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The Mono-logue » Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide

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Upcoming guided trips: July 7–17

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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Yesterday, my guided trip clients and I watched a pair of Williamson’s Sapsuckers bringing food to their nest cavity in a burned fir snag for twenty minutes. The parents dutifully foraged for a few minutes and returned with a beakful of insects to feed their hungry chicks. The male and female took turns feeding every few minutes—they must have had quite the brood! It was amazing to be able to observe and photograph these beautiful birds as they went about their daily lives, almost oblivious of us. It was almost meditative.

A Williamson's Sapsucker brings food back to the nest cavity. Photo courtesy of Chris McCreedy.

A Williamson’s Sapsucker brings food back to the nest cavity. Photo courtesy of Chris McCreedy.

As the Lead Naturalist Guide for our new Mono Lake Guided Trips program, I love bringing our visitors and supporters into the woods and sharing these incredible nature experiences with them. We know the spots—let us take you there! Here are our upcoming trips for the next two weeks:

High Country Birding on Thursday, July 7, takes you to the (more…)

Upcoming guided trips: June 25–July 1

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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Are you on your way to the Mono Basin for a quick escape from the daily grind? We have spaces available on a few guided trips next week that will be the perfect addition to your vacation! Combine multiple trips for an extended guided getaway. The Mono Lake Guided Trip program offers naturalist trips to enhance your knowledge and connection to this beautiful area and its fascinating natural history.

Sierra wave sunset over Mono Lake. Photo by Nora Livingston.

Sierra wave sunset over Mono Lake. Photo by Nora Livingston.

Twilight Birding & Owling on Saturday, June 25, is a wonderful way to spend the evening at Mono Lake. We will spend a few hours birding as daylight turns to twilight, when vivid colors wrap (more…)

Supporting local Lee Vining businesses

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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Mono Cone swirl cone. Happy me! Selfie by Nora Livingston.

Mono Cone swirl cone. Happy me! Selfie by Nora Livingston.

Lee Vining is getting busier as spring brings more visitors with the arrival of fishing season. In preparation for the fishing season opener (April 30), a few more businesses in town opened their doors after a winter of hibernation. I made it my goal today to support as many local businesses as possible, because we all work together as a town to both provide for locals and bring visitors here to boost the town economy and garner love for this community and its surrounding beauty (like Mono Lake!). If people didn’t visit Lee Vining and support the businesses, it would be a lot harder to protect the lake because a whole lot fewer people would know it existed.

The best part of the day was (more…)

Blooming desert peach: Spring is on its way

Saturday, April 30th, 2016 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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It definitely feels like springtime here in the Mono Basin—the days are warming up and the cloudless sky is electric blue; the birds are returning, preparing to croon their overtures, practicing for their unabridged performances; the trees are bursting with minute glittering gems of new leaves that dance ecstatically in the breeze; and the blooming desert peach is glazing the hillsides pink.

A six-petaled Desert Peach flower (usually they are five-petaled). Photo by Nora Livingston.

A six-petaled desert peach flower (usually they are five-petaled). Photo by Nora Livingston.

When I breathe in, I feel the spring absorbing into my lungs; my skin, my nerves, my blood is rich with it. It is nice to be reminded each spring that regeneration is cyclical, so that we always have something to look forward to even (more…)

Get your ducks in a row: Chautauqua registration is April 15th

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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Mallard mama with ducklings. Photo by Nora Livingston.

If you are planning to come to the Fifteenth Annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua, now is the time to gather your ducklings and make sure you’re prepared for registration—you don’t want to miss out on a trip because you haven’t decided which trips to register for! Registration opens on Friday, April 15, at 6:30am sharp. Many field trips fill within minutes, so rise before the sun, sip your coffee with your list of events in hand, and be ready to go at 6:30am. The schedule is up on the website now, and the full program with trip descriptions and leader biographies will be up very soon, so make sure you have your field trip and program choices prioritized for registration day. Check out our Facebook page for real-time updates. We look forward to seeing you in June!

Announcing Mono Lake Guided Trips

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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We are excited to share our new Guided Trips program—a new way to visit the Mono Basin and the Eastern Sierra with an experienced guide to get the most out of this incredible place and fall in love with the region like we have, while also supporting Mono Lake.

Lead Naturalist Guide Nora Livingston (third from left) leads a group of birders at the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua. Photo by Arya Degenhardt.

Lead Naturalist Guide Nora Livingston (third from left) leads a group of birders at the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua. Photo by Arya Degenhardt.

Our new program has over 45 day-trips scheduled from May to October, ranging in focus from birds to volcanoes and everything in between. Walk with us and learn to identify wildflowers, butterflies, birds, and mammals. Transport your mind into the past while we visit historical Paiute, mining, and logging sites. Slip into the lake in a canoe as the full moon rises—serenity is waiting.

We also offer custom guided trips for an even more personalized visit. We will work with you to design (more…)

Planning update from the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua team

Monday, 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. (more…)

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