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The Mono-logue

The Mono Basin’s top 10 August birds

September 1st, 2014 by Sandra, Birding Intern

This flock of American Avocets flew through my photograph of two Osprey chicks just as I clicked the shutter. The fledged Osprey chicks had returned to their nest hoping for one more parent-provided fish dinner as they work to perfect their own flying and hunting skills. Photo by Erv Nichols.

It’s hard to believe that our three months as Mono Lake Committee Birding Interns are drawing to a close. In an interesting bracket to the season, our bird walks at County Park began in May with a sighting of a Great Horned Owl and our last walk in August also began with a Great Horned Owl. They were different birds—perhaps the most recent being an offspring of the pair that nested here and fledged two chicks in June. Each month has offered a lovely variety of birds, from spring migrants through nesting pairs and now into fall migrants, along with interesting and reliable residential species.

As the days shorten and schedules permit we have been out more at dusk in the South tufa area enjoying not only the lovely sunsets but also Common Nighthawks  and groups of … more »

There’s still time to register for the Tioga Pass Run….

August 28th, 2014 by Lily, Mono Lake Intern

Calling all runners and walkers! It’s not too late to register for the 34th annual Tioga Pass Run, taking place on Sunday, September 7.

Runners make their way up the hill during the 2013 Tioga Pass Run. Photo courtesy of Dick Erb.

Come join our outdoor-loving community of runners and walkers by participating in this year’s run. The Tioga Pass Run is the longest continuously-occurring race in the Eastern Sierra—every year since 1980—and is hosted by the Mono Lake Committee. Participants will gain 3,200 feet of elevation over a 12.4-mile-long … more »

Artist’s reception at the Mono Lake Committee on August 30

August 27th, 2014 by Barbara, Information Center & Bookstore Manager

 

Mark your calendar, clear the date, and get excited! This coming Saturday, August 30, from 4:00pm to 7:00pm, is the artist’s reception for Moira Donohoe at the Mono Lake Committee gallery. Please join us for a casual reception where you can meet Moira and view her amazing paintings while enjoying light refreshments. We hope to see you there!

Also, on another Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore-related topic, on Tuesday, September 2, our hours will be changing. We’ll be open reduced hours from the summer schedule of 8:00am to 9:00pm to a post-Labor Day schedule of being open 8:00am to 7:00pm. Please stop by and see us!

Lessons the Mono Basin taught me

August 23rd, 2014 by Adam, Mono Lake Intern

With the fall collegiate semester fast approaching, the time is coming for me to bid an all-too-soon farewell to the astounding Mono Basin and State of California and head back to the rolling plains of Iowa.

"Go east, young man!" Adam, right, along with Melissa, Sandra, Erica, Barb, and Robbie, gets oriented to the Mono Basin on an aqueduct tour with Greg (pointing). Photo by Erv Nichols.

After completing my first Mono-logue post, which narrated the unlikely path I took to the Eastern Sierra, I intended to write a follow-up, which would tell of my adventures in California. However, I have been using the time I have had in the Golden State to the fullest … more »

Summer thunderstorms give Mono Lake and its tributaries a drink—and a break

August 21st, 2014 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist

We were expecting the worst for streamflows this summer. Runoff at 48% of average this year—as forecasted in April, and even lower than the last two dry years—would make 2014 the driest year of the last three, adding up to the three driest consecutive years on record for runoff in the Mono Basin.

Late July and early August thunderstorms have brought important water to Mono Lake during this drought. Photo by Sandra Noll.

But then the summer thunderstorms came, dropping an inch and a half of rain. The late July and early August rains extended the late July streamflows into mid-August, buying about 3–4 weeks of extra time at or above the late July flows. For most creeks, this means that the late July and early August flows this year ended up actually higher than last year. Click on the graphs below to enlarge. … more »

Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists: Volunteering for nature

August 19th, 2014 by Julie, Mono Lake Intern

What’s your idea of a great retirement? For Erv Nichols and Sandra Noll, Mono Lake Committee Birding Interns, retirement consists of traveling the country, volunteering their time, and sharing their passion for nature. Doesn’t sound too shabby….

