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Planning update from the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua team

March 14th, 2016 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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Photo by Santiago Escruceria 2015

An American Kestrel, Falco sparverius, perches regally on a snag. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

Planning a birding festival takes a significant amount of work and time. We, along with our organizing partners at California State Parks, now have 14 years of experience under our belts, so our Fifteenth Annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua planning is progressing smoothly. We’ve assembled a complete schedule in grid form and it is now available to view on the website for all you pre-planners out there. Our program information with trip descriptions and leader biographies will be up on the website in the next two weeks. This will give attendees plenty of time to plan for registration on Friday, April 15. Remember, the Fifteenth Annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua is June 17–19 this year.

We are also fortunate to have new artwork this year from L.Wren Walraven, who has painted seven beautiful birds for our T-shirts and buttons since 2007. We will reveal the new design in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for some gorgeous Mono Basin bird art!

We recently created a Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua Facebook page so people can stay up-to-date with our news and interact on a platform they already use, as an alternative to checking the Chautauqua website for news. If you “Like” the page, you’ll see our updates in your news feed and be able to share your festival experience with other Chautauquans. Go ahead and visit and give us a “Like.”

In other news, if you are eager to get birding in the Eastern Sierra before the Chautauqua, the Second Annual Owens Lake Bird Festival is taking flight on April 22 and offers exciting birding field trips led by phenomenal birders and naturalists throughout the weekend. Late April is a fantastic time to see large numbers of migratory birds in the Eastern Sierra, especially shorebirds. Owens Lake offers shallow pools and salt ponds perfect for foraging wading birds looking to bulk up for a long flight on their way to their breeding grounds, so flocks of tens of thousands fill the re-watered parts of the lake to feast. There is no better way to bird this area than with experts, because they will share the fascinating and important history of the lake as well as the natural history of the birds you see.

Three of our Chautauqua partners (Friends of the Inyo, the Eastern Sierra Audubon Society, and the Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association) have worked diligently to bring this festival to Owens Lake to raise awareness about this internationally-designated Important Bird Area. The Owens Lake Bird Festival, like our own Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua, won a Mindful Birding Award last year for practicing ethical birding.

For more information and to register, go here. Here’s a short video about the Owens Lake Bird Festival:

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