like. Follow me … Continue reading

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