Erv Nichols, one of the Committee's volunteer Birding Interns this summer. Photo by Sandra Noll.

Come join us in the Mono Lake Committee theater and gallery this Wednesday August 20 at 4:00pm for this week’s free Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologist lecture titled, “Volunteering for Nature.” Whether from a viewing deck or lecture hall, leading bird walks, night hikes, or canoe excursions, Erv and Sandra’s passion connects people with the nation’s special landscapes and wildlife.

Sandra Noll, left, the other volunteer Birding Intern this summer at the Committee. Photo by Erv Nichols.

Their program will shed light on their personal journey while addressing questions and providing tips on volunteering. Expect dialogue laced with humor and illustrated with lots of photographs. We look forward to seeing you there!

Lend a hand at restoring the Mono Basin tomorrow

August 19th, 2014 by Julie, Mono Lake Intern

Looking for a hands-on way to help protect and restore Mono Lake? Come join us tomorrow, August 20 starting at 9:00am in front of the Mono Lake Committee for a restoration day with Mono Lake Committee Education Director, Bartshe Miller.

Invasive white sweet clover can be identified by its three leaves and white flowers. Photo by Emma Oschrin.

We will be working at Mill Creek removing white sweet clover, a legume originally from Europe and a noxious invasive in the Eastern Sierra. Sweet clover can grow up to seven or eight feet tall near the shoreline in areas with maximum sunlight. The biennial plant can produce up to 350,000 seeds per plant and with those seeds potentially viable up to 81 years, we want to be sure to target the large plants before they go to seed in the next few weeks.

If you have questions or want to RSVP, you can email me, but you can also just feel free to show up. Lunch will be provided at Mono Lake County Park after about two hours of invasive removal. It will be a great way to meet some new people and get a free lunch all while giving Mono Lake a helping hand. I hope to see you there!

My year in the Mono Basin

August 18th, 2014 by Emma, Project Specialist

When I began working for the Mono Lake Committee in June 2013, I was only intending to stay for the summer season. As a recent college graduate with no other concrete plans, I had hoped that I could turn my internship into a longer-term gig—but I had no idea if that would be possible.

Mono Lake Committee staff enjoy a break during the annual staff retreat. The staff retreat is a time for us to make plans for the upcoming year. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

Then, in August, I was offered the position of Project Specialist and I made plans to stay on for the winter. The winter in Lee Vining held many new and different experiences from summer life. The town quiets down significantly but the Committee is still buzzing with long-term planning, fundraising, and hundreds of mail orders for the holiday season. Then slowly, as the days began growing longer again and the staff began gearing up for the upcoming flurry of activity, all I could think about was summer. … more »

Seminar spotlight: Bighorn sheep in the Mono Basin

August 15th, 2014 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep are one of the mountain range’s most fascinating animals, and one of the most endangered mammals of North America. The Committee’s field seminar, Living on the Edge: Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep in the Mono Basin, is an introduction to the biology and conservation issues of these rare and elusive mammals that so enthralled John Muir.

Living on the Edge: Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep in the Mono Basin • September 6–7 • $180 per person/$165 for members • sign up here

Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep are rare and elusive---join in on this fascinating field seminar to see them in the wild. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Instructor John Wehausen has studied bighorn sheep intensively for 40 years, gaining insights into their behavior and the complicated issues surrounding their protection and … more »

Lee Vining Creek Diversion Dam work planned for September through November

August 14th, 2014 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist

If you are planning a fishing trip to the Lee Vining Creek diversion pond this fall, there will be some construction activity impacting your experience.

This fall there will be construction at the Lee Vining Creek diversion pond, a popular fishing site. Photo by Arya Degnhardt.

The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) is going to be working on the Lee Vining Creek facility in September because it discovered it can’t lower the spill gate all the way because sediment has accumulated underneath it. DWP has to put in a … more »

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