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The Mono Basin’s top ten June birds

July 4th, 2015 by Sandra, Birding Intern
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The month of June has flown and it’s time to unveil the top ten bird encounters; birds seen within a half-hour driving radius of the Mono Lake Committee headquarters. It was a great month enhanced by the seasonal hatching and fledging young and by sightings at the 14th annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua held June 19–21.

A Mountain Bluebird with food for its hungry nestlings.  Photo by Erv Nichols.

A Mountain Bluebird with food for its hungry nestlings. Photo by Erv Nichols.

1. Northern Saw-whet Owl—a cavity nest with several owlets was discovered in the Obsidian Dome area during the Bird Chautauqua
2. Mountain Bluebirds—nesting behind the gas station at south entrance to June Lake Loop … more »

Extreme precipitation amidst extreme drought

July 3rd, 2015 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist
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On the evening of July 1st, rain falling on Mono Lake during thunderstorms could be heard two miles away. Photo by Geoff McQuilkin.

On the evening of July 1st, rain falling on Mono Lake during thunderstorms could be heard two miles away. Photo by Geoff McQuilkin.

The Mono Basin is a land of extremes, and this year’s weather is no exception. Temperatures since January are the warmest on record. October–March precipitation in Lee Vining was the lowest on record. April–September precipitation, on the other hand, already is the highest on record—and we are only halfway through that time period! This water year (October 1, 2014–September 30, 2015) is the first time Apr–Sept precipitation has exceeded Oct–Mar. This reversal of the warm and cold season Mediterranean precipitation patterns has allowed invasive plants like cheatgrass to … more »

Come one, come all…. Summer tours are in full swing in the Mono Basin!

July 1st, 2015 by Tina, Mono Lake Intern
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Daily walking tours and weekend canoe tours are underway for the season! Come join us and learn the natural and political history of Mono Lake and the surrounding area, discover Panum Crater, look for birds, or explore the night sky. There is an activity for everyone….

Join Mono Lake Committee and State Park birders on Friday and Sunday mornings at 8:00am for a free guided bird walk at County Park. Photo by Elin Ljung.

Join Mono Lake Committee and State Park birders at County Park on Friday and Sunday mornings at 8:00am for a free guided bird walk. Photo by Elin Ljung.

Free activities:

South Tufa Walk: Daily tours at 10:00am, 1:00pm, and 6:00pm. Meet at the South Tufa kiosk.
Bird Walk: Sunday and Friday mornings at 8:00am. Meet at Mono Lake County Park.
Panum Crater Walk: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings at 10:00am. Meet at Panum Crater parking lot. … more »

Seminar spotlight: Insects & Plants—An Ecological Marriage for the Ages

June 30th, 2015 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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With the recent rain and hot weather the Mono Basin’s wildflower bloom is getting started! With the bloom come thousands of insects that rely on certain flowers for survival, and, in turn, the flowers rely on those insects as well. Sign up now for the Insects & Plants: An Ecological Marriage for the Ages field seminar to unravel the mysteries of these insect-plant relationships.

Insects & Plants: An Ecological Marriage for the Ages • July 17–19 • $165 per person/$150 for members • sign up here

The Insects & Plants field seminar will explore the complex relationships in this ecological "marriage," like between native bees and Calochortus species of lilies. Photo by Arya Degenhardt.

The Insects & Plants field seminar will explore the complex relationships in this ecological “marriage,” like between native bees and Calochortus lilies. Photo by Arya Degenhardt.

This seminar will explore the complex, intimate relationships and attractions between insects and plants that support and sustain life on Earth, including … more »

Book your guided canoe tour on Mono Lake for the summer

June 26th, 2015 by Lily, Canoe Coordinator
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Join the Mono Lake Committee on the lake for a guided canoe tour this summer!

Photo courtesy of the American River Conservancy.

Paddle among tufa towers, catch brine shrimp, see bubbling underwater springs, and taste alkali flies on a guided canoe tour with the Mono Lake Committee. Photo courtesy of the American River Conservancy.

Whether you are brand new to paddling or a seasoned veteran of the lake, you are welcome to participate in our guided programs. Floating in a canoe is one of the best ways to take in Mono Lake. Peer down into the water to see bubbling tufa towers and clouds of brine shrimp and enjoy the mountain views while migratory birds flock nearby. Our friendly canoe guides … more »

LA Times feature article on the drought at Mono Lake

June 25th, 2015 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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If you haven’t already read today’s Los Angeles Times article about Mono Lake over your morning coffee, take a look!

