In the SoCal mountains with trail camera trackers

cougar-magic-lion.jpgJohanna Turner and Denis Callet are friends who met through their shared pursuit of capturing trail photos of the LA area's mountain lions, bears, foxes and other fauna. “Science doesn’t belong only to the people who go to school for it, today, it’s available for everyone to become a citizen scientist,” Callet says in a piece at SoCal Wild that goes out with the photo trackers as they check their cameras for new discoveries. They use a mix of Bushnell cameras and Callet’s homemade DSLRs that take color images.

Callet and Turner each carry big backpacks full of equipment, hardware, batteries, cords, zip-ties, duct tape and more. Turner also carries her laptop so the two can check on how the cameras are positioned, if the lighting, sensors and triggers are working, etc. etc....

On her popular CougarMagic blog, Turner shares images taken with her remote cameras that she’s set up all around SoCal wild areas. These days, she’s posting more frequently on CougarMagic’s Facebook page. Years ago, she posted images of a collar mountain lion – P-12 – in the Santa Monica Mountains that caught the attention of National Park Service ranger Jeff Sikich. That photo revealed a broken radio collar which helped Sikch understand why he was having trouble tracking the big cat.

“Citizen scientists can provide some real important data for us,” he says adding that, “There are not that many people out there doing this. Cameras can get stolen or damaged. It’s hard work. But Johanna has such a passion and is so dedicated to it. She’s been able to cover areas of the mountains that I haven’t been to.”

Equally enthusiastic about wildlife behind a camera, Callet admired Turner’s popular Cougarmagic blog/YouTube Channel for years. He finally sent her an email about collaboration and encouraged her to check out his personal blog of nature photos, many taken in the Hahamonga Watershed Park, the Arroyo Seco and surrounding terrain. Dramatic photos of ospreys, great horned owls and videos of red shoulder hawks feeding their young. “I knew he was for real and serious,” she explains. “He has the eye and passion for this.”

Puma: CougarMagic on Facebook

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