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The Mono-logue » Blog Archive » Seasonal changes in the Mono Basin

Seasonal changes in the Mono Basin

September 14th, 2014 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Erica Stephens, 2014 Mono Lake Intern.

As the evening wind whips through the Mono Basin it is becoming noticeably colder now. The summer season is coming to a close and this change brings beautiful new fall colors, migratory birds, and plants.

Animals are preparing for the winter ahead and can be seen gathering nesting materials and food supplies.

Pikas do not hibernate and gather grasses to get them through the winter. Photo by Erica Stephens.

A marmot sunbathing on a rock. Photo by Erica Stephens.

The birds of the Mono Basin are feeling and responding to seasonal changes as well. Spring and summer birds have raised their chicks and parents and fledglings alike have left for warmer, food-rich areas for the winter. On the other hand, migrants from the north—some as far as the Arctic—are passing through on their southerly migration. Large numbers of Red-necked Phalaropes and Eared Grebes are fattening up on Mono Lake’s abundant alkali flies and brine shrimp to fuel their long journeys. Each season brings its own birding delights.

About 750,000 Eared Grebes migrate to Mono Lake every autumn. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Like the birds, Mono Lake Interns are also beginning to migrate; some returning to college or graduate school, others to reconnect with families and jobs elsewhere.

Soon the aspen leaves will turn a beautiful yellow-orange and the mountains will be snow-capped once again. We’re about to start posting about the Mono Basin’s fall colors as they begin to change—check back each week for updates!

Quaking Aspen are one of the largest organisms on Earth, connected by rhizomes underground. This trunk has a bear scratch on it. Photo by Erica Stephens.

Students are beginning school and smaller crowds are rolling through the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore.

As we all prepare for the winter ahead, there is a cozy sense of belonging in this place. Some things never change. Sierra sunsets continue to radiate their yellows, pinks and purples throughout the sky. California Gulls keep singing their song of endurance. The tufa towers remain standing as a constant reminder of the battle which is not yet won; their silence still telling a story of both the past and future.

A classic Mono Basin sunset. Photo by Erica Stephens.


One Response to “Seasonal changes in the Mono Basin”

  1. avatar Blog round-up: Demythologizing the Drought ‘Demythologizers’, San Joaquin River restoration, virtual hiking Tuolumne Meadows, war dances, groundwater, Sites Reservoir and more … » MAVEN'S NOTEBOOK | MAVEN'S NOTEBOOK Says:

    […] Seasonal changes in the Mono Basin:  “As the evening wind whips through the Mono Basin it is becoming noticeably colder now. The summer season is coming to a close and this change brings beautiful new fall colors, migratory birds, and plants.  Animals are preparing for the winter ahead and can be seen gathering nesting materials and food supplies. … ”  Read more from the Mono-Logue here:  Seasonal changes in the Mono Basin […]