Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Denis Callet's 201 Birds

The great horned owls who live at Hahamongna Watershed park seem comfortable with Denis Callet. He has spent so much time there with his camouflage-covered camera that they're used to him. Even the babies pose with confidence.

Check out those toes.

At last Saturday's Hahamongna "Multi-Benefit/Multi-Use Project" Environmental Impact Report scoping meeting, members of the local Audubon Society reported that they have catalogued 201 different species of birds living at Hahamongna. I think Denis has photographed most of them. "It was an awakening meeting," says Denis. "I will attend all those meetings from now on, the wildlife need us more than we need a soccer field."

"Multi-Benefit/Multi-Use" can be considered a misnomer, depending upon how you define "benefit." At a time of drought, when the Colorado River (a source we've long depended on) is at historic lows and the Metropolitan Water District no longer guarantees enough water to fill local groundwater basins, building pollutants into our watershed makes no sense. Nor does disrupting the habitat of squirrels, rabbits, snakes, lizards, bobcats, mountain lions and 201 species of birds.

Denis says four Cooper's Hawk babies were born this year "and I was lucky enough to see them grow up and fledged." He says lucky, I say patient.

I think we can all agree that there's nothing wrong with athletic fields. But some of us--a majority of us, I'll bet--think there's something wrong with athletic fields at Hahamongna. Let's put them somewhere else.

A couple of links you might find useful:
The City of Pasadena's website for the MBMU Project, including the Initial Study prepared by Willdan, the company that will do the Environmental Impact Report (the city will be updating this site as the project moves forward;
Sycamore Grove Field Grant Analysis, a concise report by Hugh Bowles that delineates how the City of Pasadena possibly falsified information on its grant application for state funding for the Hahamongna athletic field, which is part of the MBMU Project;

22 comments:

Susan Campisi said...

Wow! These photos are amazing. And your wise words do them justice. With you and Denis and all the other citizens speaking out to save Hahamongna, I almost believe we can win this fight. I hope City Council sees this post.

Petrea Burchard said...

I hope so, too, Susan. Isn't Denis great? He won an Arroyo Seco Award last year for his work.

Desiree said...

Great stuff

Petrea Burchard said...

Des, he goes out there with a lens the size of a bazooka.

LONDONLULU said...

Very worthy of highlighting & thanks for doing so (I actually do social science research and, naturally/nerdily, clicked through the report - fascinating stuff!) Those photos are amazing, such magnificent creatures.

John Sandel said...

With talons like that, who needs confidence? Stone cold killers—silent on the wing. Now if Denis can just find out where the bats roost …

Petrea Burchard said...

It's a fabulous bit of open space, Lulu--amazing creatures living there, where we can visit.

Bats--don't you think they have to be under the bridge, J? In or around it? I'll bet Denis knows.

dive said...

Beautiful photos of beautiful birds, Denis. And yay, Petrea, for keeping the pressure on.
If you need an Englishman to testify to the utter worthlessness of soccer, I'll be happy to oblige.

Laura Monteros said...

What amazing photos. Patience, indeed.

BTW, whatever "improvements" the city puts in Hahamongna will be used more by La Canada than Pasadena. It's across the street or down the block from four or five high schools in LCF, and a couple miles away from Muir, the closest Pasadena high school.

Petrea Burchard said...

Thank you, Dive. We have a lot of smart Brits here in town, but will keep your offer in mind.

Laura, I don't know if you've had a chance to read Mr. Bowles' report. I think you'll find it fascinating. The proposed field is supposed to be in a "highly populated inner city" neighborhood, according to the state grant, yet it is 1.6 miles from the nearest home in Pasadena and, as you say, directly across the street from La Canada Flintridge High School, one of the wealthiest schools in the area. There is also scant public transportation to the proposed field for the people it's supposed to serve.

Bellis said...

Denis takes great photos, and my dog barks at him because she thinks his huge lens is a gun! Did you know that if the field isn't lit at night, which it can't be, there will be no team wanting to play there after school, during the week, in the fall and winter soccer season. All that habitat destroyed and money wasted for a field that will lie unused most of the time? I think that's dreadful. It's our taxpayer's money going toward this - we need to protest. And by the way, Pasadena City is going to increase our property taxes soon, because they're short of money.

An endangered bird, the Least Bell's Vireo, has recently been seen in the area doomed to be replaced by the car park, soccer field and disc golf course. I hope Denis can photograph it. The EIR company need to be aware of this. If you write to them in response to the preliminary EIR report, please mention this. The Pasadena Audubon Society has photos and more details. It's an exciting development.

altadenahiker said...

There was a young barn owl in my walnut tree last month, and the entire neighborhood came out to ooo and ahhh. Finally the owl tired of the paparazzi and flew to a nearby palm. The treasures to be found in Hahamongna if successfully evicted will have nowhere else to go.

Petrea Burchard said...

I'm not sure I understand it, Bellis--is it Pasadena law that the field can't be lit at night? The grant requires that the field be usable between 3 and 7 pm, but if we can't light the field then that won't be possible during the winter months. So the viability of our grant application is in question.

Karin, I live about 4 miles from Hahamongna and 3 miles south of the foothills, and we already have Coopers Hawks and coyotes living in our neighborhood since the Station Fire. I'm worried about the carnivores and how they'll be treated by humans if they're displaced into the neighborhoods. Witness the mountain lion who ended up in Santa Monica.

Margaret said...

How beautiful the baby owls are. There feathers are so downy. Really remarkable photography.

Katie said...

I say recruit an adorable, animal-loving, soccer-playing youngster to show up at a meeting with big versions of some of Denis's amazing bird photos and ask the adults how they can even THINK of displacing so many animals birds when there HAS to be a better location for the athletic field. Just a thought. Keep on fighting!

Petrea Burchard said...

The birds seem fuzzy and cuddly. Wisely, Denis has not disclosed the location of their nest.

Katie, soccer kids and soccer moms have come and protested, to no avail. The field is "in the plan." No matter that the plan is outdated and irrelevant. It's in the plan, dammit, and we're going to have it.

The public comment period continues until August 23rd. I'll post the links again. I hope people will write to Willdan and let their feelings be known.

Ms M said...

Those are excellent photos! Keep up the pressure -- and good luck to all of you working to stop the "soccer field" project.

vermenton said...

Thank you every one for the kind comment about my photography. They will be no picture if the bird were not there and if Hahamongna will disappear, you can pretty much said goodbye to the wildlife. I will be more than happy to print large format picture of the wildlife to be display somewhere for people to see and maybe to convince them to join the fight against development.

Petrea Burchard said...

Thanks, Ms. M., your good wishes are welcome.

Denis, thanks for letting me post your wonderful photos. I hope a lot of people check out your website, too.

I'll get all the information about where to send public comments and have that posted this weekend.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I had a string of comments yesterday with Dennis through Face Book. I'm glad he's on board

Petrea Burchard said...

Me too. And I was just contacted by another organization so, fingers crossed.

Dina said...

I hope the deciding people will be as wise as these magnificent owls.