This sounds like possibly another series of sightings of an outsized woodpecker similar to the Ivory-billed woodpecker, already suspected from "Pteranodon" sightings from further North in California and in Oregon. There is a larger species related to the Ivory-Billed woodpecker native to Mexico but it is thought to be extinct.The creature which is reported as a pterosaur perches upright, which no kind of a pterosaur could do. I have written on this matter on this blog before.
For several days, I questioned the eyewitness by emails, and I interviewed her by phone three days after the sighting. She admitted to me that she did not have time to determine if the three “dragons” had no feathers, for they fly over her car while she was driving on a freeway. Her first impression was that they were large and not birds, assuming it was some kind of stunt, perhaps with kites. She realized they were not kites when she saw their tails move.
She was driving north on the Interstate 5, just east of a golf course on the east side of Griffith Park, in Los Angeles, on Sunday, March 3, 2013. The flying creatures flew almost exactly over her car in the opposite direction. It was just minutes before sunrise, so the sky was no longer dark and she could see the undersides of the “dragons.” They were light colored and had a peculiar shape.
She admitted that she had no confidence in estimating how high they were flying or how large they were. She mentioned nothing to me about the nearby Los Angeles River, but I was struck by its proximity. It’s common for a sighting in Southern California to be near a storm channel or river bed (see “San Fernando Valley Sighting” below). In this case, the creatures were only 150 feet away from the Los Angeles River, a major storm drainage channel, flying parallel to it.
Question: “Did you see any neck on any of them?”.
Answer: “Yes, that was another thing that tipped me off that they were not birds. They each had a distinct neck between body and head, that was more narrow and clearly visible.”
Question: “Did you see any feet on any of them?”
Answer: “I did not notice their feet.”
Question: “Is it possible that what appeared to have been tails were actually their feet held behind them?”
Answer: “I suppose it’s possible but they looked a lot like tails to me. Long and thin with a bigger point at the tip.”
Griffith Park Dragons?
This past Monday morning I read an email I received from a woman who encountered three “dragons” flying over the I-5 freeway, just northeast of downtown Los Angeles, on Sunday morning, March 3rd. (I will call this anonymous eyewitness “CGP”)
This morning at about 6 am [later clarified to be within five minutes of 6:10 a.m.] I saw three “dragons” flying over the 5-North freeway between Griffith Park and Glendale. They appeared to be several feet long, with a head:body:tail ratio that was certainly not that of a bird. Their wings were long, angular and pointed and their tails had triangular points. . . . I definitely saw them, but was driving so I could not stop and watch where they went.
Sightings of Pterosaurs
Pterosaur Sighting in South Carolina
Are bats Food for Pterodactyls in Los Angeles?
[There is no evidence for or even any allegation that pterosaurs are eating bats there]
San Fernando Valley Sighting
Only a little over a mile north of the Los Angeles River
Posted by Jonathan Whitcomb at 7:18 am
Further down the page I found this discussion which I feel I must address:
Mr. Drinnon insists that any extant pterosaur on this planet must resemble pterosaurs known from fossils that have been discovered and that any deviation in appearance means the creature observed cannot be that type of flying creature. He does not explain why he has taken that stand, but he dogmatically holds onto that position. [This is simply the statement I have made that living pterosaurs should bear some resemblance to what is known from fossils: Mr Whitcomb does not furnish us with any reports which correspond to any real known pterosaurs at all. Two common features in the reports are that the head is reported as much smaller than a pterosaur head and the shape of the wing membrane is wrong, being wide and including the legs and feet when the fossils show long and narrow wings where the wing membrane did not continue on anywhere near the feet. And the Rhamphorhynchids were generally of smaller sizes and certainly up into the range of 20 foot wingspans]
Hypothetical Encounter at a Zoo
Let’s apply that position to fossils in general and to modern creatures in general (why should pterosaurs get special treatment?). How would we react if a paleontologist marched up to the administration office of a zoo and insisted that a particular animal enclosure be labeled “Animatronic – not a real animal?” Everybody else knows that those animals are biological and not fake. Why is that paleontologist mistaken in his dogmatism? He knows that no fossil yet discovered is exactly like what we all see in that zoo enclosure, so he insists that the animals in question cannot be biological. Why is he wrong? (Of course that paleontologist is imaginary.)
Almost every adult human in Western society understands biological diversity, whether those adult humans are Biblical Creationists or strict Darwinist Evolutionists. Chihuahuas and Saint Bernards are the same species, regardless of outward differences. Why should pterosaurs drastically differ from the general rule?
Paleontologists know from pterosaur fossils that varieties existed in the past, great diversity in those flying creatures. Why should we be shocked that a modern pterosaur would have one or two or even three details of appearance that differ, in some degree, from already-discovered fossils of pterosaurs? In fact, new varieties of pterosaurs are still being discovered in fossil form. The shock is in discovering that not all their species are extinct, after generations of indoctrination into the universal-extinction dogma.[The argument is irrelevant and spurious. It has nothing to do with the issue which is that none of the witneseses are actually reporting anything like what is known of pterosaurs, especially in cases of birdlike creatures that perch upright on branches or wires, Pterosaurs could not perch.]
