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The Mono-logue » Birds

‘Birds’ Category

Mono Lake, Mammoth, and Bishop Christmas Bird Counts coming up

Thursday, December 15th, 2016 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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Every winter, from December 14 to January 5, birders all over the Americas get together to contribute to one of the largest citizen science data sets in the world. It’s called the Christmas Bird Count, or CBC.

A rare Varied Thrush in Lee Vining in December 2009. Photo courtesy of Justin Hite.

A rare Varied Thrush in Lee Vining in December 2009. Photo courtesy of Justin Hite.

Interestingly enough, the CBC it started as a Christmas hunting competition, but as conservation issues rose, an ornithologist named Frank Chapman sparked the idea of a count instead of a hunt. One hundred and sixteen years ago (in 1900), the first Christmas Bird Count occurred: 27 birders counted birds all day in 25 different locations. The count evolved and grew (more…)

Holiday shopping: Your favorite Mono Lake creatures

Friday, December 9th, 2016 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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holidaybanner2016

The holidays are quickly approaching and what better way to celebrate than with some familiar Mono Basin faces. Our 2016 Fall Catalog has a variety of holiday decorations and cards to choose from.

holiday-cards

Holiday cards: This year, have your seasons greetings delivered by your favorite Mono Basin critters illustrated by Wendy Morgan. Each card in the set of 10 says “May you have a Happy Holiday and a Joyous New Year!” printed in red inside. Available animals include black bears, Great Horned Owls, White-crowned Sparrows, and a pika. (more…)

Mono Lake’s California Gulls in Audubon Magazine

Thursday, December 8th, 2016 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Mono Lake’s California Gulls and coyotes appear in the winter issue of Audubon Magazine, in an article by Jane Braxton Little: Amidst California Drought, Coyotes Creep Closer to Mono Lake’s Gull Colonies.

audubon-magazine-gull-article

Little spoke with Committee Executive Director Geoff McQuilkin and local Point Blue Conservation Science researcher Kristie Nelson about plans to install a temporary electric fence across the emerging landbridge, intended to deter coyotes from reaching the gulls’ nesting islets. You can support the fence project here.

Little hit the nail on the head, writing, “Even if the fence thwarts the coyotes, the basic predicament at Mono Lake isn’t predators eating prey: It’s the loss of water.” So while we prepare to build the fence we’ll also be watching the weather closely for any sign of a break in this record-setting California drought.

Holiday shopping: New and exciting books

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016 by Andrew, Project Specialist
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holidaybanner2016

It’s always fun to browse the book selection here at the Mono Lake Committee’s Information Center & Bookstore whether you’re looking for a new field guide or a book of poetry, our diverse selection has something for everyone. Here are some of our favorite reads published in 2016 that are featured in the 2016 Fall Catalog.

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Celebrate the National Park Service centennial with two great books about our National Parks. First, Committee member and wilderness advocate Terry Tempest Williams takes you through America’s greatest treasures in The Hour of Land. She beautifully reflects on her time at 12 different (more…)

Resource damage below Tioga Lodge: Observations and photographs

Friday, November 18th, 2016 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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In early November I ventured down to the shoreline of Mono Lake below the Tioga Lodge to use my former-biologist eyes to assess the damage done to State Park land and Post Office Creek.

In late October a heavy excavator tore up State Park land along the shore of Mono Lake below Tioga Lodge and Highway 395. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

In late October a heavy excavator tore up State Park land along the shore of Mono Lake below Tioga Lodge and Highway 395. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

It was interesting to contrast the damage caused by the Marina Fire with the damage caused by heavy machinery; I’m sure the combination of the two events is even more detrimental. While I made observations and took photographs, I was especially concerned by two things—the bird habitat adjacent to the excavation and the wide swath of flood water rushing down from what used to be a creek channel that now spreads the water across the landscape haphazardly on it’s way to Mono Lake. (more…)

The 2016 Mono Lake guided bird walk season

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016 by Sandra, Birding Intern
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Hard to fathom that season of guided bird walks has come to an end. Erv and I led our last County Park bird walk yesterday and State Park ranger Dave Marquart led his last on Sunday. It seems we just arrived to serve our third summer as Mono Lake Committee Birding Interns!