LA TimesMono Lake’s ecological crisis is a blow to wildlife, LA water supply

LA-Times-Mono-article

This drought is a crucial time for Mono Lake, as record high temperatures combined with record low snowpack have caused the lake’s level to drop steadily over the last four years. The falling lake level has exposed more of the landbridge between the mainland and Negit Island, and if the lake drops another few feet the nesting California Gull population will be in danger of coyote predation. In addition, Mono Lake’s tributary streams are also stressed by lower flows of warmer-than-normal water.

Of course, the drought affecting Mono Lake affect LA’s water supply in turn. This year water going to LA from the Mono Basin was reduced by two-thirds, according to the rules set out in 1994 by the State Water Board. If Mono Lake drops another few feet, LA will not get any water from the Mono Basin at all. These protections mean that Mono Lake is in much better shape than if full, unrestricted diversions had been allowed to continue, but now it’s up to the weather gods to bring us a rainy summer and a snowy winter.

Many great Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua programs are still open

June 18th, 2015 by Lily, Canoe Coordinator
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The 14th annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua kicks off bright and early tomorrow with nearly 300 participants, over 50 presenters, and more than 80 programs! Many programs are still open, some are free, and some are great for kids, so take a look and sign up for them before they fill….

Many Bird Chautauqua programs are still open for this weekend---sign up now! Photo by Arya Degenhardt.

Many Bird Chautauqua programs are still open for this weekend—sign up now! Photo by Arya Degenhardt.

ALL OPEN PROGRAMS

Birding the Bridgeport Valley (field trip)
Peter Metropulos
Join Peter Metropulos for an exploration of wetlands and lake habitat of Bridgeport Reservoir. After birding along the eastern shore of the reservoir we will head north, pausing here and there to investigate the riparian corridor and pinyon pine woodland bordering the East Walker River along … more »

Mumbo Gumbo playing at Mono Lake County Park on Sunday

June 17th, 2015 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Make your way to Mono Lake County Park this Sunday, June 21 at noon to picnic on the lawn and enjoy a free concert with the band Mumbo Gumbo! It’s a great way to celebrate the summer solstice and Father’s Day all in one.

Mumbo-Gumbo

You can bring your own lunch, but a delicious lunch will be for sale for $10 per meal at the park: sirloin burgers, turkey burgers, and garden burgers with cheese and all the toppings, plus salad, dessert, and a drink. All proceeds from lunch benefit Lee Vining High School.

This year we’re very excited to have Mumbo Gumbo playing at the park. Mumbo Gumbo … more »

Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua receives a 2015 Mindful Birding Award for adopting ethical birding guidelines

June 17th, 2015 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Mindful-Birding-Mono-Basin-Bird-Chautauqua-2015_bgrd1In mid-May, we were surprised and happy to hear that the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua had received a Mindful Birding Award!

Since the Chautauqua began in 2002 we have worked hard to make the event as low-impact as possible to the wildlife around which it revolves. In particular, since the rise in popularity of smartphones and other digital devices has made it easier to use audio playback to attract birds and alter their behavior, we have adopted the policy of the American Birding Association: “Individuals [should] limit the use of recordings and other methods of attracting birds, and never use such methods in heavily birded areas, or for attracting any species that is Threatened, Endangered, or of Special Concern, or is rare in your local area.” … more »

Mono Lake Committee summer hours begin this Thursday: Open 8:00am to 9:00pm every day

June 16th, 2015 by Terry, Information Center & Bookstore Manager
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bookstore-summer-hours-just-gull

The summer travel season in the Eastern Sierra brings migrants and pilgrims.

The birds, attuned to nature’s siren song, have winged their way to the Mono Basin. The long days and warm nights bring the fecundity back to the brush and pines. These feathered migrants perch, peck, and peruse our shores and sage, feeding their young in hope for the next generation. Blue, black, yellow, green, orange, red, and white tufted flyers startle across skies.

Likewise, with open passes and the promise of adventure, come the pilgrims. Join them.

Starting Thursday, June 18 the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore will be open from 8:00am to 9:00pm every day. Pilgrims are welcome.

Looking for birds, flowers, fish, or trails? Need a book, bottle, or bric-a-brac? Come see us. All our books and T-shirts are gluten free.

The days are long but summer is short.

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