Mr. Drinnon emphasizes anything that seems to relate to a Manta ray fish (with sighting reports of pterosaurs) especially the general shape of the body of the Manta ray. But he mentions almost no details, no particular sighting, in most of his writings; what sighting report has a description of a ray shape and was over a large body of water? Two creatures flying together, high over a city in the Philippines could not have been a leaping Manta ray, although Drinnon still wants to hold onto the possibility that it was that fish (because that city is near water). [In this situation the city was on the shoreline and the sightings were on the shoreline, two facts which are easily determined after only a little reseach. That two rays might leap together is common and unremarkable. Mr Drinnon does not feel that endless repetitions of the exact same descriptions makes for interesting reading to his readers. In this case the shape like a manta ray was referred to in the original posting as being similar to the shape of a ropen. That shape has now become a stereotype.]
Rhamphorhynchoid Pterosaur Resemblance
In the second ropen expedition of 2004 (I led the first one), Garth Guessman and David Woetzel interviewed a few native eyewitnesses, in Papua New Guinea, by using a page of silhouettes. Those images (unlabeled except for numbers) were of dozens of known birds, bats, and pterosaurs. Only two natives had a good-enough view of the flying creature (that they called “ropen”) to make a valid evaluate of shape, comparing the images with what they remembered observing on Umboi Island. I have photocopies of the detailed reports of those interviews.
The two natives who had good views of the ropen both chose the image of the Sordes Pilosus, a Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur: [In point of fact no pterosaur has a wing membrane profile anything like this, and Rhamphorhynchid pterosaurs are notable for having thin, narrow wings]
That silhouette does bear a slight resemblance to the shape of a Manta ray (if we cut off the Rhamphorhynchoid tail vane and the head). [Mr Whitcom has just stated the obvious fact that everything about the image are resembles a manta ray except for the presumed head and tail ends, which could easily be misremembered or misobserved, and that area which does resemble a manta ray is by far more substantial than either the small head or tail areas] But both Jonathan Ragu and Jonah Jim (in two seperate sightings) saw a flying creature that was glowing, not a Manta ray that jumped out of the sea and fell back. In fact, Jonah Jim was miles from the coast, far from any major body of water.[BUT he was reporting the same tradition of the same shape which has now become the standard for accepting any such sightings by Mr Whitcomb and his researchers. And the glowing reports are not realistic but are supernatural. There is no evidence for glowing pterosaurs whatsoever, but sea creatures can be covered by bioluminescent organisms that live in the sea and which cause the glowing effect seen at sea] Ragu witnessed, with his daughter, the glowing ropen flying at or near the northwest coast of Umboi Island. Take the case that the man and his daughter had merely seen a jumping Manta ray, as unlikely as that appears to have been. Why would he have chosen the same silhouette as Jonah Jim would later choose? [because it resembles a manta ray] And why would Ragu report the same strange phenomenon: a glow? [because it is the prevalent superstition conected to such reports: indirect lighting also causes the effect]Those factors practically eliminate the jumping Manta ray misidentification as a reasonable conjecture for these two sightings. [not at all] Ragu and Jonah Jim had surely seen the same flying creature, regardless of how shocking a modern giant Sordes Pilosus may be to Westerners.[There is no reason to identify it with Sordes pilosus, the most famous feature of which is that it was furry]
Mr. Drinnon is mistaken on two major points: The critical sightings that my associates and I have analyzed could not have been misidentified leaping rays, and modern pterosaurs need not be precisely similar, in all details, to those paleontologists know from fossils.[Mr Whitcomb is wrong on two key points: that such reports cannot be based upon the shape of leaping rays when the resemblance to leaping rays is greater than it is to pterosaurs, and in that a creature which does not resemble a pterosaur should be a pteroaur. Think about the glaring internal contradiction that weas just made in that sentence!]
Pterosaur, not Manta Ray
The Four Key Sightings in the Southwest Pacific[In all of these cases the reports came years later and were possibly misremembered. I had also previously mentioned to Mr Whitcomb that some of the sightings could refer to another alleged cryptid, a giant hornbill, also said to be seen in the area; He has conveniently forgotten the alternative explanation]
Ropen, not Misidentified Frigate Bird
Misidentified sea birds [Frigate bird] are a far cry from how serious living-pterosaur investigations really began.[Although I do not advocate misidentifications of frigate birds for sightings, others have said so and I have mentioned the fact that others have said so]
Leaping Fish or Pterosaur
No Manta rays would appear to fly through the air together and change directions in the air . . .[Once again we are talking about sightings and not documentary videotapes or films. They can certainly seem to fly and change directions, and the wtnesses can be misremembering details.]