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The Mono Basin’s top 10 August birds

September 1st, 2014 by Mono Lake Committee Staff

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.

This post was written by Sandra Noll, Birding Intern in 2014, 2015, & 2016.

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 Sage Thrashers and Yellow-headed Blackbirds with this year’s offspring soaring along with their parents.

Yellow-headed Blackbird male with females and variously colored offspring. Photo by Sandra Noll.

At both County Park and South Tufa there are increasing flocks of White-faced Ibis, American AvocetsWestern Sandpipers,  and Red-Necked Phalaropes (most Wilson’s Phalaropes have already embarked on their long southerly migration to South America, having fattened up on Mono Lake’s “refueling” resources of brine shrimp and alkali flies).

White-faced Ibis with the sun’s reflection on their beautiful iridescent feathers. Photo by Erv Nichols.

And at County Park we are seeing MacGillivaray’s Warblers as well as Yellow Warblers, Marsh and Bewick’s Wrens, Northern Harriers and Cooper’s Hawks. If you’re counting, that’s a full “baker’s dozen”—it’s just too hard to pick only ten!

It has been a great season of bird walks at County Park and birding in the Mono Lake area. Erv and I have thoroughly enjoyed not only the birds but also everyone who joined us for the delights of morning “treasure hunts” for birds in this beautiful setting. Thank you!

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