An adult Osprey perches watchfully atop a tufa tower near its nest . Photo by Sandra Noll.

An adult Osprey perches atop a tufa tower near its nest . Photo by Sandra Noll.

It has been a great season of birds from “locals” and early spring migrants through the nesting season to, most recently, early fall migrants. These include large numbers of Eared Grebes and phalaropes beginning to stage on Mono Lake where they molt and gain weight for the final legs of their migrations to wintering areas further south. Mono Lake’s status as an internationally important bird area is especially apparent this time of year.

It has been a delight and privilege to introduce visitors from the US and around the world to this beautiful, bountiful place and the work of the Mono Lake Committee to protect, restore, and educate. And it is my pleasure to leave you with a few highlights!

(more…)

Guiding you to the past at Mono Lake

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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The season is winding down, birds are heading south to their wintering grounds, and fall is just around the corner. Our next two months of guided trips will focus on catching up with those birds before they disappear and also turning our attention to the ghosts that never leave: the historic places and buildings that tell almost invisible tales of the Mono Basin that existed many years ago. Come explore the shores of Mono Lake with us and refocus your eyes towards the past to imagine what life here was like long before we were born.

The Bodie Jail, photo by Nora Livingston.

The Bodie jail. Photo by Nora Livingston.

Here’s a look at our guided trips in September: (more…)

Refreshing ‘Ologists: California Spotted Owls and fire

Sunday, September 4th, 2016 by Grace, Mono Lake Intern
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The Refreshing ‘Ologist series continues this Wednesday, September 7 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery.

A Spotted Owl in a redwood forest. Photo courtesy of Michel Nichols/National Geographic Creative.

A Spotted Owl in a redwood forest. Photo courtesy of Michel Nichols/National Geographic Creative.

Join us to to learn how fire affects California Spotted Owl habitat. Fire has long been a part of the Sierra Nevada forests, but many years of fire suppression have lead to an increase in stand-replacing fires. Yosemite National Park biologist Stephanie Eyes will discuss how these high-intensity fires affect California Spotted Owl habitat use, and are a potential cause of habitat loss. Stephanie used radio telemetry to monitor California Spotted Owls and determine if their foraging patterns showed preference different levels of burned forest.

Celebrate bird migration with a Mono Lake guided trip

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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Have you ever seen a flock of shorebirds dancing in air over a glassy reflective lake? It’s a must-see, even if you aren’t a birder. The birds swirl around each other with seemingly no leader but they’re always in sync, making tight turns and flashing their white bellies in unison. Their whir of wings is calming, a near-silent chorus of feathers.

Wilson's Phalaropes flock over Mono Lake in large numbers. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Wilson’s Phalaropes flock over Mono Lake in large numbers. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Late August is the best time to be in the Mono Basin to see large numbers of shorebirds like sandpipers, curlews, and plovers. We’ve designed a few guided trips to get out and scour the shores (more…)

Canoe Mono Lake before the season ends

Thursday, August 11th, 2016 by Matt, Mono Lake Intern
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Enjoy a peaceful morning float on Mono Lake with a guided canoe tour. Photo by Erv Nichols.

Enjoy a peaceful morning float on Mono Lake with a guided canoe tour. Photo by Erv Nichols.

Have you ever wanted to learn more about Mono Lake from the water? Why not join one of our famous canoe tours? Canoe tours have been an exciting part of the Mono Lake Committee since the beginning. One of our founders, David Gaines, used to take visitors out in his canoe in order to show off the wonders of Mono Lake up close and it is a tradition that is still very popular to this day.

Join our seasoned guides as we wind our way through (more…)

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